Ketchup on your pasta? Basta! Italian food institute issues a list of rules for foreigners to follow

 

We've all committed them, but now, at last, we have no excuses. A respected food institute has listed those culinary no-nos that make Italians wince inwardly but which they are too polite to tell you about. The Parma-based Academia Barilla, which aims "to defend and safeguard Italian food products made by reputable artisans and certified denominations against poor-quality imitations", has listed ten kitchen faux pas, in order to "teach foreigners how to avoid culinary horrors" in confronting Italian food.

So now, we can be free of that feeling that the waiter is laughing up his sleeve at us. The list is compiled with a degree of self-mockery and lacks the seriousness of, say, the Académie française's strictures on the French language. Nonetheless, that's us put in our place. The rules are as follows:

* Never, ever, sip a cappuccino during a meal. (Espresso) coffee and cappuccino are Italy's pride. The first is to be consumed after a meal, and a cappuccino is for breakfast, ideally with something sweet. You can order a one after a meal but you should know an Italian would never do so.

* Risotto and pasta are not meant to accompany other dishes (apart from specialities such as l'Ossobuco alla milanese). Pasta served as if it were a veg is "a mistake committed in many other countries, but in Italy is considered sacrilegious". Gennaro Contaldo, author of several books on Italian food and Jamie Oliver's mentor, agrees. He told The IoS: "I used to see this combination of everything on a plate in Italian restaurants in the Seventies when I first came to England – I'm glad to say this has died out."

* Don't put oil in the pasta water. Any addition should be made after the pasta has been cooked.

* Ketchup on pasta. This really shocks Italians. Barilla calls it "a true culinary sin". Contaldo agrees: "I do like good ketchup, but only with chips."

* Spaghetti Bolognese? No! Probably Italy's most famous dish, yet there isn't a restaurant in Bologna that serves it. The famous sauce is traditionally cooked with tagliatelle, not spaghetti. But Contaldo thinks the report is a bit picky. Where he is from, near Naples, spaghetti is fine, though what we call "Bolognese" is generally simpler and less of a "soup" of ingredients.

* Pasta with chicken – never in Italy. Americans regard this as "typically Italian", says the report, "but we have to tell you: no one in Italy would serve such a dish". The nearest, says a conciliatory Contaldo, is chicken broth which is then cooked with tiny pasta pieces ("pastina"), eaten as a soup and followed by a chicken main course.

* "Caesar salad": unknown in Italy, even if its inventor, Caesar Cardini, was Italian.

* Red and white checked tablecloths. They don't exist in Italy, even though countless Italian restaurants abroad use them.

* "Fettuccine alfredo", a dish of noodles with butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano, celebrated in the States as being characteristically Italian, is, says the report, "completely unknown" in Italy. Invented in Rome by Alfredo Di Lelio, it never took off in Italy, at least with that name.

* Respect tradition and a mother's advice, namely that Italian food is to be shared with those you love. Love and family are "tutto".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style