It’s not unusual for students living alone for the first time to be absolutely disastrous at cooking, living off Pot Noodles and packets of cheap digestive biscuits.
But three American students on exchange in Italy have taken culinary know-how to an all-time low as they started a fire by trying to cook pasta – without using any water.
According to the Italian newspaper La Nazione, the three 20-year-old women bought pasta from a supermarket and took it back to their apartment in Via Pellicceria, Florence with hopes of cooking a typical Italian dinner.
Props for trying to adapt to their cultural surroundings, I guess.
However, when the students started cooking the pasta, they stuck it in the pot and just left it on the stove, apparently oblivious that adding water is, y’know, an essential part of the process.
Inevitably, the pot quickly caught fire, damaging some of the kitchen furniture. In a panic the three women saw fit to call the fire brigade, who promptly arrived to extinguish the flames. Guess the women didn’t know how to put out fires either.
Unsurprisingly, Italians reacted to the incident with a rather loud snigger – and a few inevitable snipes at Americans, of course.
“Return to the USA to eat hamburgers and chips from [McDonald’s],” one commenter wrote, according to VICE.
“From one of those three could come the next US secretary of state… or the next president!” another warned.
Can you imagine how Gordon Ramsay would have reacted?
Florentine chef Fabio Picchi was more sympathetic towards the women, saying he felt ‘guilty’ that his generation – or Florence itself! – apparently hadn’t taught them how to make the simple dish. Hang on – isn’t that their parents’ job?
Picchi was even charitable enough to offer the students four hours of Italian cooking lessons in one of his restaurants so the mistake wouldn’t happen again.
“As a generation and as a Florentine, I feel guilty,” he said. “I feel there was a strong communication deficit on the part of this city.
“They will have lunch in our restaurant with two of my extraordinary cooks. They will teach them the simple basics that are very good if done well. I think this can be useful to them, but also to us.”
Saves money on emergency services getting called out when they cock up cooking a basic meal, I suppose.
As generous as Picchi’s gesture is, you still can’t see the students appearing on Masterchef any time soon. Hey, you never know – they might still surprise us.