Friday Quiz: The Origins of Carbonara (January 13, 2006)
What are the origins of the classic pasta dish of Rome, Carbonara?
A.According to the definitive cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan: "An Italian food historian claims that during the last days of World War II, American soldiers in Rome who had made friends with local families would bring them eggs and bacon and ask them to turn them into a pasta sauce. The historian notwithstanding, how those classic American ingredients, bacon and eggs, came to be transformed into cabornara has not really been established, but there is no doubting the earthy flavor of the sauce: it is unmistakably Roman."
Yes, but how else would bacon and eggs have entered Roman cuisine if not for the GIs? That sounds definitive enough for non-academics. Carbonara sounds so much better than "bacon and eggs and pasta," doesn't it?
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