Not so long ago, Italian food was regarded as a poor man's gruel - little more than pizza, macaroni with sauce, and red wines in a box. Here, John Mariani shows how the Italian immigrants to America created, through perseverance and sheer necessity, an Italian-American food culture, and how it became a global obsession. The book begins with the Greek, Roman, and Middle Eastern culinary traditions before the boot-shaped peninsula was even called 'Italy,' then takes readers on a journey through Europe and across the ocean to America alongside the poor but hopeful Italian immigrants who slowly but surely won over the hearts and minds of Americans by way of their stomachs. Featuring evil villains such as the Atkins diet and French chefs, this is a rollicking tale of how Italian cuisine rose to its place as the most beloved fare in the world, through the lives of the people who led the charge. Featuring chefs, restaurateurs, and restaurants from around the country, including: Mario Batali, Danny Meyer, Tony Mantuano, Michael Chiarello, Giada de Laurentiis, Giuseppe Cipriani, Nigella Lawson, Da Silvano Spiaggia, Bottega, Union Square Cafe, Maialino, Rao's, Babbo, Il Cantinori.