Saturday, March 10, 2018

Italian chefs are appalled at Spanish eating habits

"We're eating pizza all wrong," says the headline. Many of the toppings used in Spain are American style, not authentically Italian, say the aggrieved Italian chefs.
Italians have food rules. Let there be no mistake. And an article in a supplement to El Pais, called Buena Vida, or Good Life, in today's paper laid out the grievances of Italian chefs about their neighbors in Spain (here is the digital version of the supplement, but the article itself was not available online.)

Among the food atrocities:
  • Never use a spoon to eat pasta. That's only for children. Adults and anyone older than 6 should use a fork, the only proper instrument for eating pasta in a civilized manner.
  • Never cut up spaghetti before cooking it. And don't put in oil while cooking pasta. "I don't know why they do it," said Ilenia Cappai, owner of an Italian restaurant in Madrid. "It doesn't add anything." 
  • Don't serve the sauce separately from the pasta; they belong together. And, please, don't serve spaghetti with salsa bolognesa--the only proper pasta for that sauce is tagliatelle, says Cappai.
  • Also, we don't like your ham and olive oil, says Enrica Barni, another chef. Italian olive oil is the green product of a cold pressing. And Italian ham, prosciutto, comes from a much larger white pig than Spaniards use for their Iberian style. 
  • Spaniards use salt and pepper on their food before even tasting it, says Davide Bonato, chef at Gioia restaurant. An uncivilized practice. "They destroy the flavor of a dish." 
  • Spaniards eat bread with everything, too much bread. "Yesterday some clients ordered bread with their pizza," Bonato said, astonished. "Of course, I gave it to them, but . . . " 
  • Soft drinks are banned at a civilized Italian table. You drink only wine or water. Drinking Coca Cola at your grandmother's dinner table would be an insult, said Luca Gatti. 
  • At formal dinners in Italy, you never sit next to your spouse. The idea is to have others get to know your partner.
  • A pizza is for one person, never for sharing.
  • And at the end of the meal, the only acceptable form of coffee to have is an espresso, never a capuccino or cafe con leche--those are for breakfast. 
You have been warned. 

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