I used to love eating at a place in Trastevere called Da Carlone - they still have the best 'cacio & pepe' in Rome (until it ended up in the guide books and the prices rose to American tourista levels); the 'da' signifying the English 's to turn it into Big Carl's Place. It could very well be that the whole name was also, simply put, the proprietor's name.
So last week's news of the Sardinian take away place, McPuddu's, getting served a 'cease & desist' order by noneother than McDonalds brought upon more than a few chuckles. A quick read through the Italian press and you learn that:
- the ballsy Mr. Puddu is a simple proprietor of a very traditional Sardinian delicacy, culurgiones (which to this writer sounds a lot like cogliones, but, that's another story...) made in back rooms by little old signore dressed in black [which then provokes the query...are the tax police aware of his supply chain antics?]
- that culurgiones have been around a lot longer than the cheeseburger
- and that McDonalds seems to reserve the right to their prefix -- no matter what you're serving
Now I think McDonald's is ridiculous and should have no right to that prefix. Think of all the poor blokes in Scotland who just want to open up a pub for their mates to hang out in - but can't. But the rationale behind Mr. Puddu's right of use is derisible, at best.
By claiming he is upholding a long-standing gastronomic tradition, why then, use the Mc at all? It has nothing to do with Italy, traditions, culurgiones, or anything else. It'd be like taking the best and darkest Italian Barolo and adding Coca in front, just so people know you can drink it. Or, how about the Big Pasta al Pesto (you could call it the Big Maccheroni) or Milan's famed Veal Cutlet...Vittello alla McMilanese.
But my favorite defense that's been put forth is that the Mc (of Mickey D's) is akin to Da or Di -- basically showing the ownership as in, Leonardo Da Vinci (Leo from the town of Vinci). Just think, if we applied this logic, Leonardo Di Caprio would never have become famous (or maybe so, due to copyright expiration).
This assertion is plain ludicrous for two reasons: Mc is not proprietary (unless of course, you are Ronald McDonald) and if he wanted to mean "of" or "by" he could have more simply called his place, Puddu's or Di Puddu...Or, taking from the Guardian, Puddy's...
The papers are reporting that Puddu has since put up a censored sign over the Mc part while he prepares his legal battle. But I suggest if he wants international success over satire, to stick with Sardinian and leave the Burger Kings alone.