English food is different from Italian food and there are nice dishes in the English cuisine such as meat pies and fish n’ chips but, when it comes to Italian food, I cannot admit contaminations…
Italian food is always very much appreciated here even though it is often not very traditional or, at times, not even close to the original recipe.
The first distortion I noticed when I first arrived in England was putting ketchup on pasta.
In Italy, we usually cook pasta with tomato and basil so we get the colours of our flag and maintain our tradition.
Putting ketchup on pasta (with that sweet aftertaste) is just wrong!
When it comes to Italian pasta in England, among the revisited dishes an emblematic case is that of Carbonara, the most cooked and modified specialty ever.
If in the authentic version it is made with egg yolk, pecorino cheese, parmesan and bacon, here in London it has been unduly enriched with cream, onion, parsley, bechamel and zucchini.
UK Carbonara with chicken
Another habit I have noticed here in the United Kingdom is to drink cappuccino with the main course or after a good meal but in Italy cappuccino is only to be drunk in the morning with breakfast (not even in the afternoon).
I thought that Fettuccine Alfredo were purely an American invention but they are popular here too and I must break it to you: “Who’s Alfredo?”
Italian people don’t know this dish but abroad they are synonymous of Italian food.
It is an American invention and it’s a creamy and buttery sauce made with thickened cheese and a spoonful of starch.
Another wrong way to have pasta is pasta with chicken chunks.
In Italy pasta and chicken have never met since pasta is neither cooked with chicken nor used as a side dish like I have seen here in London.
Hawaiian pizza has pineapple and ham toppings and it is available in all Italian restaurants that claim to serve 100% Italian food but I have my doubts because our original Italian pizza comes from Naples and it's only tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil (again to recall the colour of the flag).
Italian pasta – not so Italian
Nowadays we offer many toppings on pizza but you’ll never see beef, chicken or pineapple on pizza as you see here.
Another non-Italian/Italian specialty is the chicken parmigiana.
The chicken parmigiana is a mutant between the aubergine parmigiana and the Italian cutlet.
In England, mozzarella is replaced by bechamel and parmesan is replaced by cheddar so the result is nothing close to the Italian parmigiana.
I think the prize for monstrosity goes to the Tikka-Lasagna.
This is a masterpiece, because it manages to ‘improve’ not one but two dishes, which actually enjoy a fairly undeserved reputation, and taken in themselves are a bit insane.
Italian lasagna and Indian chicken Tikka.
It really exists here in England and it even comes in its frozen version.
And to make things even worse (of course I’m joking and exaggerating) after Brexit was applied we saw an increase in prices of Italian imported products of almost 50% and the assortment and quantity have been reduced.
The difficulties had been expected and foreseen with border controls and slowdowns for trucks and trains and they have caused Italian food exports to collapse by almost 40%.
I used to buy Italian cheese and other goodies at the covered Farmer’s Market but now they are rare.
An even more worrying chapter is that concerning counterfeiting of Italian products.
Among the products most subject to counterfeiting are parmesan cheese, wine, cold cuts and preserves.