Oh Canada, land of strange language laws and people who enforce them. The Quebec Board of the French Language — a government agency — has reportedly declared a "truce" with local restaurants that want to use words like "pasta" on the menus. The Canadian Press reports that the agency went after Buonanotte, an Italian restaurant in Montreal, "for excessive use of Italian on its menu." Per the government's instruction, words like "pasta," "calamari," and "bottiglia," were to be switched to the French language. (Though, thank goodness, they recognized the international language of pizza.)
Naturally, a lot of people thought the whole thing was very silly because pasta is just pasta even though the French may call it pâtes. There's obviously a Quebec Pasta Twitter parody account, @QuebecPasta. And other restaurants have come forward with their stories, too, like a restaurant named Brit & Chips that couldn't use "fish and chips" on its menu. The owner tells CBC News that the agency had wanted him to rename the iconic dish, "poisson frit et frites."
The agency has since apologized for its overly aggressive application of laws that are designed to ensure the French language's dominance in the region. Provincial minister Diane De Courcy told reporters, "I recognized that there was an excess of zeal," and promised the agency would make better use of the language law loopholes that allow for foreign cultural and food products. As former politician Mario Dumont put it, "I don't think the future of French will be determined by Italian menus, or Japanese sushi."
· Quebec government declares truce in spat over spaghetti [The Canadian Press]
· All Canada Coverage on Eater [-E-]