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Food coloring in pasta? Is nothing sacred anymore?

Illustration for article titled Food coloring in pasta? Is nothing sacred anymore?
Photo: Owen Franken - Corbis (Getty Images)

Bill Buford—the author behind the bestselling, Mario-Batali-outing culinary memoir Heat—is back with a new book, and some of its shocking allegations are already causing ripples across the food world. In Dirt, Buford turns his attention to the cuisine of France, offering evidence that French cooking is actually derived from Italian cuisine, and that legendary French chef Daniel Boulud—brace yourself—uses yellow food coloring in his pasta.

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Buford writes of a night in the kitchen of Boulud’s eponymous three-Michelin-star restaurant in New York City: “When I later found myself in Boulud’s kitchen, and I was on my own downstairs, among the prep cooks, I fell into admiring the deep egg-yolky tortellini that the pasta guy was making, and after asking if I could see the recipe discovered that, oh my, it included yellow food coloring.”

Is this a big deal? Page Six thinks so, as they reported on the shocking revelation this morning. If Boulud is using food coloring to augment the true hue of his pasta, some might wonder if other “upgrades” are happening behind the scenes. Is his “grilled halibut” actually fish? Has his duck confit been bulked up with ground Slim Jims? Does his restaurant really serve champagne, or is it just White Claw with yellow food coloring? And, most importantly, how will we ever be able to move on with our lives knowing that that Daniel Boulud has built his empire on Yellow 5?

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

The father of a friend of mine, who was a bit of a stereotypical Englishman, once told me “All the French ever did was take what the Italians did well and add stuffy rules.” He clarified that he meant art, fashion and cooking. As semi-offensive as it sounded, it was also hard to refute. But I’m half Italian, so I may be letting my bias show.