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When in Rome...

Cat Cora explores the differences between Italian and Italian-American cuisine.

By Cat Cora

It's fair to say that this week the contestants are more out of their comfort zone than ever. You can see that the travel and rapid pace of the show are starting to take their toll on them. And both teams seemed confident in their abilities to make real Italian dishes. Everyone knows how to cook Italian food, right? Wrong. Americans know about Italian-American cooking, which has evolved into something different. Real Italian cooking is based on recipes and know-how that have been passed from generation to generation.

The Black Team busted their butts to win The Course but didn't have the patience to learn from Nonna Nara. Curtis and I were shocked. There are a few international languages and food is one of them. All they had to do was watch her cook and they would have learned so much -- not just as contestants, but as professional chefs. They would also have learned that Ribollita is a vegetarian dish and that adding prosciutto would have offended the locals. And it did. 

But they were in luck. The Red Team's missteps with the gnocchi and the antipasti earned them even more criticism from the locals. Note to self: when in Rome...

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