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Quebec outlaws pasta

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6 March 2013

Montreal restaurant

The front of Maison Publique after police affixed the flag of Quebec and declared it the property of the province.

MONTREAL, Quebec - The Canadian province of Quebec outlawed pasta on March 1, on the grounds that it "isn't French enough."

The dreaded Language Police swooped down on Maison Publique in Montreal, armed with copies of Bill Loi 101, the notorious law that outlaws the use of English between consenting adults. Despite the business's French name, it was secretly serving non-French food. Police, acting on a five-month-old complaint, seized all of the pasta as evidence: "Easy as spaghetti," in the words of one, before correcting himself.

The establishment's celebrity patrons, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, received citations and warnings that they would have to go to court to choose more locally appropriate names. Owner Massimo Lecas protested that "manicotti" in French is still "manicotti," probably.

Other Italian restaurants in the province are closing in protest, going underground, or converting to pizza parlors, believing that pizza is so universal that the police will not think it is also non-French. But French advocates and Quebec separatists talk of a cabal of English-speakers to undercut the law that they view as the only reason that French survives.

Lovers of Italian food are faced with the prospect of planning vacations in Ontario or Nouveau Brunswick, or even the United States, for their next pasta fix, or heading to forbidden back-alley pasta shops.

To the Quebecers wondering whether Italian wine is next on the forbidden foods list, provincial premier Pauline Marois dismissed the possibility as mere "conspiracy talk." She said foreign wines would continue to be welcomed in Quebec, provided the labels are removed.

edit Sources

Allan Woods "Quebec language police ban pasta". The Guardian, March 1, 2013

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