In developing this body of work, I have become acutely aware of the ways in which language has both shaped and reflected changes in food availability over thousands of years. “New” foods have become available over those millennia: carried on the back of trade and conquest from other parts of Italy and Europe; from the middle and far east; and from Africa and south America. These foods have slowly become part of local cultures and language. It is part of the human story but one which today, in this age of globalisation, may threaten our existence.
Working with Palermitano dialect—as well as Italian—has made sense from the beginning. But translator Francesco Pusateri, through his many commentaries to me, has heightened the tragedy of loss that sees the existence of local food varieties withering alongside the cultural loss of local language: they are inexorably linked.
And we are the poorer for it. All of us.
Darwin/Palermo, February 2016