Most people have had a cooking disaster or two in their lives, but the vast majority of the time, those failures only embarrass the person at the stove, and with any luck nobody else ever finds out about it. But last week a group of American exchange students in Italy managed to pull off a culinary disaster so boneheaded and embarrassing it became international news, and left much of Italy wondering just how three human beings could reach adulthood without knowing that you can’t cook pasta without water.
According to Travel and Leisure, three 20-year-old American students bought pasta at a supermarket and took it back to their apartment in the center of Florence, hoping to make and enjoy a traditional Italian dish. Instead of putting the pasta into a pot of boiling water, however, they just put the noodles directly into the pot, turned on the stove, and waited. After a few minutes, the pasta caught fire, and the conflagration was serious enough that firefighters had to come extinguish the flames.
Nobody was injured and reportedly the only damage was to some furniture in the kitchen — and to the reputations of the three American students, after they told the bewildered police officers that they just didn’t know water was necessary to make pasta.
Unsurprisingly, the Italian Internet was merciless in making fun of these foreigners who couldn’t boil water. One said the students should just go back to the USA and eat hamburgers at McDonald’s, while another suggested that the students must have thought they were cooking burgers.
“I bet they forgot the salt, too,” another said.
Fortunately, the students will probably not go hungry in Italy, because famed Florentine chef Fabio Picchi of Cibrèo heard about the incident and decided to help them out — and probably spare the city some more damage — by offering them a free four-hour cooking class at his restaurant. Four hours should probably be enough to learn to boil water, and from then on they can get to work on recreating the 16 most delicious pasta dishes of all time.