Aug 2, 2009
It started in Lucca this week, when the town council banned any new ethnic food outlets from opening within the walls of the medieval city. And it quickly spread to Milan: a ban on ethnic foods, meaning foods that are not Italian. The Northern League party wants to protect regional specialties from the encroaching popularity of ethnic cuisines, like egg rolls and kebabs.
The Italian Minister of Agriculture, Luca Zaia, applauded the restrictions, saying ethnic restaurants should "stop importing container loads of meat and fish from who knows where" and use only Italian ingredients. Asked if he had ever tried a kebab, Mr. Zaia said no: "I prefer the dishes of my native Veneto. I even refuse to eat pineapple."
Is it gastronomic racism, or a legitimate attempt to preserve authentic Italian cuisine?