"Carbonaragate" Pasta Scandal Threatens Relationship Between France and Italy

"Carbonaragate" Pasta Scandal Threatens Relationship Between France and Italy

Noodles just might spark a new war in Europe, thanks to the bizarre #Carbonaragate case.

By Tamara Palmer

An international scandal is erupting this week over the unlikeliest of reasons: a noodle recipe. Italy obviously takes a lot of pride in its pasta, but it wasn't until a French website called Demotivateur posted a new variation on the Italian classic known as pasta carbonara that it became clear just how protective the country can be about its cuisine. Welcome to #Carbonaragate.

Demotivateur's carbonara recipe includes both techniques and ingredients that are terribly offensive to Italians. For one thing, it suggests that the dish be cooked all in one pot, resulting in guanciale (pork jowl bacon) that doesn't get fully cooked. The recipe also asks cooks to top the pasta with a raw egg instead of mixing the yolk into the pasta (so it can heat up a little); plus it includes creme fraiche as an ingredient, and, arguably worst of all, it specifies the wrong kind of noodles altogether.

And the fury was loud: Grub Street noted that Italian newspaper La Republica dedicated a whole page to the offense, while The Guardian reported that Demotivateur has a sponsored relationship with Italian pasta company Barilla, which is probably why the recipe mentions Barilla's farfalle noodles instead of the usual spaghetti. Barilla itself was quick to comment on the recipe, saying that it went "too far," and now Demotivateur has replaced the blasphemous recipe with a new one that calls for spaghetti.

In an age of food mashups and infinite remixes, one nation has made a bold declaration: Don't mess with tradition.

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