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Pre-Fabricated Italian Diet

19 Jul

There are plenty of great Rome food blogs, many of which are run by people I am very proud and humbled to call friends and acquaintances.

Alas, this is not one of them.

And so it is, without a shred of indignity, that I give you my latest supermarket discoveries and thus evidence to prove that Italians love convenience just as much as the next guy. No shame in my game. Call me on it, I’ll admit it. I’m your big-box Walmart with endless parking in a sea of Nordstrom blogs about Rome. It’s all good. Hell, I nearly killed myself last night carrying my daughter to bed by tripping over a round pillow strategically left by my son in front of his door when I was carrying her out. I hardly have time to shower, for the love of God! I’m a mess! And yet—yet. I care about my readers enough to be the asshat that takes a picture of this package in the dairy section of my corner supermarket:

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Proudly proclaiming “New,” it’s the folks at Buitoni giving us another reason to abandon the joys of homemade pasta, kneaded on Sunday from scratch. You know the type, where you put the big pile of flour on your counter and crack a few eggs in a welled-out space in the middle and presto-change-o, freshly made pasta! (I do, because my Roman ex-husband used to actually do this for fun, and we loved it. I bought him a little hand-cranked Imperia to make pasta and it was good times, let me tell you. Try it, honestly it’s not that hard.)

You know, you Americans across the pond might have your “Boboli Italian Breadshell,” but hey! Over here we’ve got Buitoni’s ready-to-make ravioli. Hell yeah, people! 16 pre-cut discs just waiting for you to stuff them into delicious oblivion. [Post-script: I get that these aren’t pre-made discs of pasta all’uovo to make in water. An astute reader pointed this out to me. I call them ravioli by mistake, referring to the fact that they’re mini. They are DOUGH to STUFF for cooking in the oven, a pan, or frying in oil. Aka CALZONI or PANZAROTTI. That being said, please put all your food corrections, observations, or upturned noses in the comments, as again, this is not a food blog therefore I am not qualified to debate the merits of different types of pasta).

Now, I’ll be honest with you. My kids wouldn’t touch the things. Preschoolers with a palate, Dio mio. Which means I ate like 10 of them. Threw my diet into a tailspin, yes indeedy! I don’t think Weight Watchers has this in their points system. Let it be said that I don’t recommend you try any of this at home. That’s why I’m here.

I do so love the package. It’s very DIY.

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Here it tells us that we can either make them into mini fried ravioli (like mini calzoni, really) and fry ’em up in a hot pan of oil for 2 minutes, or, perhaps more sensibly, bake them in the oven for 10 minutes. I made mine into those little gift bag-looking shapes. Really, all that was missing was a tomato-red ribbon tied around the top. Maybe that’s why my kids didn’t eat them.

And, who said we don’t have bacon over here? Move over bacon, here’s something leaner more Italian called fette di pancetta affumicata!

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This for me is rather epic. Since when do Italians sizzle some sliced bacon and serve it up on a plate next to a pair of fried eggs? Since, um, never, as far as I know. I found this randomly placed on top of a package of gnocchi. Like, someone had it in their cart and then had a last minute change of heart and just slyly threw it back in the dairy case on top of a random bag of gnocchi. *no one saw that!*

Now, here’s a kind of a weird yet fun thing that Coca-Cola has going on right now. Don’t ask me to explain it. They just think they’re cute by printing something like “Share your Coca-Cola with…” and then a name, or some cutesy phrase like “il tuo tesoro” – your sweetheart, etc.

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Personally, if they think that’s going to make me buy more Coca-Cola (they don’t say “Coke” around here), well then, they’re sorely mistaken. Because I’ll tell you what: I turned around every damn bottle in that there fridge and none—and by that I mean NOT A ONE—had the name “Shelley” on it. Humph! (Does anyone ever really use that word/phrase in real life, or is it just written to show haughty dismay? This is clearly a completely irrelevant side question. Discuss amongst yourselves.)

But folks, let’s be honest here. When it comes to pre-packaged “Mediterranean” foods, no one does convenience—or Italian stereotyping, for that matter—like the U.S. advertising industry.

Witness “hot sexy Italian man-chef” stereotype:

Witness “grown boy-man totally dominated by overbearing Italian mamma” stereotype:

Witness “Italian before the dawn of the P.C. era” advertising strategy: (and might I add here, oh dear God)

So, you know. We Americans love our Italian imports. Then again, let’s be fair. Bet y’all Americans out there didn’t know there’s this overblown Southern good ol’ boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee who became famous in ads over here in the 80s by hawking Lipton iced tea with an unbearably thick American accent in Italian? No, seriously. Italians asking me if I know all about the mythic Dan Peterson and I’m like, WHO THE FUCK is this Dan Peterson guy, and they look at me like I’ve been living under a rock my whole entire LIFE.

Ah, yes. Just stick with me, kids. I’ll teach you everything you need to know.

FE-NO-MI-NALE.

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6 Responses to “Pre-Fabricated Italian Diet”

  1. Nora July 19, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    They do this name-on-your-coke thing here too and it looks nonsense as it is in Italy.
    Even if, you know, you can share a coke with me, “Eleonora”! But, please, don’t. I’d rather have a glass of red italian wine, thanks.

    The bacon thing is hilarious. No way a true italian would eat eggs and bacon for breakfast, o lunch, or whatever.
    (I always knew I’m not a true italian for all the eggs and other non-conventional stuff I eat for breakfast).
    But I appreciate how they wrote “Without gluten” on it, just in the middle of nowhere, like someone told the packaging desgner to add it on the package at the last minute, just in case…

  2. Andrea Troiani July 19, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    You’re on fire at this time! (and you’re not a “FarciGusto”)
    One post a day!

    Coca cola section: you can take “michele” bottle and put a “L” close to the other.
    (there’s a bottle with my name on… I never found one of them once!)

  3. Un'americana a Roma July 19, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Good call on the Michele bottle! Andrea, you’re sneaky, because you remember my “real” name.

    Yeah sometimes I become very prolific. It kind of depends on what I’m seeing around and what lends itself most to my smart-ass commentary.

  4. Un'americana a Roma July 19, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    HAHAHAHA I know, that really made me laugh too, the “no gluten” part. I noticed that as well.

  5. Andrea Troiani July 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Andy, sneaky with the sneakers!
    Well, I’ll forget your real name if you want.

    About Dan Peterson: italian people should teaching you about him, not you to them. Because Dan is more famous here than USA.
    In any case Wiki can help everyone: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Peterson

    (ehm… how far we are from the “italian diet”?)

  6. Gil July 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Some of those ready made macaroni is pretty good. We had some ravioli made by Rana, imported from Italy, and it was delicious. I’m a fussy eater….

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