Italian “foreign food” ban grows

What started in Lucca is now spreading to other cities in Italy. These people are complete idiots.

The tomato comes from Peru and spaghetti was probably a gift from China.

It is, though, the “foreign” kebab that is being kicked out of Italian cities as it becomes the target of a campaign against ethnic food, backed by the centre-right Government of Silvio Berlusconi.

The drive to make Italians eat Italian, which was described by the Left and leading chefs as gastronomic racism, began in the town of Lucca this week, where the council banned any new ethnic food outlets from opening within the ancient city walls.

Yesterday it spread to Lombardy and its regional capital, Milan, which is also run by the centre Right. The antiimmigrant Northern League party brought in the restrictions “to protect local specialities from the growing popularity of ethnic cuisines”.

Luca Zaia, the Minister of Agriculture and a member of the Northern League from the Veneto region, applauded the authorities in Lucca and Milan for cracking down on nonItalian food. “We stand for tradition and the safeguarding of our culture,” he said.

Mr Zaia said that those ethnic restaurants allowed to operate “whether they serve kebabs, sushi or Chinese food” should “stop importing container loads of meat and fish from who knows where” and use only Italian ingredients.

Asked if he had ever eaten a kebab, Mr Zaia said: “No – and I defy anyone to prove the contrary. I prefer the dishes of my native Veneto. I even refuse to eat pineapple.”


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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51 Responses to “Italian “foreign food” ban grows”

  1. Wesinoregon says:

    NOT true. I have had other recipes. I happen to not like Italian spices on my steak either. The pasta thing is very pronounced in Italian cooking that’s why I mentioned it. I know that is not all they eat. And no, I don’t go to Olive Garden. Greek food is another story, I like that and it’s very different.

  2. SouthernYankee says:

    Yuck your creepie. Whats wrong with you. My parents came from Italy and they stayed and became american citizens and had a large family and we all love our american country and we love the old country. I am sorry for you angelo. Sounds like you had a very bad childhood. You know alot of bigots like you say the same thing about all nationalities. “What’s the matter? they come here take our money and then go home.”

  3. angelospaggetii says:

    WHEN ITALIANS CAME TO AMERICA THEY STOLE EVERYTHING THEY COULD AND RETURN TO ITALY WITH IT,NOW THEY DONT WANT AMERICAN FOOD, HA HA HA HA FUNNY PEOPLE THEY ARE.

  4. angelospaggetii says:

    ok if Italian food is going to upset you stomach.why they do not come with Zantac,Prilosec, Rolaids and tums ?FACT, YOU CAN NOT BAN AMERICAN MEDS CAUSE AFTER EATING THAT FOOD YOU WILL NEED THEM.

  5. SouthernYankee says:

    Who told you that? Some Greek? Just like they are trying to say that America wasn’t discovered by a Italian. Someone always wants to change history.

  6. SouthernYankee says:

    I think he did.

  7. angelospaggetii says:

    well,I can’t stand Italian food unless they come with a duane reade x -tra. like you need Zantac,Prilosec,Tums, rolaids etc…. before and after every plate.something is wrong with that food that upsets people stomachs so YES I AGREE THEY SHOULD KEEP THEIR FOOD THAT WAY THEIR DRUG STORES CAN SURVIVE.

  8. b says:

    pizza comes from greece just found that out not too long ago. Italian food is a mix of the people who have settled there and the places they have conquired in the past. so what are the trying to protect? its ridiculous

  9. An Italian girl says:

    You obviously have a slanted ‘americanized view’ of what Italian food is. Italians do not slather everything in sauce and are not perpetually eating pasta. Food for them has always been regional. Meaning what was available in the area is the type of food they cooked. If the town was by the ocean a lot of seafood was cooked if it was in the mountains lamb and beef and almost no seafood. So if you are going to go by your last trip to ‘The Olive Garden’ yo are mistaken. That is like comparing Mexican food to Taco Bell.

  10. S. Dugan says:

    My wife and I visit Italy annually and many things about the country including the wonderful food. I must say however that in light of this type of ban on “non-Italian” foods is allowed then I support a ban or very high duty on Italian foods imported to the U.S. In my opinion only this type of response will open their eyes.

  11. Judith says:

    This report is an exaggerated take on something very tiny that is the truth. They are not trying to protect Italian food, they are forbidding the opening of new foreign restaurants in preserved historic areas. Take a look sometime at Route 1 into historic Alexandria and tell me they’re wrong.

