American vs Italian Cuisine

When talking about Italian and American cuisine, it’s common to compare them, and as Italians, it’s a common practice to think that American cuisine that imitates Italian cuisine is actually a clumsy reproduction of our traditional dishes.

But did you know that Italian cuisine actually owes a lot to America? For example, let’s analyze a typical dish that comes to mind when we think of Italian pasta: Carbonara.

Although one of the most widely accepted hypotheses about the origin of this dish is that it was invented by coal miners who, in the 19th century, went to the Apennines to prepare coal from wood, the recipe is not mentioned in any cookbook of the time.

It was only in the 1950s that the first references to this dish appeared, which is more likely to date back to World War II, when American allies arrived in our country with their bacon.

As also hypothesized by Marco Guarnaschelli Gotti, author of the Great Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gastronomy, after the liberation of Rome, the lack of food was chronic and the rations of the Allied soldiers were one of the few sources of nutrition. They contained powdered eggs and bacon, which probably some cook put together to give rise to the first drafts of pasta alla carbonara, simply with what was available. Only later, thanks to the Italian ability to refine any recipe in the kitchen and turn simple ingredients into unique, envied and imitated dishes all over the world, did it become a dish that rightfully entered the tradition of the highest Italian cuisine, such as that found at Alto Ristorante in Fiorano modenese, with an idea of high-end dining linked to Italian tradition, to be enjoyed with respect for the times dedicated to Italian social gatherings.