And so it comes as no surprise that in this age of intolerance for things ethnic (think: economic immigrants), that the battle would rage right in one’s pasta plate. Not long ago, the fascists decided to purify the Italian language, using propaganda and posters in order to convince the population to follow suit (much like they do in France and Quebèc today). Today, the poster child for this new intolerance is a McDonald’s burger no less. But, hang on -- that’s American!
Yes, but the burger pictured – just in case you didn’t read the writing – has the map of Italy seared right onto it. Telling us that the meat at mickey d’s is red white and green (which, after that fine meat is added to all the mixings – well, there might be some truth in advertising after all).
Next thing you know, falafel and kebab (think: gyro) shops are being banned from city centers. With all the flack about how they are ‘un-Italian’, people forgot that those juicy Italian burgers have been banned from many a centro storico for a long time. Mostly, for the bright fluorescent lights, ubiquitous advertising but, even more so, the odours. Although I’m all for it, frankly, I think it’s more for the fact that they take away business from the panini shops nearby.
What Italians have forgotten altogether is that back in the day, Italy was a very diverse country with people flocking here from all ends of the empire. You would probably have seen a falafel guy cooking right next to the burger dude – kind of like a New York City street corner. Spices, meats, heck, even people were traded all over the empire. And, where did those traders stop when they got a bit peckish? At one of the many ‘take away’ stands lining the streets.
So maybe someone needs to spin this story the right way. It was Ancient Rome who brought us ethnic food and take away service. And in a country that loves its traditions, what can be more traditional than that?