Typically we Americans take our culinary guidance from the Italians. Let us be brutally honest, in the grand scheme of things Italian cuisine has much more clout in the food world than cheeseburgers, fried chicken, and sweet tea. People eat Italian food to celebrate great events or for long sit-down, meals. They grab BBQ and coleslaw on their way to baseball games only to stifle heartburn and feel guilty about the trauma they just inflicted upon their cardiovascular systems.

So there I am in the capitol of all things delectable, ordering a delicious looking Milanese sandwich. It looked simply delectable sitting there in the café display case. The cook grilled me up one, and then asked “ketchup and mayonnaise?” I suspiciously said “si, grazi” and paid my tab. When I sat down I suddenly realized what exactly a Milanese sandwich is; a chicken patty!

I laughed. What else can you do? Here, in Italy, a country which boasts of its food and slanders American fast food I had a chicken patty on my plate. OK sure, it looked like an actual piece of breaded chicken instead of a sodium infused and unnaturally round brick of meat and was on some nice Italian bread with mozzarella instead of a processed bun, but still! Admittedly it tasted much, much better than any deep fried, chicken flavored hockey puck I’ve ever eaten in the states.

While I munched away I pondered, “I wonder which came first the Milanese or the chicken Patty?” Then I realized, “that’s just as impossible to answer as ‘which came first the chicken or the egg?’” Which lead to: “Why is it that poultry always has these unanswered questions?” I still have no answer for you other than the Milanese tasted better. So maybe it came first and we Americans tried unsuccessfully to imitate it with the chicken patty. Wouldn’t be the first time we messed up Italian cooking. Don’t believe me? Go to Olive Garden.

 

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