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  • Writer's pictureDiego Zancani

Not just a gastronomic surprise!

Victoria, a student of mine when I was teaching at the University of Kent, wrote such a delightful comment, and I'm truly grateful to her. This is what makes teaching so rewarding.

Sometimes things that happen are literally enchanting. My Italian Professor at University, an extraordinary man, prodigiously brilliant teacher, grammarian and linguist made such an impression on 18 year old me. He had us translate Dickens and Joyce, he luxuriated over Italo Calvino and I still do. Prefaced studies of ‘I Promessi Sposi’ by telling us it is the first work of great fiction to have illiterate protagonists. When I had the idea - which still holds good just been bumped by the NHS - of a print periodical to celebrate the artisan I asked three super mentors for help. They all, without hesitation or issue, offered copiously. One of them is Dottore Diego Zancani, Professor Emeritus of Italian at Balliol Oxford. He’s had an exemplary career in education, is self effacing and extraordinary. Over lunch we debated whether or not ‘bubble and squeak’ exists in Italian. He’s written a book about how the British fell in love with Italian food. 18 year old me could never have imagined that the linguistic Titan who coached us so well would write a book about food. I am enchanted

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