In Italy, food holds great importance, playing a vital role in the country’s identity. A heated argument has recently emerged concerning how carbonara pasta sauce should be prepared, sparking controversy among experts and the public alike.

Luca Cesari, a respected food historian from Bologna, received backlash online for presenting what he claimed to be the original carbonara recipe on Instagram. His version, different from the traditional mix of Italian pecorino cheese and cured pork cheek, included Swiss gruyere cheese, garlic, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Cesari defended his choice by referring to a recipe published nearly 70 years ago, aiming to demonstrate the recipe’s evolution. He remade the 1954 carbonara, the first featured in ‘Cucina Italiana’ magazine, stating it was not his fault if that was the recognized recipe then. Supported by Alberto Grandi, another historian challenging Italian culinary traditions, Cesari faced criticism labeled “gastronationalism.” This debate extends beyond carbonara to disapproved culinary changes like pasta with ketchup, pineapple on pizza, and the unspoken rule against ordering cappuccino post-lunch. Despite controversy, Cesari plans to create more culinary content, including a video exploring the historical Neapolitan pizza with clams from the 1800s.