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Food Wars

Food Wars

May the force be with you’, and it’s not Anakin Skywalker who possesses it, but it looks like you’d rather find it in old grandma’s cooking book. Dishes seem to have historically had the power not only to feed hungry stomachs and greedy souls, but also to beget monstrous diplomatic disharmonies. Not that it necessarily came to weapon-like conflicts, but still enough on the plate to leaven in a sourdough of cultural schisms.

Examples of countries arguing about the property of recipes can be found without ado, most of them never-ending stories. New Zealand and Australia don’t only quarrel on the rugby pitch, but also in the kitchen, about who should inherit the ‘pavlova’, a meringue dessert named after Russian Anna Pavlova and her ballet tour of the 1920’s in the Southern Hemisphere. Then South Korea and Japan challenge the ownership of ‘kimchi’, a spicy pickled vegetables dish. Slovenia and Austria dispute over the ‘klobasa’, a bratwurst-comparable sausage beloved at football matches half times. And examples are to be found in a lot of neighbouring countries.

Or even within countries, which adds tension to the drama, especially if in Italy. Seeing Italians come to verbal or moral altercations isn’t a novum, but them donnybrooking a national symbol might look like a surprise. The cold-to-be-served Tiramisu has landed in the middle of a heated debate about which region has actually invented it. The Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia pretends it to be theirs, as a certain donna Pielli, hotel owner, cooked it for her guests about half a century ago. But the same claims the nextstanding Regione Veneto. Spread over roughly 26000 square kilometers, the two regions cannot come to terms about whose piece of the cake should be bigger.

The fairytale-alike Venice enjoys more glamour, casting a shadow over Friulians, who did not miss the opportunity, back in July, to name the Tiramisu on the Register of Prodotti Agroalimentari Tradizionali. Leave tourism and movies to the Venetians, but at least demand some of your own rights. Through this chess-wise move, the Friulians, having moved first on the checker board of gastronomy, have extolled themselves as finders of the dessert, which did not leave a good impression with their neighbours, who have termed the number pulled by the Friulians as a disgrace and have called Rome to step in and present an official position, since Tiramisu is a symbol all over the Peninsula. The Governo has used weasel words to answer that it will have a look according to laws in force. How fast that will happen is uncertain and Venice might now weep at its lack of action as they might have been the ones to move first. Had this been the case, however, Friuli Venezia Giulia would almost certain have counter-attacked, so no way out of a dispute around a contest for the country’s favourite sweet. L'Italia al suo meglio. For the moment being, while still waiting for a resolution from Rome, the Friulians and the Venetians cannot but simply wait and share the national pride with the rest of the country: a true Italian story, as Tiramisu has been deemed.



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