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Forbidden noodles

My obsession with food-based taxonomy continues. Here are all the forbidden noodles I am aware of:

Bucatini

The FDA banning the import of this beloved pasta was one of the many tragedies 2020 visited on us. If there is any consolation, know that the De Cecco pasta factories have been cranked into high gear to make up for the loss.

Stroncatura

This black market pasta made from floor sweepings was coveted for its price, sauce-adhering qualities, and a unique, sour taste. Nowadays its production is regulated, meaning you can enjoy it without having to worry about things like ingesting industrial waste.

Ramen

Another black market dish. After World War Ⅱ, American occupying forces maintained Japan’s wartime ban on outdoor food vending as a measure to control rationing. Flour was secretly diverted from milling companies to largely Yakuza-owned private restaurants for the purpose of making ramen noodles.

Eventually restrictions were loosened on flour, but not before thousands of illicit ramen vendors were arrested. These vendors operated as an essential source of food, as government food distribution systems were operating nearly three weeks behind schedule.

Pasta made by medieval Italian bakers, or pasta made by a competitor that was sold less than 25 yards away

In medieval Italy, pasta was considered a luxury and was mainly produced in bulk in special shops. The people who produced this pasta came to be known as the vermicellaio, or the pasta guilds. Many bakers, who also had access to the resources needed to produce pasta, also did so on a smaller scale to supplement their income.

In the mid 1500s the vermicellaio decreed that only its guild could sell pasta. Bakers rebelled against this, causing centuries of conflict. In 1609, Pope Paul V intervened in the conflict, issuing a holy edict compelling bakers to join the vermicellaio in order to sell pasta, on pain of fine and whipping.

Bakers initially rebelled but eventually capitulated. The subsequent success of the vermicellaio lead to a second papal edict, one which required 25 yards between each pasta-selling shop.

Pasta served at Buonanotte

The pasta itself is not forbidden, but the word on the menu to sell it is.

The Office Québécois de la Langue Française issued a citation against the Quebec restaurant, saying that the terms “pasta” and “bottiglia” written on their menu should have used their French equivalents. The Office is tasked with protecting French language within Quebec.

Strozzapreti

The name of this hangman’s knot-shaped pasta translates to “priest-stranglers.” It is a large, sticky, pasta whose twisted, curled shapes aids in capturing sauce.

Strozzapreti was produced by uttering curses into each twist of the dough, hoping for death by choking when consumed. Producing the knot shape was an equally grim act, a pantomime of strangling a member of the clergy.

The reason for this extreme behavior is a well-founded one. In the Catholic-controlled Italy of the 1600s, the church heavily taxed the population, as well as forcing the sale of indulgences to remove sin. Priests operated like feudal lords, and took from the populace without compensation, including demanding both food and shelter at the host’s expense while traveling to Rome.

Rigatoni con la pajata

This dish was banned in Italy, following the 2001 outbreak of Mad Cow Disease. Rigatoni con la pajata, or pajata for short, is a dish featuring the cooked intestines of milk-fed veal. During the ban, lamb was substituted for beef. In 2015 the ban was lifted and beef was reintroduced.

Wheat-based pasta in Italy under the rule of Benito Mussolini

In 1930, Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti decried wheat-based pasta as a “passéist food” that made people “heavy, brutish, skeptical, slow, and pessimistic.” In its place he suggested using rice.

Marinetti was initially closely associated with Benito Mussolini due to their shared interest in Futurist theory. Although they later went separate ways, Mussolini invoked a Marinetti-influenced wheat-based pasta ban to remove Italy’s dependence on wheat imports and promote domestically-produced rice.

The criticism and ban was met with global public outcry. The 1930s were also a tumultuous decade for Italy, leading to food shortages. The Futurist view—and the wheat ban—were soon forgotten.

Orecchiette pasta made in Bari, Italy

Many women in Bari, Italy make pasta as a way to generate income. While selling individual servings of pasta is legal, producing it in bulk without the proper licensure is not. Regardless, many sell pasta in bulk off-the-books as a way to avoid paying taxes and fees.

Kristi D’s pasta

The members of the Rate My Plate Facebook group collectively recoiled at a submission by a user named Kristi D. Her entry, “classic pasta and gravy,” crossed an unspoken line. Shock and outrage were voiced, including a call for her to be banned from entering Italy.

Any spaghetti you cut in half

C’mon. Don’t do that.