18 December 2006

Italian condiments

Every fast food restaurant in America has a counter with a varying array of condiments for their customers with which to coat their meal. Depending on the establishment these may include such items as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relishes, salt, pepper, steak sauce, soy sauce, barbeque sauce, spices, etc. Here in Italy there is a much narrower selection of condiments available: olive oil, apple/wine vinegar, basalmic vinegar , salt or pepper. That is it!

And with this meager selection I have only seen them available at train stations and highway service areas. In Italy you are expected to eat the food as it is presented, if it needed something else then the cook would have made it with something else. It is as if the cook is saying: “how dare you question how I have prepared the meal, my family has done it this way for centuries?!”

Personally I think the lack of condiments in Italy is a reflection of the quality of the food available: there is no need to cover the taste with something else, the food speaks for itself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Remindes me of a time when my now husband and I went to McDonald's in Verona. I was here on vacation at the time, before deciding to make the "big move". Anyways, wanted a Big Mac no onion, my now husband looks at me with face of like you want what? and says "sorry this is Italy, you have to take the food as it's served" and never heard of "custom ordered".