Tuesday, June 22

Black Gold, Turin Tea

It must be all those images of petroleum mucking up things all over America's south that brought the attention - front & center - to the EU commission.  Would they start sms campaigns to help Americans in their time of need?  Stick tougher regulations on the European petrol companies?  No - all that gooey brown chocolate gook made them think of one thing and one thing only -- how to regulate Nutella through taxes and warning labels -- seeing that the one for cigarettes has had such a resounding success over the years.

Their central aim is good - trying to put an end to childhood obesity - but they are far off the mark. It seems that, after Nutella was lauded for having one of the best brands on earth (like say, the French soccer team), it was too much to handle -- and so the EU would have to step in to put an end to it.  After all, as fellow blogger over at the Smiling Eggplant stated so precisely, it's not Nutella that brings on the pounds, it's the person's behavior.  Think Augustus Gloop and Charlie - I'm quite certain that even once Charlie moved into that Chocolate Factory, he still would have kept the pounds off.

And while it's true that those trim Italians are starting to look a lot more - well, American - and I don't mean the jeans & Nikes - I don't believe it's the sugar and fat of their favorite breakfast treat that's the culprit.  My nephews eat it by the barrel, but are all such sports fanatics that it wouldn't cause even a ripple in their rib cages.  And, one can make a fairly strong case that - Nutella has been around for a very long time, and Italians - up til now - haven't had much of a weight problem to speak of, unless of course, you count la mamma of days long gone by.

Over the years, I've seen Italian kids go from 'no eating between meals' to the ones who, like their American counterparts, will go into a grocery store to pick up a six pack of Coke and a pack of Mars Bars.  Kids who had no idea what snack foods were are now treated to Pringles mini-packs on every street corner.  Add to this the McDonald's 'get 'em while they're young', the lack of school sports and mammas who call out on the playground, "Giovanni, don't sweat!" whenever they start to do something as foolish as run. All said, we're in for a case of double diabetes before you can even say, 'Coca Cola calda con la canuccia*.  The fat camps won't be far behind.

But don't touch the one industry that does seriously well in Italy. If Italians didn't eat Nutella for breakfast, they would have no brain food at all.  They'd be back to their sandpaper Barilla biscotti dipped in milk.  And believe me, that certainly can't be a good thing.
Nutella gives us energy, Nutella makes the world go round, Nutella, in a word, is our petroleum.

*warm Coca-cola with a straw - an hilarious thing to hear in proper Tuscan dialect


cuz liz said...

When I did my nanny stint in the Torino area, the kids had their own brain food for breakfast, prepared by one of their grandmothers: an egg yolk beaten with about a tablespoon of sugar (and not cooked, mind you). Then they would dip their Barilla biscotti in it.

J.Doe said...

It always struck me as kind of funny that in Italy Nutella is marketed as some kind of healthy breakfast food.
I thought to myself 'Do people really believe it's a health food?' in wonder.
Then I moved to the US and the Nutella company does the same market pitch. They talk about how many hazelnuts are in one spoonful while neglecting to mention the sugar and fat contents with the consensus being that it's healthy nutritious food.
I guess people can be advertisement zombies and believe everything they hear on both sides of the Atlantic.

Irreverent Italy said...

yeah, well - just 'cuz they eat it for b'fast !

What about protein-filled peanut butter we ate for lunch (me - every day of my life for 18 years and now I can eat neither product)...

And, think of all the b'fast cereals (like Cap'n Crunch or Quisp or Rice Krinkles - both taken off the market!!!) - not to mention pancakes&syrup on weekends....


cuz liz said...

Yes, I agree, the peanut butter (and jelly) did have a lot of sugar in it, unless you had hippies for parents and they ground their own nuts. But I know you didn't.

I was spoiled for breakfasts. I got hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, malt-o-meal), scrambled eggs, bread or rice pudding, potato soup with veggies thrown in during the week. Saturday was the only day we got to eat cold cereal, and very rarely were they the really sugary ones. Then Sunday was the traditional french toast (my personal favorite), once in a while pancakes. My parents were food tyrants.

Anonymous said...

But, did their healthy eating rub off? Or did you finally rebel and now eat SNACK BARS for breakfast - lunch - dinner???