Food - Drink
The Unexpected Meaning Of The Word 'Carbonara'
By ANNA STAROPOLI
Carbonara is one of the four most popular pasta dishes in Rome, along with amatriciana, gricia, and cacio e pepe. A classic carbonara sauce is made by mixing pasta water, egg yolks, cheese, pepper, and guanciale, but while sauce names like "cacio e pepe" are a literal translation of the dish's ingredients, the word "carbonara" is entirely different.
La Cucina Italiana explains that "carbonara" relates to the Italian word "carbonaro," which translates to "coal burner." This linguistic connection has led many Italians to believe this pasta originated as a filling, easy-to-make dish that was intended for men working outdoors, but other theories abound as to this strange name.
The "Apennine Hypothesis," dubbed by Cooking School Italy, says that charcoal burners invented this pasta dish with ingredients that were easy find find, while an origin story from WWII says that an Italian cook wanted to appease U.S. servicemen who were desperate for bacon and eggs, so he mixed those ingredients with pasta.