How to piss off an Italian [excerpt] by Eva Sandoval

I came across this article and found it too funny not to share it with you. As much as I would like to laugh and tell you it’s all an exaggeration, I can’t. It’s all true. We Italians are food snobs. But rightfully so, because Italian food is the best, isn’t it? ENJOY!


Suggest that other cultures’ cuisines might also be delicious.
Italian food is loved worldwide, and with good reason. The Italians themselves are extremely proud of their food, which is why if you suggest other cultures also produce good cuisine, you’ll be setting yourself up for: “Maybe, but nothing is better than our own food.”

“Yes, but Mexican food is also delicious. In fact, I think it’s my favorite.”

“There is no food better than Italian food.”

“Have you ever tried Mexican food?”

“I don’t have to try Mexican food. I know that Italian food is the best.”

“Mexican food is really delicious.”

“Not as delicious as Italian food.”

Press the issue and see the sparks fly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Fuck with their food.
Fine, you can eat the other shitty cuisines of the world if you have to. But don’t you dare — dare — fuck with what is pure and holy.

Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, there is an extremely stringent set of rules in Italian cooking. Traditionally, short pasta goes with meat sauces, long pasta goes with seafood sauces. Pasta must be cooked with a fistful of rock salt in the water and cooked until it’s al dente — otherwise it’s not pasta, but shit.

Case in point: a friend of mine cooked me dinner one night and, while we were chatting, he feared that he had overcooked the rigatoni: “If they’re overcooked, I will KILL myself!” (Happily, they weren’t.)

Time-honored recipes are not to be polluted with substitutions. Pasta must never be cut with a knife. Cheese and seafood must never mix unless, maybe, maybe, you’re adding ricotta to spigola fish or camembert to mussel stew, but even those pairings are so avant garde as to be terrifying to most Italians.

Nowadays, much experimentation is taking high-end Italian kitchens by storm — i.e., pairing gnocchi with seafood — but all experimentation is to be done only within strict guidelines. Therefore, when Italians are exposed to “Italian food” outside of Italy — bastardized to suit the tastes of that particular culture — they are not only horrified, but mortally offended.

Cheesy seafood alfredo? Chicken parmigiana? Chicken and meatballs in pasta?! Spaghetti “carbonara” made with cream and mushrooms, not egg yolk and pig’s cheek? Cottage cheese in lasagna?! What the fuck is this shit! Who do they think they are!

Once, a friend of mine back home asked me if I had any simple Italian pasta recipes. I sent him a recipe for my Roman mother’s spaghetti al pomodoro — spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce. The next day, he thanked me for the recipe. I was pleased…until he told me he’d added chicken, corn, and cheddar cheese to the sauce. I ran straight to my mother and we had ourselves a good cry. And decided not to send him any more recipes.


One thought on “How to piss off an Italian [excerpt] by Eva Sandoval

  1. Pingback: Greensborough Italian & Seafood Restaurant | Silent Observer

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