Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wheat Woes Steam Italians

Nothing in the culinary universe shouts Italy as much as the national dish, pasta. The incredible edible history of pasta includes being a staple of the Italian diet providing gastronomical delight with legendary recipes that are rich pesto parts of family lore. Empires have risen from creating pasta or in a moment of inspiration, made and shattered while eating pasta. The culprit that is putting Italians in a vociferous bad mood is wheat. Expensive wheat is driving up the price of pasta into the exorbitant and extravagant range that has galvanized grassroots efforts by consumer groups to boycott that which Italians eat ten times more of than Brits, pasta.

An organized mass eat-something else occurred Thursday in Italy to demonstrate their displeasure with the skyrocketing price of pasta. Pasta was off the menu and the stoneware. Rotini, Cavatelli, Fettucine, Macheroni, Farfalle, Cencioni, Rigatoni, Fusili, Fioriettini, Ravioli, Trofie, Manicotti, Spaghetti, Tortellini are all verboten during the strike. It's enough to make many an Italian sob and sacrifice without a worthy meal.
By mid-afternoon it was claimed that up to 48 per cent of Italians had gone along with the strike, which is intended to put pressure on the government's watchdog on fair competition to launch a full investigation into price rises. Rosario Trefiletti, president of Federconsumatori, said: "In six sample cities, Milan, Rome, Naples, Bari, Catania and Palermo, between 12 and 48 per cent of people interviewed in major shopping centres said they did not intend buying pasta today."

Discover pasta in the wonderful book by William Black, Al Dente.

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