If you think of the Italian city of Bologna, the first thing that may come to mind is ragù alla Bolognese, the rich tomato and meat sauce of the gods—known around these parts simply as Bolognese sauce. Or maybe you'll think of Bologna's weird little cousin baloney, the lunch meat of choice for several generations of Americans. Either way, we're talking meat here, and the Bolognese are rightfully proud of their famous meats, which are a staple in the local diet.
Recently, one famous Italian TV chef learned the hard way not to mess with the Bolognese and their meats. When Simone Salvini was called in to help make a healthier menu at a local soup kitchen, he decided to serve vegan food—light, clean, healthy, and notably free of meat. Thoughtful, right?
But sometimes good intentions backfire. Not impressed, some of the homeless threatened to "return to the streets" if meat wasn't back on the menu.
Salvini started volunteering to serve lunch at the kitchen last Wednesday, and he'll be coming back every Wednesday for the foreseeable future unless he's run out of town.
"My staff and I are trying to cook, as best as we can, a range of healthy, organic food and vegetables," Salvini told Corriere della Sera. "Some told me that they need to eat meat, and would return to the streets..." if they didn't get their meat fix.
Alessandro Caspoli, a monk and manager of the center, said the mutiny wasn't that big of a deal, according to The Local. He noted that the kitchen served meat the rest of the week.
But Salvini hasn't given up hope, and he's optimistic he can even win over some of those who threatened to hit the bricks. He'll be making some menu changes after last Wednesday's vegetable disaster. He's going to work vegetables into "more reassuring forms" like vegetarian meatballs and sausages.
"I welcome the criticism," Salvini said. "But not everyone complained last week, some guests shook my hand. It was very satisfying."
Salvini will partner up with the three-Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura to work up a dinner menu for the homeless and refugees when the kitchen opens for dinner on May 9. No word on what's for dinner, but we have a feeling it won't be a sad pile of kale.