Imagine the River Tiber as an alimentary tract. Picture a hungry saint. Think of erotic Renaissance fruit paintings, transubstantiation and a tiramisu café where magic is surely on the menu... This highly original interpretation of Rome's history, culture, art and religion takes the form of a book about food that's not really about food at all.
In Al Dente Winner takes us on a stroll through the city as he muses on all things comestible and much else besides. We learn about Rome as metropolis and necropolis, about tasty vineyard snails and the food-and-sex scandal that sent Saint Jerome packing. The cinematic greats such as Argento, Fellini and Ferreri are discussed alongside historical political satire where grocery orgies were art and the penis was the subject of hagiographies. There are the bloodthirsty antics of an eighteenth-century executioner who worked for the pope, stories of immolation, architecture and artichokes, and a telephone interview with a nun who makes Eucharistic wafers.
Winner is a master of wit with a seemingly insatiable appetite for peculiar detail, and Al Dente provides an intriguing new portrait of a remarkable city - a veritable trifle of Roman bedrock and apogee, cosmos and counterculture to be devoured with gusto. Buon appetito...
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