The Milan based “L’Accademia Italiana della Cucina” has announced the results of its research: 60% of Italian restaurants abroad are awful.
Now, for some reason, this is news. This week, in English speaking news outlets, the recently obscure “Academy for Italian Cooking” is having its moment of fame. After their dedicated researchers combed the world, they announced that Italian cooking abroad is crap. They were horrified to find pineapple on pizza; and frankly, so am I. Pineapple on pizza is revolting. I don’t care if my son says that I’m closed minded!
I’m curious: why the hubbub? Slow news day at the BBC?
I have a strong concern about this conclusion: the “researchers” were Italians who live in Italy. Could there be a more genetically biased group? They can’t agree on how anything should be made; neighbors will argue to the last drop of grappa in the bottle, about what goes into a ragu. And you are sending these ‘researchers’ into the bowels of London, traipsing across the US in search of ‘authenticity’? I have a vision of Sancho Panza’s Italian twin: Sergio Pancetta on a horse named Quixote in search of “Authenticity”.
For another point of view, Ted Asbaghi, goes to the wall defending the Italian-ness of the Olive Garden. Far be it from me to argue with Mr. Asbaghi, unless, of course, he has a good bottle of grappa to fuel the conversation!