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Beware Italy’s Fascist Food Squadron

May
1
2007

“Excuse me, m’am. Why do you think I pulled you over?”
“Uh. No idea, sir. Is something wrong?”
“With that sprinkling of parmesan over a dish of spaghetti alla marinara, you’re clearly in violation of the Italian food code. Here’s the fine. Don’t do it again. We’re tougher on repeat offenders. Buona serata.”
That’s sort of how I imagine the Italian “food envoys” roaming around the world punishing breaches of what has got to be one of the most widespread cuisines.


Italians just don’t seem to understand that, like slaloming on a Vespa and advanced scarf tieing, their ways about food have not made it intact outside borders.
It’s highly offensive to them that their daily bread, or pane quotidiano if you will, is not exactly the way la mamma would make it at home. Adaptations by the diaspora with local ingredients and then riffed on by non-Italians have made Italian food outside Italy little resemble Italian food in Italy.
Kind of like American English: it’s one way at home and then globish, functional, sure but a bit off, everywhere else. No one complains, though.
But the fish with cheese combination or cappuccino after dinner is much more serious. It’s not interpretation, it’s not an opinion: it’s wrong, people.
That’s why the Italian Academy of Cuisine (AIC) wants to train a squadron of Italian chefs to roam the world guarding against “tainted, watered-down or souped-up dishes.”
Although they have just recently made Italian the national language and pinned down the exact shades for the tricolor flag, Italians are adamantly food protectionist with the highest number of specialties in the EU — not to mention the Nutella lobby.
It was an endless series of food faux paus my first years in Italy — ordering of white wine in winter or red wine with seafood, asking for butter with bread — but after awhile, the rules start to make sense.
Just check in with your stomach the next time you have milk on top of a meal and you’ll know what I mean.
I’m not sure the matter really warrants proper policing but, if you insist on corrupting your Italian food, you have been warned.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 10:21 AM | Permalink

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