In 1986 McDonald’s announced it would raise its golden arches in Rome, next to the Spanish Steps. The global purveyor trumpeted its arrival with the slogan, One taste, worldwide.Those familiar with the Italian penchant for claiming regional supremacy (which dates at least to the fierce competition between medieval city-states) know that telling an Italian he should adopt the culture of an upstart outsider is probably not the best approach. The proposal fired up the activist Carlo Petrini like logs in a brick oven, and he assailed the burger giant with combative questions. “Why should an Eskimo eat the same food as an Ethiopian? What will happen to the neighborhood trattoria? Food is as important as language, why destroy our heritage?” He railed and rallied against the homogenizing of cuisine and cultural identity, and three years later Slow Food was born.
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