Italians won’t eat ‘smooth’ pasta. Westerners won’t eat Chinese food. Coronavirus panic spreads to culinary preferences
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but in Italy the coronavirus pandemic has seemingly not been enough to force people to eat ‘penne lisce’ — a smooth variety of pasta without ridges which does not hold onto the sauce as well.
Photos quickly appeared on social media showing empty shelves — except for stacked boxes of the much-hated penne lisce. Even the “apocalypse” won’t make Italians eat smooth pasta, one person on Twitter wrote. Another commented that their panicked mother was so frenzied by the situation that she (mistakenly) bought the smooth version.
Current situation in Italy. We are *this close* to start eating penne lisce. https://t.co/eM8umYfM5k— Andrea Mezzotero (@andreamez) March 6, 2020
The pasta discrimination even prompted some Italians to set up a Facebook page titled the ‘National Body for the Protection of Smooth Penne’ — in an attempt to encourage their fellow citizens to set aside their usual culinary preferences at a time of crisis.
Basically now that Italians are panicking for coronavirus they’re buying everything from the shelves except for penne lisce (smooth) and it’s funny because even when we’re panicking we avoid them lmao pic.twitter.com/tAB1JzR2pU— ♡ pen ♡ (@jeonghanspen) March 10, 2020
Indeed, food choices in the coronavirus age have become somewhat political, with many Westerners quickly shunning Chinese restaurants out of fear, given the fact that the Covid-19 virus first originated in China.
“Chinese restaurants in the US are emptier than ever,” one NBC Today headline read. Some Chinese restaurants are even scrambling to introduce new delivery services for people who would still eat the food, but don’t want to be mingling with large groups in confined public spaces.Also on rt.com Italy to shutter ALL businesses besides pharmacies & grocery stores as coronavirus outbreak continues to spread
Curiously, the same fear has not been noticed to the same degree (yet) with Italian cuisine like pizza, leading to suggestions that the decisions are inherently“racist.”
“I literally work at a Italian pizza shop and not a SINGLE person has stopped eating there,” one Twitter user commented, adding that at the same time, the local Chinese restaurant had suffered.
y’all avoiding Chinese food places but now i wanna see you stop eating pizza since Italy’s infected numbers are rising more than any other country 🙂— yash (@arcothesis) March 11, 2020
“Italy is now the most infected country outside of China but you can guarantee that people won’t be avoiding pizza the same way they did with Chinese food,” another said.
But, is it true? In fact, it may not be long until Italian restaurants experience their own coronavirus-related downturn.
A study by Chef's Pencil using Google Trends found that worldwide interest in both Chinese and Italian food had dropped dramatically in recent weeks — with interest in Chinese dipping 37 percent to Italian food's 24 percent.
Canada’s Star newspaper reported that Italian restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area are losing bookings, seeing fewer walk-ins and are bracing for a downturn in business — though it still looks like ultimately Chow Mein will take a bigger hit than Pizza.
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