Pasta Strike: Sciopero della Pasta

14 Sep

So, hey, am I the only one who missed the pasta strike yesterday? Really, folks. Have we nothing better to do with our time? Just when I thought the level of Italian striking couldn’t get any more ridiculous, I find out that September 13 was the day of the “sciopero della pasta.”

The increasing cost of grocery items is one of the things that periodically comes up around these parts as a headliner on the nightly news. My first few years here I thought that it must have something to do with the lira to euro conversion, but since then I’ve just kind of decided that consumer rights and increases to grocery products make for big news every once in a while. Don’t ask me to explain it. I’m not trying to say grocery shopping is cheap here. But these reports can just as easily be followed by an in-depth interview with the latest “velina” showgirl, so let’s just say I don’t take the Italian nightly news all that seriously.

Anyhoo, for the last few weeks or so, the news has been peppered with dire warnings of how we won’t be able to afford anything in the grocery store anymore. A friend of mine was reading an article in Il Messaggero this weekend that was a full-page investigation of the places to find the best deals in grocery stores. And I quote from memory, “Our investigation found that Coop Supermarket had the cheapest toilet paper. At €2 a package, it was a never before seen low price.” (Actually I don’t remember if it was exactly €2, but you get the idea. They study this stuff.) Please join me in a collective sigh of relief.

The pasta strike was organized by a whole slew of consumer organizations: Adoc, Adusbef, Codacons, Federconsumatori and Coldiretti. Whew! That’s a lot of support for the no-pasta-for-a-day movement!

Apparently, in order to protest price increases, people were supposed to not shop at grocery stores in general, or at the very least try to avoid any product that uses grain (since apparently the grain price increases have been the most significant), and especially not buy dried pasta. Specific examples given in this article were that a 1 kg. package of penne pasta has gone from 90 cents to 1,10 (a 22% increase) and spaghetti has gone from 90 cents to a whopping 1,14 (27%). Isn’t this what we would call a boycott? Maybe it’s all the same thing in the end. I don’t think anyone got a free day off of work for the pasta strike, although you never can be too sure.

Ohhhh, now it’s all making sense. While walking downtown yesterday, I saw a bunch of yellow-coated Coldiretti people milling around among their yellow flags in front of the Parliament, with three or four policemen gazing on in amusement in case of any untoward violence (like throwing spaghetti or something?). So THAT’S what that was all about. The pasta strike!

So, Jeffy, listen up! You’ve been on that search for a day without pasta, right? Well, sorry to say… looks like you just missed it. Maybe next year.


17 Responses to “Pasta Strike: Sciopero della Pasta”

  1. nyc/caribbean ragazza September 14, 2007 at 11:39 am #

    was the strike successful?

    maybe I could start one against celebs who think tiny dogs are accessories.

  2. Shelley, At Home in Rome September 14, 2007 at 11:41 am #

    NYC: That’s an excellent question. If anyone knows how to tell if any Italian strike is ever successful, I would love to get in on the secret!

  3. sognatrice September 14, 2007 at 1:00 pm #

    Well *we* certainly didn’t buy or eat pasta yesterday–I had pledged to do so when I wrote about this at my place:

    STRIKE! Drop the tagliatelle & no one will get hurt

  4. Buda Baby September 14, 2007 at 1:18 pm #

    You see? Ask for inspiration and Italy delivers. πŸ™‚

  5. Giulia September 14, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    Well, we ate pasta yesterday (pennette all’arrabbiata, YUM) but not because we were against the strike… but because I simply forgot about the whole strike deal. I had stocked up on pasta after reading Michelle’s post anyway, so it was already in my pantry! πŸ™‚

  6. Elizabeth September 14, 2007 at 2:08 pm #

    My husband came back from the Marche with three huge boxes of pasta straight from the factory, Rossi Tascioni pasta — the best! So we will not worry about increasing prices for a while. My 18 year old cannot get through a day without pasta, even twice. I picked up a magazine yesterday with an article on the rising price of coffee which could go up to one euro!! Help, I can’t deal with a coffee strike (until I have had my morning coffee).

  7. kataroma September 14, 2007 at 2:25 pm #

    Well, if groceries are so expensive how come I only ever seem to see foreigners shopping at my favorite budget supermarket, Tuo Di? It seems like a lot of Italians turn up their noses but Tuo Di really isn’t that bad. Really cheap fruit and veg (although it’s cheaper and better at Piazza Vittorio but I can only go there on Saturdays), cheap cans of tomatoes (30 cents a can), cheap own brand pasta, cheap cleaning products, Dutch cheese and buffalo mozzarella for cheap and they even have basmati rice! And they sell Dutch beer (3 horses)- in fact, it comes from my boyfriend’s home province and he worked at the factory one summer in high school. πŸ™‚

    I dunno – it’s hard to shed too many tears for people who insist of shopping at Conad and buying only De Cecco brand pasta.

  8. Jeff September 14, 2007 at 4:31 pm #

    I broke the picket lines and had pasta. Hey the caffeteria at work had already cooked it so it just would have gone to waste!! It was tagliatelle too and good!! I have to wear a napkin bib to keep it from getting my shirt dirty. One of these days I’ll have a day without pasta…. but not anytime soon.


  9. qualcosa di bello September 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm #

    i am imagining all the pasta violence! in solidarity (actually, in forgetfulness!!) i did forgo pasta too πŸ™‚

  10. Susan from Food Blogga September 14, 2007 at 8:57 pm #

    When I first heard about it, I thought it was a prank! There must have been a lot arguments over what to cook for dinner last night.

  11. Rachael September 15, 2007 at 5:30 am #

    It was all over the news here in Vancouver.

  12. Virginia September 15, 2007 at 5:37 pm #

    Hello, I was reading the post about “Arnold” but I can’t leave comments there so I hope You don’t mind if I write here.

    I was also interested about the stencils, so I found the author (I Guess):

    About the “sigla” I can’t remember the italian version, I’ve always heard the original one also on canale 5

  13. Kit September 15, 2007 at 8:56 pm #

    So it’s not just here in South Africa that grocery prices are soaring? That doesn’t feel as reassuring as it ought to be!

  14. Cyn September 17, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    I’m such a bad expat, I didn’t even know it was pasta strike day. Guess I’ll catch it next time! heheheh!


  15. jessica September 17, 2007 at 11:49 am #

    when i saw it on the news here in ny i was not sure if it was a joke. it was presented humorously.

  16. Leanne September 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm #

    I must admit that I was aware of the pasta stike, but I must also admit to buying pasta on that day. In the little supermarket here in Taormina, the pasta was exceptionally cheap…perhaps here in Sicily they got confused and thought the price was meant to be going down?

  17. Leanne September 17, 2007 at 3:19 pm #

    cont..I did however buy a few packs at this cheap price as the supermarket will catch on sooner then later.

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