De Gustibus: the best TV program on food that nobody knows
De Gustibus: the best TV program on food that nobody knows

After the recent bulimic food binges on TV, it is difficult to think of a format that has not already been done since it deals with eating and drinking for the umpteenth time.

But when talents, video recipe books and country cooks catapulted onto TV without knowledge of the facts have now made you lose poetry a bit, here History Channel he comes up with a new program that manages to combine the luxurious snacks of the ancient Romans with the chez Berlusconi menu of the G8 in Genoa.

Is called De Gustibus and in six episodes it tells the story of Italy, of Italian food, the story of Italy to eat, the thousand stories of Italians at the table.

The novelty is all in the approach: to tell (and eat naturally) is John Dickie, an English historian without academic casts who does not rattle off dates and soporific notions, but rather manages to glue you to the screen retracing the ages, the dishes and the people, without special effects and unlikely Roman centurions with mobile phones who interpret the reconstructions, Quark style to be clear.

Of course, as in any self-respecting "kitchen" format, and which respects the contemporary share of gastronomy, there is no shortage of well-known guests: Bruno Barbieri, Gabriele Bonci and Fulvio Pierangelini, to name just a few.

Gabriele Bonci and John Dickie
Gabriele Bonci and John Dickie

More than a heavy compendium of the history of gastronomy century after century, it is a costume picture of gastronomic curiosities. And about how food has made history too.

All seasoned with the irony of an Englishman who chews Italian well (with some Alan Friedman-like inflections, but more likeable), and who seems at ease even in front of the most distant flavors from what we eat today.

The verve of the conductor, placid and sly, is not the screamed and anxious one to which the TV accustoms us even in the protected area, with shouts like Barbara D’Urso or walks in the studio as a small screen catechist with hands folded like Alberto Angela.

John Dickie, Degustibus
John Dickie, Degustibus

John Dickie is the new black, it looks good wherever you put it, eats in the shop window observed by passers-by with absolute nonchalance, works as a laborer for the chefs he meets, gives small pearls like "come on, I never would have said that"!

I spoil just one thing, then I swear I'll shut up: did you know that the gladiators of ancient Rome were vegetarians? And who were drinking a forerunner of Red Bull?

Here, De Gustibus is made of these curiosities, but also of sociological experiments such as that of recreating ancient recipes and letting today's palates taste them, with reactions and repulsions that I leave you only to imagine.

All this to tell you that, if you are tired of food on TV as you used to imagine and digest it, there is also another way: you can find it every Friday at 10pm on the History Channel.

I told you.

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