The Sopranos: how food is glorified in the cult series

We sit at the table of the most famous mafia in cinema to feed on its culinary sequences.

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The Sopranos series is now generating a kind of devotional revival among new generations, and among those who did not have the opportunity to follow its original broadcast from 1999 to 2007.

Be that as it may, for those who have devoured the saga or not, we put the spotlight on its gastronomic interpretation and its culinary scenes suspended between humour, tragedy, decadence and unbridled ambition.

Because in Tony Soprano‘s universe, if there was one thing that united his two families, the real and the mafia, it was their shared love of food and Italian after-dinner meals staged in almost sacred enclaves such as Artie’s Nuovo Vesuvio restaurant, the dimly lit bar of Bada Bing or the outdoor table of Satriale’s Pork Store.

Culinary symbolism

From the decadent eating habits of Tony’s father, to the sugary foods in the Sopranos’ house, to the bowls of ice cream in Tony: Turkey Hill, they become essential elements in understanding the generic portrait of their suburban comfort.

In the world of The Sopranos, food provides pleasure. Even a kind of escape amidst the pettiness of illegal business and murder. In a therapy with sweets or excessive feasting as meditative escape routes.

Italian-American food culture also becomes an essential part of the crime drama, with great traditional foods deployed throughout its six seasons.

In this sense, Sunday dinners are important, where tensions and dramas are shared, such as the schoolchildren of his teenage daughter, and where three generations of the family come together, as in the early season. The buffet? delicious portions of antipasto, pasta, salad or bread paired with red wine and other substances.

If we look specifically at some of these food-centred sequences, it is worth remembering the episode ‘From Where to Eternity‘ from the second season. A particular scene in which Tony and Sal Bonpensiero joke between cold beers and thick, rare steaks, a few minutes after murdering Matt Bevilaqua, who tried to hit Christopher in the previous episode.

The fact that they could take pleasure and enjoy this food, especially such a bloody and carnivorous one, shortly after committing a crime, is a testament to the sociopathy that is also part of The Sopranos’ audio-visual menu.