A taste of Italy in Bertozzi’s book

Elena Bertozzi and her book "Appetite: A Hunger for Italy" by Kelsey Welke

During the school year, associate professor Elena Bertozzi teaches interactive media and game development. But during the summer, she vacations in Italy.

It is the food and culture of her summer get-away that inspired Bertozzi’s novel “Appetite: Hunger for Italy.”

As an Italian, Bertozzi grew up with an appreciation for food and eating.

Using her background, she decided to write her book about how people learn what to eat and what is nutritional to eat, as opposed to learning to like what corporations want people to eat.

Bertozzi’s novel takes place in the northern part of Italy. The novel focuses on Sophia, a young woman traveling to Italy to find herself and discover what she wants to do with her life.

The story is not about Bertozzi’s life, but she did write about universal issues many people experience. The novel has many recipes included within the story.

“You write what you know. So the places Sophia goes are places I know very well, and the food Sophia eats is food that I know very well,” Bertozzi said. “Some of the issues Sophia deals with are issues I’ve dealt with myself, but they are universal issues – trying to find love, trying to find meaning in life, and figuring out what to do with herself.”

Bertozzi utilized her summers in Italy as a way to research for her novel. Since she only wrote in the summer, writing did not take up a lot of her time while teaching during the academic year.

Bertozzi said people must learn what is good to eat. In Italy this is not a big problem because children learn from an early age how and what to eat. She said you slowly add more complexity to food until you learn to like bitter and strong flavors.

“It is a process where you learn how to enjoy and appreciate different kinds of food,” Bertozzi said. “I really don’t think that happens in America anymore because people grow up eating all these horrible packaged foods.”

This is the second book published by Bertozzi. Her first book “Broadmoor Memories: the History of the Broadmoor” was published in 1993.

The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs wanted a book documenting the creators of the hotel and its history. At the time, Bertozzi worked in a museum and had access to historical photos, so she was able to make the book attractive.

Bertozzi said the book continues to sell very well and is currently in its fourth edition.

Bertozzi said she is very passionate about food and eating. With such a strong link to her Italian roots, she was always “semi-horrified” by what Americans eat and how they eat it. She said if you want to change the way people eat, you have to educate their appetites.

“I think appetite is really interesting because you can’t change what people eat because people eat what they want to eat,” Bertozzi said. “People eat what they’re hungry for, what they have an appetite for.”

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