Street Food in Bologna

2 Nov

Guess what this is?

Some obscure Italian food no doubt?

It’s a kebab.

No why on earth would you go all the way to Italy, and get a kebab? Especially given the wealth of Italian delicacies available all around.
Bear with me, and I’ll try to explain.

Piadina is a type of flat bread native to Bologna, and one at which I haven’t found anywhere else in Italy. its made with water salt and shortening, and is pretty tasty. You wrap things in it, be it savoury or sweet and then bake it. Intrigued, I googled for recommendations, and found one for “Cafe Jolly”, where they were apparently hand made.

Incidentally, I don’t know why hand made is such a green light me as I’ve made things with my hands that I wouldn’t put near my mouth in a hurry.. My handmade pasta could equally be described be described as “artisanal edible cardboard”
I think it appeals to the idea that traditional is better. It harks back to the same idea as the use of the phrase “my mothers original recipe”. Now I have eaten the cooking of people I know to be mothers, and believe me, it’s not a guarantee of quality.
When I finally found it, I stopped. It was a kebab shop. I paused momentarily, unsure whether to go in. Yet there was Piadina on the menu, so I decided that i would try it.

If I am honest, I realised that I had got a little caught up in running around trying to eat the best food I could find in each city, and forgotten that I wasn’t doing a project on where was good to eat in Europe, but people’s attitudes towards food.

And in a way, this was perfect example of that. Both the texture of the Piadina, which was light and crisp, but also the wider implications.(I realise that talking about the wider implications of a kebab seems strange, but bear with me).

It was a perfect example of how conservative the Italian attitude to food remains, as well as the depth of pride in Italian ingredients. In Britain if we want kebabs, we want authentic ones, with fluffy Naan bread and spicy meat. Italians want Italian products to be used, as Italian food is the best. Why use a pitta when you have a Piadina?

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2 Responses to “Street Food in Bologna”

  1. Brian November 2, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    Valid point well made re Italian attitude to food -Italian is best. We didn’t rate our own food in the past so more open to other ethnic foods maybe?

    • edcrowley November 4, 2010 at 10:03 am #

      I think its also the case that as a result of our empire building and status as a major trading post, we were subject to greater influence earlier. Even when British cooking was renowned throughout the world, so in the medieval times and indeed up till the Victorians to a certain extent, we still made use of other influences. OUr view on Tea is a good example of this magpie trait.

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