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Dec 17, 2007 07:21 PM

Lidia's - Italian or American?

For such a national expert on Italian food, Lidia's place on the strip in Pittsburgh came across very American ... when is downtown going to be ready for something authentic?

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    1. Who cares? Anyone who wants good Italian and knows the area also knows where the good Italian is to be found. And many, many threads on these boards have discounted that idea of "authentic" with regard for food. Or are you just mad at Lidia?

      4 Replies
      1. re: yayadave

        I was kinda wondering what that was getting at as well. I've yet to go to any Italian resto in the US that serves horsemeat or even a simple lardo & lemon zest appetizer but both are certainly "authentic" (not to mention fresh wine sans sulfites).

        Around here if you made an "authentic" lasagne with bechamel instead of ricotta or mozz, people would look at you sideways wondering what you were thinking. I know, I've done it.

        1. re: Panini Guy

          Not sure whether this is a Pittsburgh thread, but I found the new Salento, at 2216 Walnut St. in Philly to be quite authentic Pugliese cuisine. High quality, and to my mind a restaurant I could eat at once a week if I could talk hubby into it.

          1. re: Bashful3

            This is a Pittsburgh thread Bashful, but I will weigh in nonetheless. Lidia very clearly states that her cusine is Italian-American and clearly defines what that is: the Italian immigrants (such as mine) coming to America, not being able to find the same ingredients as they could in Italy so making due with they could find and thus creating their own unique cuisine. Does it have it basis in Italian cooking? Surely. Is it authentic to that served in Italy? No.

            "Authentic" is a difficult term to define and can change depending on the region of Italy as well. For example, Pannini Guy is talking about two completely different regions of Italy when he talks about lasagne. My Sicilian grandparents and mother made it with ricotta and mozzarella as they did in Sicily. I tend to favor a version from Tuscany which uses a bolognese meat gravy (with ground veal) and beschamel (as he mentions). Both are authentic but to very different regions in Italy. So leave Lidia alone, she is an incredible woman and an incredible cook who happens to proudly cook Italian-American food.

            1. re: Schpsychman

              And you have defined what is wrong with people dogmatically stating that only one preparation is "authentic Italian." If you go to a different village on the next hill over, "authentic" is different.