Lidia Bastianich has been described as the reigning queen of Italian cuisine in America. She is the host of cooking shows on PBS, including Lidia's Italy, a new 26-episode series which features American and Italian chefs preparing regional Italian dishes.
Bastianichs family fled Communist Istria in 1956 and became political refugees in Italy, before moving to the United States. Bastianich trained in kitchens in New York City and opened her first restaurant with her husband at the age of 24. Since then, she has opened several restaurants, including Felidia and Becco. She has also authored several cookbooks including Lidia's Family Table and Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen.
Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?
Lidia Bastianich: I think if you look very, very way back in history, food has been a big determining force in . . . from the Venetians and their spice trades to the Orient, and bringing back and making actually ____________ one of the richest sort of city state; which in turn with its money created Florence and the salt trades; which in turn fueled the Renaissance or whatever. So food is potent. You know the travel of Columbus was to find the new . . . yes, was to find the Fountain of Youth; but also it was to find new foods and new ideas. So food is extremely important in the evolution of what happens in the world – happened and it continues to happen.