10 THINGS THAT ARE THOUGHT TO BE ITALIAN BUT ARE NOT
Sitting around in the winter sometimes lets us review some of the questions and thoughts our guests bring up during our tours. Since yesterday was a rainy day I started to make a list. Enjoy and hope these insights help you blend in during your next Italian Adventure.
1. Caesar Salad. This is American, not Italian. Asking for Parmesan and croutons on a salad would get you quizzical looks in most places. Some tourist trap restaurants will serve it.
2. Rolling Spaghetti with a Spoon. Italians do not do this. You use a fork, that’s it.
3. Salad as Appetizer. Salads are a side dish with the second course. Having a salad as an appetizer is not common, Italians rather use it as a palate cleanser after eating the majority of their meal
4. Meat and Pasta on the same Plate. Italians do not put 2 courses on the same plate. Pasta is one thing - meat, chicken, meatballs are another: you will not see them mixed. Also, a good pasta dish doesn’t need to be drowned in sauce. Pasta is supposed to be colored by the sauce but not immersed in it.
5. Cappuccino after a Meal. Cappuccino is for breakfast. Past noon, Italians don’t drink cappuccino. So if you order it after a full meal, be prepared to get weird looks. Italians rather have a strong shot of espresso after a meal.
6. Oil and Butter with Bread in a Restaurant. Olive oil and butter are common ingredients in Italian dishes, but it’s not customary to eat them with bread during a meal. Restaurants will not put butter or olive oil on the table to dip bread in. Buttered or oil-drizzled bread might be afternoon snacks - requesting them at a restaurant would be weird.
7. Italians eat Pasta every day. Pasta is popular, but many Italians prefer rice or soup. The Italian diet is rich in vegetables, meat, and fish, which are present on the table every day. Pasta is more of a 2-3 times a week affair for many.
8. Italians eat big Dinners. In most cases, Italians eat more at lunch than at dinner.
9. Couples sitting side by side. Eating is a social event, so people prefer to be seated face to face. On a group outing or a double date a couple would rarely sit next to one another, allowing for more mingling.
10. Italians have large Families. Families with 4-8 children are a thing of the past. Italians not only get married later, they now also have one of the lowest birth rates in the world. As a result, the population is shrinking. Divorce is on the rise, and people often don’t start families until they’re well into their 30s.