Italian Food Rules

2 Oct

This week we went to an Italian-wide ‘sagra’ (festival), Primi d’Italia. Held in Folingo about an hour away from Todi, this is an entire weekend devoted to ‘primi’, the first course served after antipasto in Italy, better known to us Americans as pasta. Pasta was in the store fronts, made into art work, fashioned into dresses, pasta was everywhere! And let me tell you, we are getting jipped on the pasta selection in America! There are thousands of types of pasta here. It was really cool to see how much fun they were having with it. It was a treat for our eyes as well as our mouths, as many of the exhibitions were in hundreds of year old buildings with frescos on the walls. Walking through the main food tent we had samples being offered to us from every direction. Salamis, breads, chocolates, truffles, real balsamic vinegar, it was amazing! If there is one thing Italians love, it is their food! And they take their food every seriously.

Mitch and I enjoying our lunch!

Italian food rules. Duh. That I expected, what I didn’t expect was all the rules associated with enjoying this food. Mitch and I are constantly getting corrected by our family and Diego for certain table and food manners that are completely acceptable at home in Ohio, but shun-worthy here. They are too funny not to share so please enjoy… but remember you’re enjoying them all at our expense! Hopefully we will learn our way around these Italians kitchens soon. Either that or our family is going to kick us out because of embarrassment!

Pasta Vespa!

Types of pasta for specific sauce. At home if you have rigatoni and tomato sauce, you eat just that. Not the case. They will change meals if they don’t have the correct noodles for the various sauces. An example is that carbonara sauce is to be served strictly with spaghetti noodles and meat sauce with short pastas.

Summer vs. winter food. Italy gets colder than most Americans think. Most of Italy experiences at least a mild, to more serious winter weather. Because it is so hot in the summer they eat their summer foods, light pastas, etc and winter only the warm foods like Polenta.

Drinks. Surprisingly, we have found the Italians who drink tea mostly follow tea time. Tea is only to be drunk at tea time, while espresso is to be drunk ALL the time! No no, but at least in the morning and after lunch (remember after lunch here is around 3pm).

No eggs for breakfast! Toast, sunny side up eggs, hash browns, orange juice, now this is a great American breakfast! This is also an Italian dinner, the frittata. It is basically an omelet that you fry first and then bake in the oven. Italians think it’s appalling to eat eggs in the morning.

Plates matters. Italians only eat certain foods on certain plates. Pasta in shallow bowls, meats and sides on real plates, desert only on desert plates and bread on the table. Lorenzo refuses to eat pasta if I serve it on a real plate… Italians boys are really as big of mammas boys as you might think! And their mammas really take care of their every whim.

The spaghetti spin. This is Mitch’s least favorite rule, because everyone points it out. Italians never cut their pasta, only spin it on their fork on the side of their bowls until it barely fits in their mouths. Apparently only Italians in the north spin on a spoon, here no way.

Multi-colored and multi-shaped pastas!

The murder rules. These are ancient rules that many still practice. You never pour a beverage into someones glass with your palm up so it looks like the bottle is pointing at the person. In medieval times this was the signal that poison was being poured into their cup. At the table hands must always be above the table… so everyone knows you aren’t holding a knife to kill them with! Funny, but followed at the same time, they usually have no problem keeping their hands above the table because they’re essential to telling every story and making every point.

These are only some of the Italian food rules we have discovered so far, but will never forget! They are not shy about pointing out that we’re doing something wrong.

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2 Responses to “Italian Food Rules”

  1. Mom October 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    You’ll have to give classes when you return home, to save others from the same experience that you’ ve had!!

  2. Karin V. Durham October 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    hmm, very cool

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