This one comes under the heading of “You gotta be %^$*&#n’ kidding me.
Today, in Rome, McDonald’s unveiled its newest creation-get this- the “McItaly Burger.” Believe it or not, it was endorsed by Italy’s Agricultural Minister Luca Zaia, complete with an official government seal of approval: “under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry”: the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for Italian culture. This,
coming from the country that birthed the Slow Food movement in 1986 (the championing of local, organic foods and home cooking).
The justification is that Italian farmers have been hit hard by the worldwide recession, and a burger that utilizes “local” Italian ingredients (Italian beef, asiago cheese and artichoke spread, an interesting combination) will help a sagging agricultural industry. Zaia claims this will put over $4.8 million into Italian farmer’s pockets and will “globalize the identity of Italian agriculture.” Critics question just how much money is finding its way to the farmers, vs. how much McDonald’s will benefit from this new spin on their processed burgers.
Sure, I champion the use of local ingredients and stimulating the economy. But, ummm…isn’t Italy’s agricultural identity already globalized? The world hasn’t yet heard of Procuitto di Parma, San Marzano tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella? How exactly is the McItaly burger going to be the diplomat of Italian products and cuisine?
What do you think- harmless economic stimulus plan or the the whoring of a culinary identity?