  12. SouthernYankee says:

    Yes, I have seen racism in Europe. The Germans hate the Turks because their come to their country and leave their families back home and they get what is called a child support. At that time people in Turkey were required to have birth certificates. Some felt they were claimming children that didn’t even belong to them. The German government was trying to get their own citizens to have more babies and paying them extra money. But as usual some found they could take advantaged. My parents are from Italy and I have lived there and speak the language of the region. You being a cook understand the good quality of good cooking. Each country has their own quality of food and should be appreciated. If people want to eat other nationality of food than its not up to the government to approve or disapprove. I don’t think I have an attitude because I have lived in Italy. I was trying to give you my experience when I lived there and being around people. Yes there might be racism because they don’t want to loose their culture. Now that would be ashamed. But I do not see that as a reason not to have people come to their country and want to become a citizen of that government. Italians, Germans, Irishmen, and other cultures that moved to america in the 20’s, 30’s or 40’s came here wanting a better life. They wanted to learn the language and melt right into the country. There have been in recent years some cultures come over and they don’t seem they want to melt into the american culture. Living in the northeast I have seen it.

  13. Edie says:

    Okay.

    Basil came from India, garlic and other members of the leek family from Northern Africa and Greece, beans, chilies and tomatoes from the new world, spices from Asia, corn from the New World and many cooking techniques from the Jews and proto- arabs who lived in ancient Rome.

    Ridiculous, pathetic and sad that Italy thinks, after absorbing all this cookery and making it part of the culture, thinks it can’t survive now.

  14. Will says:

    exactly. I guess if there is a bright side to all this lunacy it would be the tendency to eat more locally grown foods, a net positive for the environment.

  15. GarySFBCN says:

    If you don’t know about the racism in Europe, you must be illiterate. Did you ever see an immigrant or ethnic minority in the middle class anywhere in Italy (or Europe)? Ever wonder why?

    And yes, your I’m better than everyone because I lived in Italy attitude puts most people off. Having spent a few months in Italy and living with Italians for 10 years (not Italian-Americans – nobody spoke English) AND attending cooking schools for Italian food, I am very familiar with most of the regional foods in Italy, with the exception of Sicily and Northern Sardinia.

    It is all wonderful food. But the non-Italian foods in Italy are just awful. Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Indian food is all AWFUL there.

  16. SouthernYankee says:

    I guess I hit the cord huh? You can find racism in any country. But I will tell you this my relatives have never indicated any racism at all to me of any kinds. I have been around many of my relatives who live their but who knows.

  17. GarySFBCN says:

    I have been to Italy several times. You missed the point of my post – and that is that Italy has a huge problem with racism, and this idiotic trend is just another example.

    Oh and go fuck yourself, Southern Yankee Pompous Asshole.

  18. SouthernYankee says:

    Obviously you never been to Italy. There are all kinds variety of Italian foods. Heck I even had Rabit cooked in Alcohol that was out of this world. It was cooked in an open ovens. There are all kinds of food not just spaghetti. Am Italian/American and I don’t even like spaghetti. But I also like orential food alot. I don’t care for mexican food but I will taste all kinds of foods from any country. But any country has a right to do what they want. They don’t have to obey America.

  19. SouthernYankee says:

    Thank you. Italians love their food. Its like a love affair. We used to sit down to a 7 course meal. After each course my Uncle would comment on the dish. Than everyone would give their opinion. It was so much fun. You would have Grandparents, sons, daughters, aunts and uncles and friends. We would have a long table with about 20 people. Lively discussions about everything. Laughing and at the end we sit and have fruit and coffee. Of course wine during the meals. Those were the good old days.

  20. SouthernYankee says:

    Well they are worried about losing their way of life. You can’t blame. Just like some southerns get all upset that mexicans are moving in. They just don’t understand their cultures. I do understand how they feel.

  21. SouthernYankee says:

    You are right. Thanks for showing some of the bozos.

  22. SouthernYankee says:

    Unless you had a chance to live overseas in any country you should keep your retard opinions to yourself. I love Italy, Germany, Luxonburgh and even some asia countries. Of all the countries I lived in Italians know how to have fun. They are a wonderful people. As far as spicy food you don’t know what you are talking about. Just like here you can find spicy food anywhere. I don’t like spicy food at all.

