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Focus April 2020

The Academy’s vitality 

Despite the difficult situation that we are living through, the Academy isn’t stopping. 

Thanks to the combined efforts of our editorial, graphic, secretarial and printing staff, the April issue of Civiltà della Tavola is also ready in a timely fashion and in complete form. The magazine’s second part, dedicated to Academic life, describes events from January and February when normal activities were still occurring. Obviously, beginning with the next issue, that section will be much reduced; however, we invite you all to tell the Editorial Office about any initiatives implemented by the Delegations, which will be published as usual.  
With the situation changing rapidly and convulsively, predictions are difficult if not impossible. We are all overwhelmed by the proliferation of contradictory laws, decrees and ordinances spewed forth by national and local governments. We are likewise amazed by the nothingness, though expressed with pompous authority, emanating from virologists, immunologists and other sundry scientists boasting mile-long academic résumés, who can essentially only say “blockade yourselves at home and wash your hands”. Hence the general fatigue produced by the entirely useless talk shows broadcast nationwide from dawn to dusk. Masks don’t help! Counterorder: masks are mandatory! Social distancing: one metre! Counterorder: 1.8 metres! But why 1.8 rather than 2? Because the directive comes from the ineffable WHO, who uses yards, and mandates 2 yards! Restaurant and bar tables will be that distance apart, but will we be seated alone? With spouses? With children? Perhaps other relatives? A mystery. We’ll see: predictions are futile; all round the world we live day by day, waiting for big pharma to rescue us with drugs and vaccines or for the virus to wear itself out.  
Meanwhile, we have almost finished the new volume of the Food Culture Library, dedicated to Religious Festival Cuisine. This is a wholesale rewriting of an analogous work published in 2010, made possible by the Regional Study Centres’ contributions and the impressive editing effort of reorganising the book according to the liturgical calendar instead of regions as before. This is a sumptuous volume, also thanks to its impressive miniatures, drawings and photographs and a Prologue written with evident conviction by His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Vatican City. Special thanks are also due to our Legate for the Stato della Città del Vaticano, Mons. Giovanni Lo Giudice, author of the book’s Introduction, who also held an excellent conference on the same theme. I asked the printing office for a delay to facilitate the work’s distribution to all Academicians once restrictions are eased. Soon, we hope.  

Paolo Petroni
President of the Accademia