Fans took issue with one ingredient in particular.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 06, 2017
nigella lawson
Credit: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

When is a dish no longer what you say it is? For example, can you make an omelet without breaking some eggs? Is a cheeseburger still a cheeseburger if you hold the bun? What about the cheese? At some point, a dish can be re-envisioned to the point that it’s simply no longer what it once was. And though many well-known chefs have built their reputation around taking risks, it can also sometimes create a backlash.

Nigella Lawson is the latest victim of fallout from playing too fast and loose with a common recipe. On July 4, she posted a “delicious Spaghetti alla Carbonara” as her #RecipeOfTheDay on Twitter. In the tweet, she openly admitted its “not entirely authentic” – and very quickly, people on Twitter agreed with her.

A traditional carbonara – like this one from Mario Batali – uses spaghetti, eggs, guanciale, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper. Sure Pecorina may be the more traditional hard Italian cheese choice. And in a pinch, maybe you could use pancetta or bacon instead of guanciale. But Lawson’s recipe resorted to a couple of ingredients that would be considered unorthodox at best: cream and white wine.

“I'm from Rome,” one Twitter user responded. “I can say your ‘carbonara’ is not only ‘not authentic’...This is not carbonara! Give it another name if want.” Another user decided to go the more traditional internet route and use sarcasm. “Ok breaking rules Nigella,” they wrote, “next recipe is a not entirely Fish&Chips made of ham&Nutella.”

To be fair, it’s not like “Carbonara” is a protected designation of origin. Actually, it wasn’t even invented until the middle of the 20th century! That is, at least according to Wikipedia – which is a very non-authentic way to get that information. Lawson can also rest assured she will not be the only chef to have upset fans with her supposedly inauthentic recipes. Back in March, Mary Berry offended the Internet by making a Bolognese with the insane ingredients of… surprise… white wine and cream! Possible moral: Celebrity chefs, if you don’t want to make a stir, maybe stick to keeping the cream in your coffee and the white wine in a glass!