Updated: Jul 15, 2021
Italian cookbook authors like Hazan and Bastianich have given us great insight into the ingredients and techniques that make Italian cooking one of the world’s most favorite cuisines. So when I see a post about a recipe that uses one of Italy’s most iconic ingredients, pasta, and labels it “just about the most revolting dish ever devised” I’m compelled to take a second look.
According to an article published in The Guardian, the revered and infamous English food writer Elizabeth David who strongly influenced post WWII British cooking through a series of articles and a subsequent book on pleasures of Mediterranean food, found a recipe for an Italian salad in the book Ulster Fare, published in 1945 by the Belfast Women’s Institute Club that made her cringe.
Known for her candid comments (she was considered the mid-century equivalent of Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain) David labeled the recipe “just about the most revolting dish ever devised”. Also known as the “world’s worst pasta salad” it is a hodgepodge of misplaced ingredients and missteps that make it a culinary malfunction. The Guardian writes about it under the title “Do not try this at home”. Some might disagree as to the labeling of the dish as the worst, blaming the proofreader for the ingredient error (did they mean peas instead of pears?). But if Italian sensibility and taste were taken into account it still is a painful misuse of pasta. Here it is - the worst pasta salad ever made!
Italian salad 1 pint cold cooked macaroni ½ pint cooked or tinned pears ½ pint grated raw carrot French dressing to moisten 2 heaped tablespoons minced onion ½ pint cooked or minced string beans
Mix the chopped macaroni and vegetables; moisten with French dressing, flavoring with garlic if liked. Serve on a dish lined with lettuce leaves. Decorate with mayonnaise and minced pimento or chives.