I know I’m supposed to only write about what I like or consider worth experiencing, but observing is in my blood and noticing
useless stuff meaningful details even more so. Therefore I really can’t help wondering about this explosion of little takeaways only devoted to potatoes, particularly fried potatoes. It began about a year ago, when I noticed the opening of two little, smelly shops offering chips in all varieties in the middle of the University area (one in Largo Respighi and one in Via San Vitale), oddly almost door to door to similarly newish veggy/vegan/organic little places.
In fact, this is what kind of amazes me: in a gastronomic era where everything seems to point towards healthy, clean, detox and cruelty-free food choices, this rise of a fried, fat-filled and not particularly healthy food appears rather discordant. And the reason why I am writing about it now is that the trend seems to be growing, with new similar shops opening in Via Irnerio, Via Nazario Sauro (actually this one’s offering baked potatoes instead of fried chips, but still), Via De’ Giudei, and so on.
Mind me: I am not complaining nor criticizing. Just curious. And cannot help finding this sudden wave of Northern-Europe-inspired chip shops very far from most contemporary trends in the food context, such as farmers’ markets, healthy vegetarianism and even gastro-chic fanatics, gourmet street food and Masterchef-infused neo-foodies. Also, other than not very historically coherent, eating fried potatoes tossed in some mayo-something sauce doesn’t fit that well with a Southern European country either. I mean ok, winters are cold in Bologna too, but this is not Amsterdam or Moscow, we don’t need to fill our bodies with vodka and fat in order to keep them warm from the inside.
Finally, even from an aesthetical point of view, with this imagery mostly made of colorful plastic and industrial-looking panels (with the exception of La Patateca, more “cozy homey” oriented in the style department as well as embracing an organic, “eat local” choice), it kind of confuses me and I find it difficult to place it in any particular food trend other than “post pot apetite surge”, also known here as “chemical hunger” (“Fame chimica”). Oh, and since we’re on the topic of words and expressions, I’ve just found out that there’s already a name for these shops: “patatinerie”. And of course my research proved patatinerie to be a national trend. Therefore I must just accept them. Still, I am wondering. Aren’t you?
2 thoughts on “Potatoes, potatoes… what’s with Bologna and chips?”
Even here in the Netherlands, there are plenty of vegan, organic, healthy restaurants opening everywhere, but there are also new and trendy patat places still opening. To be honest, it might be kind of nice to at least have those places available, not that I go to them here. It’s the baked potato place that intrigues me the most. The potatoes in the stores here are too small for baking, so we only get them at certain restaurants. My Italian mother-in-law will probably be interested, too, as she always enjoyed the baked potatoes when she’d visit us in the US. Still, these aren’t the places I’d expect as much in Italy.
When I first visited the Uk I developed a strong fetish for baked potatoes and “Baked potato with chilli con carne” was my post-clubbing, 4AM treat when I was 20, so no judgment here. It just seems at odds with the current zeitgeist 🙂