On November 16th, 2020, celebrations marked the tenth anniversary since UNESCO added the Mediterranean Diet to its Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Internationally recognized as one of the pillars for daily wellbeing, the heart-healthy, long-term dietary plan known as the Mediterranean Diet is, according to many nutritionists and doctors, one of the most balanced diets at a nutritional level: it is rich in essential micronutrients which our bodies need to maintain good physical and mental health. It endorses foods rich in vitamins and minerals, whole grains, white meats and a glass of red wine as opposed to spirits.
The Mediterranean Diet is more than a simple list of foods as, importantly, it promotes interaction and provides both social and individual benefits. Gathering together in groups for a communal meal is the basis of social customs and special occasions shared by families and friends, a mechanism for facilitating social bonding.
The very action of eating nourishes the organism but it also enables us to feel closer to others by sharing laughter and reminiscing about stories or family moments. It is based on respect for the land and biodiversity and it guarantees the conservation and the development of traditional products and activities related to fishing and agriculture. It so happens however that, sometimes, even the cinema contributes to globally and culturally disseminating this incredible heritage of the Mediterranean Diet.
Who could ever forget the character of Felice, played by Totò in ‘Miseria e Nobiltà’ (Poverty and Nobility)? With his face illuminated by the ginormous and infamous plate of spaghetti! Or that of Alberto Sordi in ‘Un americano a Roma’ (An American in Rome) in which, after trying to absorb as much American culture and lifestyle as possible, the protagonist Nando Moriconi shoves the so-called American food aside and surrenders to the temptation of a delicious plate of pasta?