Feature

Forced to discover Italian cuisine

Rice-loving West Africans have discovered pasta, said Massimo Alberizzi in the Milan Corriere della Sera. Since the price of their staple grain has soared worldwide, shoppers in Liberia and other West African countries are reluctantly experimenting with a

Massimo AlberizziCorriere della Sera (Italy)

Rice-loving West Africans have discovered pasta, said Massimo Alberizzi in the Milan Corriere della Sera. Since the price of their staple grain has soared worldwide, shoppers in Liberia and other West African countries are reluctantly experimenting with an exotic foreign food: spaghetti. The way they prepare it, though, you’d never confuse it with an Italian dish. The spaghetti Bolognese offered at one typical restaurant in Monrovia, for example, “bore no discernible relationship to Bologna,” being highly spiced with a profusion of peppers far hotter than any used in Italy and chopped up into small pieces, so it could be eaten with just a spoon. And you can forget about “finding any pasta cooked al dente”—the Africans want it mushy. Even so, most Liberians say they are only trying the new dishes at all because they can’t afford not to. A plate of pasta costs about $1 these days, while a plate of rice goes for three times that. The irony is, Italy is not the country benefiting from the switch to pasta. Turns out, most of the pasta consumed in Africa “is imported from the U.S.!”

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