And now a word from M.F.K. Fisher

..who speaks of her time in Dijon, that started in 1929:

It was there that I learned it is blessed to receive, as well as that every human being, no matter how base, is worthy of my respect and even my envy because he knows something that I many never be old or wise or kind or tender enough to know.

from Long Ago in France.

She speaks tellingly about her fierce and frugal landlady, Madame Ollangnier, who scours the markets and badgers the food sellers into handing over the lamest and haltest of edible foodstuffs which she then transforms into excellent meals for M.F.K. and her other lodgers.

So having read that last night I was delighted by the coincidence of this morning’s speaker, Andrea Segre of the University of Bologna, who told us a fabulous tale about his students’ food economics project that has blossomed into a many-fingered enterprise: Last Minute Market began as a way to turn the horrific waste of supermarket surpluses – those imperfect, unwrapped or dented items the ordinary consumer won’t touch with a ten foot euro – into nutritious meals for the local needy.

More food economy in the afternoon with Riccardo Vecchio who walked us through the ins and outs of PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) marks on foods, from a marketing and economic point of view. They’re not just in Italy, not just in Europe or the UK, but potentially all over the place now. And he gave us a briefing on farmers’ markets, which are new to Italy (being gradually brought back in after they died out here around 1900, that is). There are plenty of food markets in Italy, it’s true, but the stall-holders are typically not farmers or food producers selling their own wares.

And now, back to my books. Food technology exam tomorrow. More later.

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