As an Italian man in Berkeley, I have heard and seen stories and things that, according to my perspective, are sincerely difficult to understand. Obviously, I am writing about food. Let me start from the last days. My daughter Mateja attended the second grade of an elementary school. She was incredible, starting from scratch, in just some weeks she became able to speak a fluent English. She wrote a couple of stories during her schooldays; the last one was about Italian food and contained the word spagedi. Not spaghetti, spagedi. In that moment, my wife and me realized that we have to fight together to maintain alive our food-culture in our own home.
Remember, dear reader, you should not break spaghetti before putting them in boiling water. Why? It does not matter… you should not. They do their job without any help. Anyway, if you aim to discover something new about the physics of broken spaghetti, you can read here an article on the issue, winner of the Ig-Nobel prize.
A few more notes.
Do not believe in the cooking time signed on the US pasta’s packs: it is always too long. Do not add oil or dressing while the water boils and be gentle when you stir it.
Mac & Cheese does not exist in Italy. Chicken pasta does not exist in Italy. Pasta is a main dish, as risotto is.
Ketchup and pasta is an impossible marriage, let them divorce and look for another spouse.
If you are satisfied with your pasta, you deserve a coffee. But, there are a lot of “buts”.
I wrote “coffee”, not “cappuccino”. They are both among our national prides. We consume usually coffee at the end of the meal. Cappuccino is a breakfast beverage, usually accompanied by some pastry or cookies. If you ask for a cappuccino at the end of a meal, just know that it is unusual for us. And, please, do not order cappuccino with pizza. A beer, a coke, some sodas, sparkling or plain water, even wine, but not cappuccino and pizza. Would you hurt a whole nation? The journalist Beppe Severgnini wrote that in Italy it is immoral, almost illegal, to drink cappuccino after 11 am.
A couple of friends told us that they were in Naples and in a “Caffè” they had a drink before dinner. The waiter served them, with the drink, French-fries. The best French-fries in their life. The next day, with the goal to repeat the food experience, our friends went to the same “Caffè”, before dinner. They ordered a cappuccino. No, no: cappuccino after lunch is banned, prohibited, forbidden. The situation went from bad to worse. The waiter did his job and gave them the cappuccino, with some cookies. The couple asked him for the French-fries. Instead of the cookies. This is terrible. A sin. Before calling a priest, better a bishop, the waiter did the only thing he could do. He answered “No”. They insisted: “We will pay for the French-Fries”. This is not a matter of money dear reader; this is food and religion. If you believe in Italian food culture, there is not enough money in the world for paying a French-Fries-Cappuccino order. Obviously, the waiter answered “No” again.
For more information, you have to know that Academia Barilla (Italian Food Academy) published “The ten Italian Cooking commandments”.
At the end of my sermon, dear reader, I have to confess you that… I am a sinner. Yes, I am. Because I like Hawaiian Pizza. Even with pineapple, chicken and barbecue sauce.