I was traveling with a friend in one of the world’s major cities. Since it was getting close to lunchtime, we decided to stop and look for a place where we could eat. After a long and tiring search we decided to go to the Italian restaurant of a well-known international chain of French hotels: La Mamma, which boasted ‘authentic Italian cuisine’.

As soon as we sat down we were given the menu and with the menu we were served bread and butter.
We went through the menu (which was full of all sort of errors) and in order to play safe we ordered two of the simplest dishes: Ravioli with butter and sage, and Spaghetti with tomato and basil.
As soon as we ordered spaghetti we were promptly given a nice…spoon!

All these situation are totally inappropriate.
The bread served with butter is typical of French restaurants. In Italian restaurants only bread is served, not butter. At the most you are given bread with two small bottles of oil and vinegar – butter is never served.
Instead the spoon used for spaghetti is considered barbaric in Italian cuisine. The spoon is never used when eating pasta but it is used only for broths, soups or ‘guazzetti’ (very running stews). At the most, a spoon is given to young children if they are unable to use cutlery correctly.
Be wary of these customs, they are bad signs!

The ‘Made in Italy’ tagline is always fashionable, sells well and turns so-called Italian restaurants into money-making machines. These restaurants are planned and designed without thought or passion by non-Italian owners and chefs and are managed by non-Italian personnel.

Drawn from Fettuccine Alfredo, Spaghetti Bolognaise & Caesar Salad by Maurizio Pelli.

For info: The Culinary Clinic by Maurizio Pelli.

Photo credits: Morguefile.