  23. SouthernYankee says:

    My Aunt’s family own a farm on the outskirts of Naples. They grow their own tomatoes and at the end of the season we used to pick them and process them in the kitchen and store sauce in empty wine bottles. It was a big farm and I tell you one thing it was the best sauce you ever wanted to taste.

  24. SouthernYankee says:

    I have lived in Italy and I love the food. The Italian food that is in america is nothing like the Italian food over there. I have relatives that are from Naples, and the best piazza is from Naples, Italy, the best. Now I don’t think they should boycott any foods from other countries. I do understand why they are worried about keeping their enthic ways. I always feel when in Rome do as the Romans do. That should be in every country. This is why this country is a melting pot. When my relatives came here they wanted to learn the language and become american citizens. They felt the sooner the better.

  25. Didn’t Marco Polo introduce pasta from China when he returned to Italy?

  26. devlzadvocate says:

    Luca Bunker?

  27. miss skeptic says:

    If someone wants to ban ethnic food, start with the slime that passes for food in England! Sheep intestines, kidneys, livers, mashed peas, raisins swimming in gooey custard, greasy fish, everything covered in thick, dark gravy – BLAHHHHH!!!!

  28. Wesinoregon says:

    I find Italian food boring as it is. Let’s see, how many shapes can I make flour, egg, water into? So many, but it all tastes the same. If not for the other foods of the world this is what you have to eat along with local produce. YUCK.

  29. Barbara Bode says:

    Toss out those chocolates, folks. They are Mexican NOT Italian. Four thousand years ago, that’s right, as in 1900 BC pots were used for chocolate liquer by the Mokaya in their Pacific coast village of southern Mexico. About the same time, the Olmecs were doing the same in their village on Mexico’s Gulf coast. Centuries passed. Cultivation, preparation and consuming of chocolate continued. It was elite fare. The Maya were worshipful about it and the Aztecs were lustful. Monteczuma, that randy Mexican Emperor (1466-1520 AD) used to drink an extra shot each time he visited his harem. The Italians didn’t even know about chocolate until the late 17th century. So Luca Zaia, no chocolate Valentines for you!

  30. Bill Pearson says:

    Okay, I can see a reason that town like Lucca might enact something like this. Don’t forget, they are only banning NEW ethnic eateries, not existing ones. The point is that regions like Lucca (and much of Italy) are tourist destinations BECAUSE they are special. It’s why they have protective historic districts, etc. If Lucca loses that which makes it “special”, people will stop going there.
    We see the same thing here in Philadelphia (although there’s no legislation backing it). People generally frown upon chain restaurants in a city renowned for its local chefs. The Olive Garden experience is not the same as a neighborhood Italian restaurant. If South Street is full of chain stores that are the same as the malls have, then people will stop coming to South Street.
    Homoginization destroys tourism and specialness, and I don’t see anything wrong with areas that try to protect that which makes them special (including food and T-shirt shops and Niketowns and Hard Rock Cafes).

  31. vkobaya says:

    He’s being dishonest. He doesn’t eat pineapple, not because he regards it as disloyal to Italy, but because he doesn’t like pineapple. I happen to dislike pineapple also, hate it, but don’t try to make dishonest, phony political statements about why I don’t eat pineapple.

    The essence of pineapple is an ester that most high school chemistry students make. Reeks of pineapple. Having had a lifetime of that smell while I was in high school, can’t stand it anymore even 45 years later.

  32. RevDrBillyBob says:

    All that spicy food over there . . . does this explain why them-thar people cain’t form a working parliamentary majority, year-in and year-out ? Just asking . . . .

  33. TampaZeke says:

    Why does this idiot brag that he doesn’t even eat pineapple? Is he trying to make the point that, not only does he not eat “dishes” from other countries and regions, but he doesn’t even eat produce that is not native to Italy.

    Does he not realize that pineapples, native to the Americas, would fall into the same regional category of origin (the Americas) as TOMATOES, peppers (chillis), potatoes, sweet potatoes, SQUASH, pumpkin, turkey, cod, COFFEE, CHOCOLATE, peanuts, corn, blueberries, BEANS. I want to see an Italian restaurant that doesn’t use tomatoes, peppers, beans (green or lima/pinto), squash, coffee or chocolate. And that’s just from the Americas. Forget about all the foods that they imported from the East.

    I want to see this asshat, and his ignorant neighbors, drop more than just pineapple from their list of foods that they won’t eat and stick STRICTLY to foods of Italian origin. They’ll overturn that ban so fast it will make their stomachs spin.

