This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michele Giuli, one of Mortadella Head’s very own blog writers. Born, raised, and living in the heart of Italy, Michele shares authentic Italian recipes and traditions all over the Mortadella Head website, and to many other blogs that he works for.
Here, Michele and I speak about the meaning of Italian tradition and enjoying a good meal, what it means to be a blogger in his region of the world, and his secrets to creating the most perfect recipes.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Tell me a bit more about yourself and your background!
I grew up in a small town in Le Marche, where I still live today. I started cooking because I wanted to learn and preserve my grandma and great aunt’s recipes. My other relatives are not really into cooking, so someone had got to take charge of that 😀
I’ve kept this as a hobby until I started working for a digital marketing agency from Milan. For some reasons, all the projects I had worked with involved food, and I saw a chance to make a living with my passion. Now I’m a freelance writer, and although not all my projects involve food, Italian cuisine still plays a big role in my career.
What a wonderful way to get started! Is blogging/influencing a common career in Italy?
I don’t think so. With the exception of the younger generations, people are still suspicious about it, as it’s not considered a “real job” – especially when it comes to influencing. We’re often the butt of the joke, but I’m confident things will change soon. I have many hopes for Gen Z!
Well, there’s no doubt that what you do is in fact a real job, and a cool one at that. What is your favorite part about being a food blogger?
I like the fact that I can share all of the cool things that I learn, and tell all of the interesting stories behind every recipe.
What did growing up directly in Italy mean to you? Do you find that you heavily identify with Italian “foodie” culture?
Growing up in Italy has had its ups and down. This country is not a safe place to grow in if you’re part of any minority. I was very lucky to have mostly supportive friends and relatives, but because of other people I felt really alienated from my own heritage and culture for a long time.
Then, I won a scholarship to study for one year in England, and it was there that I started noticing the positive ways in which my region had influenced me. I noticed that the people who had marginalized me have a very shallow idea of what this place and its culture are, and when I came back I put much effort into re-appropriating them.
Now I have my safe places and circles, and yes, I am an Italian foodie—although I have never used that label. Linguistic gap 😀
It is wonderful that you’ve been able to re-identify with your Italian community, especially in the foodie aspect. What are your favorite kinds of food to write about?
Definitely regional recipes. Each one has its own special story! And when I write about the ones from the places I have ties with, it always brings up my best memories.
Also, once you study their origins, you’ll see that they depict a much different Italy than the one portrayed by the people who marginalized me. Sharing them is my moral revenge, haha.
Regional food is the best, especially when each part of the country comes with its own delicious recipes and traditions. Aside from just Italian food, what other kinds of cuisines have you been loving?
I really like Chinese and Indian food. Also, I recently had a chance to try some Peruvian food and I’m DEFINITELY going to do more research about it.
What do your friends and family think about your work as an Italian food blogger?
They’re all supportive and happy that they can try the things I make for my recipes. My family was a bit hesitant about it at first because of the “real job” thing, but now they’re always asking why I don’t make more cakes for the Mortadella Head blog.
Have you ever made a recipe for a post and it didn’t end up tasting the way you wanted it to? What did you do?
I can’t think of a specific instance right now. However, I try my recipes before posting them, and if I don’t like something, I usually make note of it and add the corrections to the final draft. I did this for the pina colada cheese pie that we published a few days ago.
Do you avoid using any specific ingredients, even when a recipe calls for them?
I try to avoid using seed oil, as some brands have started to give me allergic reactions and I’m still figuring out which ones cause that. I’m also intolerant to shrimp, so you’ll never see me near one.
Name three things that you’ve used in most recipes.
Black pepper, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
What does enjoying a meal mean to you? Is it something you tend to do in the company of others, or do alone?
For me, food is better when shared. I enjoy a good dish in any given situation, but I also come from a tradition of big gatherings and Sunday lunches. There’s something special in sharing something good at the same table with your friends and relatives. Some of my best memories come from situations like that.
Who are the three food bloggers that inspire you the most?
They’re mostly local food bloggers from my region. The only famous one I can think of is probably Benedetta Rossi. We have different styles, but we have the same passion for homemade, “smart” recipes. Although he doesn’t really have a blog, I really like Ruben Bondì’s TikTok videos. And finally, Chuck has introduced me to Pinch of Yum, and I like how well their blog is organized.