Many food publications have come under fire recently for either completely bastardizing a culture's cuisine, or neglecting to correctly credit a dish's influence. While we've enjoyed all the drama surrounding Bon Appetit's various failings, the latest culprit of food crimes is none other than The New York Times.
The publication stoked the ire of readers back in 2018 when they referred to Yorkshire Pudding, an English supper special, as a dessert. Their latest misstep? Publishing a recipe for a dish called "Smoky Tomato Carbonara."
For those of you who may not be versed in Italian cuisine, they take their recipes - and methodologies - very, very seriously. Carbonara is a pasta dish (usually using Spaghetti) that combines guanciale (pork jowl), black pepper, pecorino cheese and egg to create a wonderfully rich and savory treat. Unfortunately, especially stateside, many home and professional chefs bastardize this preparation either by using substitutions such as bacon for guanciale, or, even worse, adding cream to the sauce. While the dish does have a creaminess to it, the decadence comes from the last step of the cooking process, when a mixture of raw egg is added to the cooked pasta while off the heat. It cooks into a creamy coating when done correctly. Adding cream or milk isn't just a cop out, to many Italians it's a sin.
If the addition of dairy or use of bacon is so offensive, it's no wonder this "smoky tomato" recipe has inspired such animosity. And Italians are not ones to mince words. One chef from Rome, the 'Carbonara King' Alessandro Pipero, told Corriere della Sera "It would be like putting salami in a cappuccino or mortadella in sushi. OK, fine, but then let's not call it sushi, similarly with this one – carbonara with tomato is not carbonara. It's something else." Other opponents chose to voice their disgust on Twitter - mostly in response to the tweet that was supposed to promote the controversial recipe. But the condemnation of bastardized Italian dishes on social media is nothing new. In fact, one of our favorite Twitter accounts is an impressive archive of heated, angry comments in response to images of ketchup-soiled pasta, or pizzas with pineapple on them. The account, Italians Mad At Food, has been pumping out the entertainment since 2015, and has amassed a pretty impressive following of 100k fans. If you're entertained by this kind of food criticism, you'll definitely enjoy the screenshots they so diligently upload. We've put together our favorites from the last month or so for your convenient enjoyment, but you can see more on Twitter as well as on their newer Instagram. The anger and scathing remarks really never get old.