Monday, October 10, 2011

Word of the week- kebabbaro

Italians undeniably have one of the best cuisines of the world, so it took them a long time to warm up to non-Italian foods. Among the very first instances of a foreign culinary presence were Chinese restaurants, and I can remember back in the day (the 80's) when even Chinese food was hard to come by in Italy. Back in the day, it was hard even to get a decent hamburger.

No more. Along with the teeming hordes of immigrants, Italy now has a variety of ethnic offerings. Not so much as in the US or some European countries, but an interesting diversity. So much so that kebabbaro has entered into common parlance, for a place/person selling kebabs and other Middle Eastern goodies.

From time to time, some Italian local government forbids ethnic eateries within the city limits, as Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany did recently, with the justification that these businesses have nothing to do with the local culture. Hmmm- what if the whole world outside Italy forbade pizza and spaghetti? Quandaries of the multicultural society.

(in the photo, the Ali Baba' kebab shop in Rome)