I was just in Italy for work, and one thing that is super clear is that Italians do not take nicely to switching up a classic — or consuming things in the “wrong” order. For example, I was flatly refused a cappuccino after lunch because it was “bad for my stomach.” Italians are also not so secretive about their beliefs that Anglo-Saxon culture is pretty much the most depraved form of Western food culture. So I have to wonder: What they would think about Sainsbury’s suggestion to add instant coffee to bolognese pasta? That’s right; Mashable is reporting that the U.K. grocery store chain, Sainsbury’s, is suggesting people add instant coffee to their meat sauce as part of their #littletwists campaign. A quick search online shows that this is not an entirely new suggestion (this person says it helps to remove acidity from the tomatoes), but people on Twitter are up in arms nevertheless.
The reaction to this story reminds me of when Melissa Clark, of The New York Times, suggested putting peas in guacamole (people, including POTUS, went ballistic). Maybe this was all a misunderstanding, like that time Whole Foods put out an asparagus water and charged $6 for it? Nope. BuzzFeed managed to reach Cath Wilkins, head of consumer PR for food at Sainsbury’s, and she went on the record, saying: “It may sound unlikely, but it really works...The coffee adds a underlying depth of flavor that helps to balance the sweetness of the tomato-based ragu." Hmmm. Listen, I love to experiment in the kitchen, and I appreciate creative culinary thinking, but I am not so sure I'll be adding instant coffee to anything — not even hot water — anytime soon.