  34. vkobaya says:

    the gastronomic racists don’t understand that they have nothing to fear from other cuisines.

    No, that isn’t the point. The point is they also want all those stinky, dirty, unwashed foreigners who cook that furerner food to leave too. Makes me laugh though. I try to imagine Jim Gilcrist refusing a plate of tacos, enchiladas and tamales all the while that that bigot is screaming about Mexicans trying to steal the Southwest from America.

  35. Indigo says:

    We are amused because Italian food is wonderful. It’s surprising that the gastronomic racists don’t understand that they have nothing to fear from other cuisines.

  36. Indigo says:

    We are amused.

  37. cereal says:

    Folks there should fight back by agreeing with the bans and taking them to their logical extreme. They should insist on bans for anyone caught using tomatoes, squash, corn, pepper, rice, chilies, coffee, chocolate, spices of asian origin (like cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), peaches, and other recently-imported foods. No more risotto, no more ragu, no more espresso or tiramisu! (That could make a good chant). Heck, there’s good evidence that pizza was invented in southwestern France. Hardly any restaurants will be able to stay open, unless they serve only things like white beans and millet with fermented anchovy paste, like the Romans used to eat.

    Get these cretins to defend their laws by admitting that it’s not newly-imported foods, it just foods prepared by brown and yellow people. At least then it’s in the open.

    Not that I have much hope most Italians will change their minds – they seem to be a pretty dumb racist bunch. But at lest it should be open.

  38. cereal says:

    it was less tomatoey.

    seriously though, not all Italian food uses tomatoes. I know for many Americans, “Italian food” means “something with thick tomato sauce, ideally from a can.” There are plenty of Italian dishes that have nothing to do with tomatoes. Tomato-based sauce is not the only, or even the most common, thing to put on pasta, just like not all pasta is spaghetti.

  39. lafingas says:

    I have always wondered what Italian food was like before the introduction of tomatoes.

  40. Ba'al says:

    A few years ago I spent three weeks in Italy, primarily but not exclusively in Tuscany. IN many different respects, one of the nicest places on the planet. But truth is, one can experience culinary boredom in Italy, so this idiocy does not surprise me. I found a much more exciting, innovative, and vibrant culinary scene in Spain.

  41. txstevo says:

    Who Cares????

    This might be a story if it was town in Pennsylvania, or Michigan, or any where in the states. But this is Italy!!! They can do what they want. Who are we to say what is right or wrong for them?

    You cannot apply American metrics to all other countries.

  42. Green Eagle says:

    As a point of information, pasta recipes exist in Italy going back to ancient Rome. The notion that pasta was brought to Italy from China actually can be traced no farther back than a story in an Italian American magazine published in the 1920’s.

    By the way, I’ve spent time in a number of countries, among them quite a while in Italy. I’ve never encountered anyone less interested in other people’s food that Italians. Whatever significance this story has should be evaluated in light of that.

  43. Asterix says:

    The wonderful thing about food is that it’s a gloriously civilized system of sharing the things that are special between peoples.

    After all, French haute cuisine owes its beginnings to that alien, Catherine di Medici.

    The thought of London without Indian restaurants sets my stomach to turning…

  44. CSStrowbridge says:

    I can see the drive to eat locally, but a ban of ‘ethnic’ foods is crazy.

  45. John says:

    Any country that elected that baffoon, Silvio Berlusconi, to three terms in office has some serious issues. With regards to racism in particular, Italians have traditionally gotten away with a lot of “bad behavior” that would’ve been headline news in any other Western country. When we talk about neo-nazis and white supremacy, everyone thinks of the usual suspects (American, Australian, British, German, Russian, and South African groups). But we typically ignore the fascists in Italy, even though the racist ideology of those groups aren’t terribly different from their counterparts in Northern Europe. Maybe this will be a wake up call.

  46. GarySFBCN says:

    Given that racism is out of control in Europe, this is not surprising at all. And the Italians eat fucking Italian food every day. No variety.

  47. slappymagoo says:

    FWIW, I agree to a degree, inasmuch that if these “ethnic” restaurants can make their dishes with local ingredients, they should at least try to shop locally. But that’s it. The idea that locals should be punished for enjoying foods beyond local fare is ridiculous.

  48. RevDrBillyBob says:

    Does this include KFC ?

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