Mafia and Pizza: history is served. Conversations with John Dickie

Professor Dickie, as a reminder to our readers, you are an Academic History teacher as well as a television host. What was your study course and above all how much did specializing in Italy influence your “passion for food”?

My parents had me when they were quite old, and so they had a very traditional British way of eating. Just to give you an idea: I did not try either wine vinegar or olive oil until I was 18 years old! So my academic interest in Italy—I started studying the language at 18—was also an education in eating. I spent my first year in Italy in Turin in 1984-5. I’ll leave you to imagine the impression that a first taste of bagna cauda made on someone with my background!