Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Il Duce must be doing somersaults

"In second place was L’Arcangelo, a restaurant with a head chef from India. The winner: Antico Forno Roscioli, a bakery and innovative restaurant whose chef, Nabil Hadj Hassen, arrived from Tunisia at 17 and washed dishes for a year and a half before he cooked his first pot of pasta.

“To cook is a passion,” said Mr. Hassen, now 43, who went on to train with some of Italy's top chefs. “Food is a beautiful thing.”

But Italians take their food very seriously, not just as nourishment and pleasure but also as the chief component of national and regional identity. Change is not taken lightly here, especially when the questions it raises are uncomfortable: Will Italy’s food change — and if so, for the worse or, even more disconcertingly, for the better? Most Italian food is defined by its good ingredients and simple preparation, but does it become less distinct — or less Italian — if anyone can prepare it to restaurant standards? Does that come at some cost to national pride?" (Thanks Leila)

1 comment:

Leila Abu-Saba said...

Ridiculous statement. The tomato was a huge change to Italian food, brought from the new world after Columbus.

Pasta - invention of the Chinese, possibly brought by Marco Polo.

What about all the ingredients gift of the ARabs - Arab influence on Sicilian cuisine is widely accepted. Citron, lemon and orange, coffee, spices. What are they thinking?

No this is culinary ignorance and silly provincialism to moan that somehow Italian food is pristine and unchanging and will be corrupted by foreign chefs. Get a grip.