TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Hospitality

The founder and long-time editor of Telos, Paul Piccone, was born in Italy on January 17, 1940, in the city of L’Aquila, the capital of the Abruzzo. He combined philosophical passion with an irrepressible instinct for hospitality, and this was nowhere clearer than in the way he would generously gather friends and strangers together for meals that celebrated both food and thought. His culinary skills, of which he was legitimately proud, were only enhanced when he married Marie Filice, an accomplished chef in her own right. Since Paul—ever the traditionalist—and Marie made many trips to L’Aquila, the menu in their New York home was constantly renewed through those returns to the ancestral source. That profound connection to the past provided the foundation for the welcoming hospitality, where a set table was always a celebration.

Almost five years after Paul’s death, a devastating earthquake struck L’Aquila, on April 6, 2009. Thousands of buildings in the medieval core were damaged, more than three hundred people died, and 65,000 were left homeless. Terrible earthquakes have followed, in Haiti and in Chile. Tectonic plates shift, the earth moves, fragile structures crumble. What we undertake is always provisional.

Today, exactly one year after the L’Aquila earthquake, Telos Press, through its Food and Fate imprint, is proud to release Marie Filice’s new volume, Breaking Bread in L’Aquila, dedicated to Paul’s memory. It is a collection of 49 recipes from the Abruzzo region. They not only capture the flavors of the region but also convey the spirit of charismatic hospitality that captivated everyone fortunate enough to step inside the Piccone-Filice household. The German poet Brecht once wrote that eating comes first, by which he meant that materialist concerns precede morality and culture: first one, then the other. This book and the tradition from which it emerges testify, in contrast, to their inseparability: authentic food is already culture, and hospitality is the foundation of morality.

Breaking Bread in L’Aquila is available for purchase here. Net profits will be donated to rebuilding efforts in L’Aquila.

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