Do you know any Italian people?
I’m talking to foreigners of course.
If you do and you like to live dangerously, you can try an experiment.
The next time you are with your Italian friend, be sure that the topic of food is discussed and if you are asked – but for the sake of the experiment, even if you are not – say something like..
Oh French cuisine is the best of course!
You could be able to witness one of three possible reactions from your Italian friend.
The devastated one: your friend curls up in a ball on the floor and starts pining.
The hurt one: your friend greets his teeth, turns his back on you and never talks to you again.
The academic one: your Italian friend begins his most powerful dissertation about the reasons why Italian kitchen is by far the best in the whole world and surely better than French one – because, really, you can’t trust in a kitchen someone who puts boiled rice or pasta next to a steak… on the same plate.
Ok. Probably I am a little overstating but really there are two things that is dangerous to do around Italians. The first is abusing Italy – it’s our country, we know it , flaws and all, we can abuse it as much as we like. You can’t. The second is messing up with our food.
I’m saying this as an Italian. We live in a beautiful, incredible, surprising place with tons of problems. We are so used to its beauty that we don’t notice it anymore. And we love our food. We are used to it as it is. We almost venerate food. So don’t mess with it. Integralism is not in our DNA… except for food.
This is stereotypical only to a certain extent, it’s true that Italian people are open and generous. We would gladly share our food and we are happy to teach how to prepare it – beside a small number of secret family recipes. Don’t try without knowing what you’re doing. Or at least don’t let us know.
Once I was talking to a foreigner about Italian dishes and he said “oh, I love pasta!”. Saying something like that is like saying you love my grandma. A sure way to be liked.
After that I asked “do you often cook it?”. We are not overly jealous and we’re happy to know that others know and cook it. Given that you do it right. The answer was “Yes! I love it dressed with ketchup”.
My heart skipped a bit.
I felt on the verge of heart attack. Or tears. Or both.
You just slapped my grandma.
Unrequested advice. Ketchup on pasta is bad. Truly bad. It’s a sacrilege. It’s outrageous. If you put ketchup on pasta don’t say it out loud. At least don’t tell me.
Unless you need this as a weapon.
In a fight with an Italian food lover you can start screaming at the top of your lungs “I put ketchup on pasta!”. This will disorient your opponent for at least a few minutes.
Now you know.
If you want to torture an Italian in one, single, simple, cruel, sadistic step, just mess up with our food.
If you want to know ways to cook pasta, I’ll be happy to oblige. Just ask in the comments!