Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Buon appetito - or not

I'm sorry to return to blogging with such a lame little post here, but I've been quite busy with - among other things - the bureaucracy required for our move next year. I won't bore you with how I've spent weekends doing back taxes and tracking down and shifting documents among Naples, Rome, New York City and Montgomery County, Ohio in what I've endearingly termed "the paper chase." I'll soon be back with regular posts but, in the meantime, I leave you with some recent Italian food craziness.

This commercial cracks me up every time I see it. It features one of the chefs for Italy's national soccer team proposing "pane e Nutella" as the cornerstone of a healthy breakfast. Looks like they've got quite the gourmet operation there to feed Italy's campioni del mondo (world champions) yet they can't even whip up a proper breakfast?

Now I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of the highly processed hazelnut spread (the gourmet kinds with interesting flavors, such as chili pepper and ginger are another story, however), so you won't find me slathering it on bread in the mornings. But it seems that gazillions of Italian schoolchildren head off for a busy day of studies fueled on by the stuff. I'd hate to be the teacher in charge when they all start to come down from the collective sugar high.

Let me get this straight: we are meant to start the day with junk food and then (per the recommendation of one of the Italian government ministers) skip lunch altogether. I guess one is supposed to get by until dinner on caffè then?


KC said...

That ad makes me laugh every time I see it! Italy's breakfast of champions.

André Wegner said...

Nutella is also making commercials with the german soccer team.

Even though the testimonials are actual players.

I wonder if they do this in every country.

Katja said...

Interestingly, my students all claim to detest the stuff. I, on the other hand, am a big fan. In England, I wouldn't DREAM of having chocolate for breakfast, but for some reason it seems OK here.

J.Doe said...

Have a happy Thanksgiving and
good luck with all the paperwork involved in your move. My husband applied for a green card at the time of our move and the paperwork involved wasn't easy - topped with the fact that no 1 US consulate or embassy did the whole procedure(we moved in Jan 2006 so things might have changed since then)

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Michelle, I spent every spare moment of the last THREE MONTHS months before moving Europe to Australia physically sorting and shifting STUFF! Not paperwork, the material items, be prepared.

Chia back in Bologna said...

Nutella IS NOT junk food. Nutella is a way of life.
Chia (with a squirming baby on her knees who will be fed with nutella per merenda as her mama was --and none of us is fat or ill, anzi...;)

Mary said...

That ad makes me laugh too. There is nothing healthy about Nutella. And to think that Italians bad mouth an American breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Well the best thing about Nutella to me is that it often comes in jars reusable as drinking glasses. We don't generally eat it, but i bought some the other week which we have yet to open, as my daughter wanted the jar (it has disney cartoons on it). The advertising is funny though 'skim milk' and 'healthy nuts' on the wrapper but when you look at the ingredients - hmmm sugar first, then vegetable oil, nuts next at a paltry 13% then chocolate etc. Funny how Italians rave on about it then slag off peanut butter as the worst 'food' ever imaginable....

What annoys me are the olympic champions (who should know better!) promoting all that absolute junk kinder snacks etc under the guise of healthy breakfast foods for kids, and the cereals full of chocolate and sugar at wildy inflated prices. YUCK!

Good luck with all your paper chasing! Vanessa

Kataroma said...

Yeah it is funny how they promote junk like nutella or kinder snacks as 'healthy' food for kids because they're 'full of milk." Why can't Italian kids just drink a glass or bottle of milk instead? Or maybe eat some cheese or plain yoghurt? I also would worry that nutella is full of trans fats (not to mention sugar!)

We do feed nutella to our B&B guests though (with other options such as peanut butter and jam) and it's amazing how quickly it vanishes! People love it.

Valerie said...

They're also running ads in the US saying it is a wholesome way to start the day. I don't mind a cornetto with Nutella filling every now and then, but I never pretend it's wholesome! (Of course, bacon and eggs aren't exactly a light and healthy meal, either!)

Cath said...

I can't stand it but my picky 5 year old loves it so I am going to pretend that it is highly nutritious!

Michellanea said...

Yep, no Wheaties for them!

Must be part of a larger advertising campaign.

Maybe it's just me, but I've never liked sweets for breakfast. I see it as dessert food.

Sounds like not much has changed - I'm doing the Rome-to-Naples shuffle! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

I'm sooo not prepared. I keep saying "But we don't have anything but the clothes on our backs!" It's really not true but we aren't planning on taking any furniture. We aren't packrats, though we do have a few things accumulated here of sentimental value. Boh. We shall see...

I know, I know. Nutella is to Italian kids what peanut butter is to American kids (different taste, different uses but same nostalgia for it). I think just like with peanut butter, you can buy the healthy kind and you can buy the kind with all the additives and preservatives in it. When I'm in the U.S. now, I pretty much only buy all-natural peanut butter and can't stomach the processed stuff. Same with Nutella for me. But I still wouldn't eat it for breakfast.

I think the American approach to breakfast is better IN THEORY ("It's the most important meal of the day. Eat a balanced breakfast.") In practice, many Americans don't seem to follow that. What I find weird here is that I've been told repeatedly here things like "Kids need sugar for breakfast. It gives them energy." I find that really odd. Though you might see Americans eating Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast (gross - too sugary for me), I don't think anyone would try to say they were having a healthy breakfast because it was full of sugar.

Yes, the jars do make good glasses. And when they have specialty ones, they make good gifts to take home. I gave my soccer-loving niece a specialty jar full of Nutella from when they won the World Cup. Now I don't save them as I'm trying not to accumulate crap!

Again, I think that's the odd approach - trying to pass off Kinder or Nutella as ESSENTIAL breakfast food because it has some (powdered/processed) milk in it and sugar.

It's probably just me and my not being able to tolerate sugar in the morning but I could never hack a cornetto. I once found a place that sold brioche salate with fennel seeds on top. They were amazing. It's true that bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast do not make for a healthy breakfast (unless you are going out to work the fields or some kind manual labor where you will burn off tons of calories), but most Americans probably only do that on Saturdays and Sundays as a kind of brunch. At least that is how it was in my family. Most Americans probably know that is not healthy, and would not say that, say, an Egg McMuffin was a great, healthy breakfast. Or would they? Maybe I'm out of touch!

I wouldn't say I can't stand it. It's fine but I would eat it as a dessert and not at breakfast time. Though if I'm going to splurge on the calories, I'd sooner go for dark chocolate or something else I like better. I've worked so hard to get (most of) the baby weight off, that I'm certainly not going to blow it on Nutella.

Michellanea said...

Just for the record, I eat cereal for breakfast - usually Corn Flakes, Weetabix or Special K. Sometimes in the winter I'll eat oatmeal. If I'm especially hungry, I'll add a banana in there, but that's almost even too sweet for me. I really can't hack sweets usually until about noon.