If there’s one thing a part from talking not to do in the British Library Reading Rooms, it’s grab your computer screen as your draw drops to the
floor desk. Which is precisely what I did when I saw the news about Eataly World. I was reading Slow Food: The Case for Taste, a bacchanal of Slow Food rhetoric, arguing against everything Disneyland and McDonalds. Arguing against Eataly world, though they didn’t know it at the time.
Eataly World is the newest venture from Oscar Farinetti, president of Eataly. It promises to be a fun filled romp through Italian food, aimed at getting the interested observer immersed in the often enigmatic world. Various sites have touted it as the Disneyland of Italian food. Does this sound like an oxymoron to you?
(image via 24emilia.com)
Although I believe Eataly can have a place in the international discussion on Italian food, I’m shocked by this decision. Eataly already promotes a lopsided idea of Italian food, shoving together myriad stereotypes with a hefty dose of breakfast cookies. The movement into overt entertainment highlights the sad truth of the endeavor: all they have to market is an identity. Why does food have to entertain us? Why can’t it just be what we eat?
I’m curious: what are your thoughts on Eataly World? I’m eagerly awaiting responses from Carlo Petrini (founder of Slow Food) and Umberto Eco. Eataly World should, if nothing else, be a semiotic feast.
Eataly World: yay or nay?