Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Translated literally, cucina povera means "poor kitchen," but it really refers to the frugal genius of poor Italian cooks who made the most of gardens, forests, oceans, and backyard coops. Anything abundant and affordable became the backbone of a dish; also anything left over, as with the use of bread in salads and soups, or breadcrumbs with pastas. The approach isn't unique to Italy, of course: Every culture has beloved dishes with roots in the flavors of necessity. Here, some global recipes inspired by the original "fresh and local" frugal cooks.