Italians rank 11 top food crimes against their cuisine

Italians speak up over 'crimes' committed against their national cuisine around the world.

Italy may be celebrated for its cuisine around the world but it turns out that the world is "doing Italian food all wrong", according to a new international survey.

Around 20,000 adults in 17 countries were asked their views on various cooking techniques or eating habits based on 19 ways in which foreigners have been accused of mistreating Italian food.

Italy was among the nations included in the survey, undertaken by the UK-based market research and data analytics firm YouGov, whose results were published on Thursday.

The news comes days after The Guardian published a Nigella Lawson recipe for Spaghetti with Marmite and almost a year since the infamous Smoky Tomato Carbonara recipe appeared in The New York Times.

Some Italians are even still reeling over Gordon Ramsey's 'nightmare' carbonara from two years ago. But now they have had a chance to set the record straight on the Dos and Don'ts of Italian cuisine.

Respondents were asked a simple question: "Please say whether you think it is acceptable or unacceptable to do each of the following things when cooking or eating Italian food."

Italians didn't have too much problem with four out of the 19 on the list, including eating pizza for lunch or eating meatballs with spaghetti.

Another four on the list were decidedly less acceptable and came into borderline territory, including snapping dry spaghetti before boiling it, putting oil into the water the pasta is being cooked in, and putting sauce on top of plain pasta served on a plate.

However there were 11 culinary habits on the list that Italians judged to be an outright offence to their national cuisine.

1. Putting ketchup on pasta is by far the worst crime on the list for Italians, with a disapproval rating of -82.

2. Putting pasta in cold water and then boiling it also upsets Italians deeply, and comes in second-worst place with a score of -71.

3. Pineapple on a pizza - famously a big no-no in Italy - this was given a -63 rating by Italians.

4. Pasta as a side dish is the fourth most offensive item on the list for Italians, with a score of -55.

5. Cutting long pasta gets the thumb down from Italy, scoring -46 in the survey.

6. Cream in carbonara sauce, not as heinous as ketchup on pasta, but not great either, scoring -45.

7. Cheese on top of seafood pasta, not the done thing at all in Italy, with a score of -39.

8. Rinsing or cooling off cooked pasta under cold water, not acceptable for Italians, -23 rating.

9. Drinking cappuccino after a meal, a common "faux pas" for tourists in Italy where it is generally not consumed after mid-morning. Score -23.

10. Not adding salt to boiling pasta is a lesser culinary crime for Italians, but still unacceptable with a ranking of -17.

11. Garlic bread with pasta is the least unacceptable in the 11 food crimes for Italians, scoring -14.

Although all eyes were on how the Italians responded, the survey gave an insight into international attitudes to Italian cuisine.

For example: ketchup on pasta got a +71 approval rating in Denmark; pineapple on pizza got +72 in Australia; and cream in a carbonara sauce obtained +72 result in France.

The study also found changing generational attitudes among Italians, with the 18-24 age group not too bothered about people drinking cappuccino after a meal (+24) compared to a -36 unacceptable ranking from the over-55s.

The full results of the survey can be found here.