In the land that invented La Cucina Povera — literally, the poor man’s kitchen — it’s no surprise to witness an increase in home baking. Figures recently released by Coldiretti, the association of Italian farmers, are staggering. Italians are buying record amounts of flour, eggs, and butter – the highest since World War II. A third of Italians are using these ingredients to make more pizza, and 19 percent are baking more bread at home.
A combination of Italy’s financial crisis and a greater awareness of local food are pushing the trend, says Jeannie Marshall, a Canadian expat and author living in Rome. “I bought a loaf of wonderful bread recently, which lasted us two days, but it was more than 5 euros for the loaf, so it’s not really cheap. You can make the same thing for about 80 cents, so there’s definitely an economic component to it.”