This phenomenon can seem further exaggerated by the religious belief of many Italians that their mother or grandmother makes absolutely the _best_ Melanzane alla Parmigiana in the world, and nobody elses can compare.
If you experience this phenomenon, just agree. To argue can put yourself in extreme danger.
"Oops. To Gianni that's almost as bad as suggesting there's a restaurant that can make Tiramisu as well as his Mamma! So you experienced your first Spaghetti Exceptionalism, did you?"
"Exactly! And then Helen made the mistake of suggesting that pasta every day is boring, and she fancied a Thai - didn't wanna do that!"
"Nooooooo! Thai food to an Italian? That's like suggesting that you put the first course on the same plate as the meat... Outrageous!"
"Did you ever go to Barcelona, Pinuccia?"
"Oh yes, Penelope. You have a wonderful city! I love Barca so much but I couldn't eat the food. It was disgusting! My mother had to send me food parcels every week, and by the time I came home, I was fifteen pounds thinner! I am never going there again."
"Oh no, Pinuccia! You didn't like our food?"
"It's foul, Penelope! It's sooo bad. How did you ever survive? But Italian food is the best in the world you know. And my Mamma makes the best Spaghetti con Vongole in all of Genova. Would you like to come at the weekend and try some? You will be very grateful for everything she can teach you!"