I was born in Italy and I have been living in Vancouver, Canada for the last 10 years. I love Vancouver and I love eating out in Vancouver, but I can’t help but notice the many distortions of Italian dishes on restaurants menus.
For some reason that I don’t understand, in Vancouver Italian food is almost as common to find as it is to find sushi. And it isn’t just because of the many (more or less authentic) Italian restaurants, west coast restaurants, and even chains often like to feature Italian dishes as part of their regular menus.
If on one hand, I’m flattered for all this attention, on the other hand, I’m seriously worried that the authentic Italian cuisine might get undermined by all these unsuccessful imitations; that people will either decide that they don’t like Italian food or -worse- that they like the imitation better than the real thing, and would turn the latter away. Frightening!
Even just on spelling and pronunciation, I understand that some Italian words will get Americanized (e.g. ‘Parmesan’ cheese), but I don’t understand why people can’t do an Italian spell check or even just a Google search before printing out their menus (it’s ‘focaccia’, not ‘foccacia’!) Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive to the issue because Italians don’t make many spelling mistakes (the Italian language is written pretty much exactly like it’s pronounced), but this makes Italian spelling mistakes stand out even more.
In this blog, I’m very pretentiously trying to fix the problem. I will say the proper ways to write the names of Italian dishes. And, from what I know, I will also try to say how the dish should look and taste… for sure I will say how the dish most definitely *shouldn’t* look or taste 🙂
5 thoughts on “Preface”
I don't think you're hyper-sensitive on the topic: food is an important part of popular culture, and as culture it can be changed, little by little, producing something new. On the other hand, culture shall be also preserved for the sake of knowledge itself, and to be preserved, rigorousness is essential.
Through food you experience a country. It may seems silly, but food is important as language and mentality of a nation. So, it's good to keep all these components together, even if you're just willing to eat.
Good luck with this blog 🙂
Just found this blog, and quite enjoyed the articles you have so far.
As I'm also living in Vancouver (but a native Canadian), it would be great to hear what you do recommend as a good Italian restaurant – if only certain dishes/drinks/etc. It would be great to find the most authentic restaurants in this city.
Heck, you could even turn into an Italian food critic maybe. 😉
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the comments! As for restaurant recommendations in Vancouver, I've only tried a few (since I enjoy cooking and my cooking is Italian, when I go out it's more likely for sushi!) I had a very good meal at Amarcord, liked Poor Italian, liked Nook for pizza, wasn't too impressed with Trattoria Italian Kitchen.
Sean just passed on your blog to me and it is great. I have to say I have committed more than one of the 'offences' you have listed but look forward to improving my italian cooking skills through your blog.
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