Session 1.3 University of Toronto Mississauga Undergraduate Research Panel

          The third and longest of the three opening concurrent sessions was exclusively dedicated to showcasing exceptional undergraduate work, both critical and creative, that emerged from a pair of gastronomy-centric courses recently introduced by Professor Teresa Lobalsamo at the University of Toronto Mississauga: ITA235H5 Cucina Italiana: A History of Italy through Food and ITA400Y5Y The Italian Studies Internship: A Digital Journey through the Italian Diaspora.

          In “An Investigation into Toronto’s Little Italy and its Gastronomic Roots,” Katyani Chawla and Chelsea Ranger provide a historical survey of the Italian immigration and settlement of Toronto with a particular focus on the city’s Little Italy district. Drawing on published data and personal interviews with the owners of iconic restaurants, Chawla and Ranger examine how changing residential demographics and commercial industries have impacted the culinary culture of one of Toronto’s most famous immigrant neighbourhoods.

          In the semi-fictional short story “All Italian,” Maeve Doyle depicts a heartfelt and often humourous exchange between a Canadian-born student narrator and her older, immigrant Italian relatives. Original research and real correspondences with the Italian-Canadian community serve as the inspiration for this narrative meditation on topics such as gastronomy, cultural identity, and the immigrant experience.

       In “Northern Italian Courtly Banquets: An Analysis of Identity, Power, and Dining Experiences,” Rachel Padillo examines banqueting culture and gastronomy as performance art during the Italian Renaissance. By looking at several major events held by the Sforza, Gonzaga, and Medici families, Padillo illustrates how Italian nobles used luxurious displays of gastronomy to forge political alliances with rival families while reinforcing notions of identity and power.