That Time Italy Tried To Ban Pasta
During the 1930s, Italian futurists would somewhat foreshadow our current “Instagram of Health” existence by proclaiming loudly to anyone within earshot that pasta was just, like, the worst. They didn’t simply lean on the “carbs are bad” science like many nutritionists do today. No, like most fanatics who knee-jerk to hysteria to get their propaganda across, they insisted that Italy’s most beloved food staple was making Italians “brutish, skeptical, slow, and pessimistic.”
And when we say ‘they,’ we’re of course talking about people who aligned themselves with the nationalistic ideas of Mussolini.
See, the Italian dictator was unhappy with the fact that Italy was reliant on imported wheat to satisfy its pasta diet, and since rice was way easier to cultivate domestically than wheat, Mussolini and his fellow nationalists started spreading their anti-pasta rhetoric. In the late 20s, the totally-ate-pasta-in-secret Prime Minister established a National Rice Board and even implemented a National Rice Day to get the people of Italy to swap their lasagnas for rice-centered meals instead. So ... paella, we guess.
The Futurist movement — who wanted to turn away from outdated processes and embrace a technological future — tried to align themselves with Mussolini’s ideas. It was the founder and writer of this movement and its manifesto, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who claimed that pasta turned people into dimwitted brutes because everyone knows that the only way to get people to agree with you and join your cause is by insulting them.
Marinetti was also the co-author of the Fascist Manifesto and had a hot-cold relationship with Mussolini, so it wasn’t too surprising that they both agreed on the point that Italians should only eat food made in Italy by Italian people. However, the way Marinetti went about it was as dramatic as an insensitive celebrity crying “canceled!” In his Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine — because boy, did Marinetti love writing manifestos — the dude claimed that pasta was like an absurd religion to Italians and that those who enjoyed pasta were “shackled by its ball and chain like convicted lifers or its ruins in their stomachs like archaeologists.”
Not only did most people decry this absurd plight to cancel macaroni, but given that it was the 1930s, the Italian people soon had … other things to worry about. Heck, by the end of the decade, they were probably just glad to have any food at the dinner table.
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