Food is always a crucial part of disaster relief, but it's proving uniquely important in central Italy following a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 247 people. In the town of Amatrice, buildings were destroyed and people were trapped beneath rubble. Following the quake, the mayor said that "half the town no longer exists."
Amatrice's signature amatriciana sauce is such a famous cultural feature of the town that a yearly festival is held in its honor. The 50th festival was to be held this weekend. Since Wednesday's devastating events, the dish has taken on a new importance for the town.
The gesture started when Paolo Campana, a food blogger from Rome, suggested one-euro donations from the dish. That apparently led to restaurant owners in the nearby town of Assisi to join together to add pasta all'amatriciana to their menus and donate €2 from each sale to quake relief.
Campana told CNN, "The idea is simply born from the desire to help those affected by the earthquake of this night."
And it's not just Italy that's using pasta for a good cause. The gesture is also catching on in the United States. Chef Walter Potenza in Rhode Island is offering bucatini amatriciana on his menu and donating $5 from every sale to the Italian Red Cross.
The chef told local news he hopes other restaurateurs join him, saying, "Chefs collaborate all the time. We work together for all different causes in our world. This is one that I request everyone pay attention to because it hurts everybody."