Italian cuisine is so famous around the world, and yet so misunderstood. Many people often take for granted that they are eating something traditional from Italy, without knowing that the food they are enjoying could actually cause an Italian to recoil in surprise or disapproval!
Some examples? Here we go:
- Italians drink coffee after meals, but not cappuccino! This delicious drink is enjoyed only for breakfast or during a break, often combined with pastry.
- In Italy, pasta and risotto are served as main dishes, on their own. Their presentation as side dishes, as can happen abroad, is seen almost as a sacrilege!
- Many in the United States might have heard of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”, a supposedly Italian traditional dinner on Christmas eve that has 7 courses of fish. But actually, nobody knows of this in Italy! Although, in some parts of Southern Italy it is a habit to celebrate “The Vigil” with meat-free dishes.
- Try pouring some ketchup over your pasta or a pizza in front of an Italian… and see what the reaction is! You’ll probably change your mind and not commit this gourmet crime ever again..
- You would think that “spaghetti bolognese” come from the city of Bologna. Well, it is quite difficult to find them in any restaurant there! In fact, this sauce is only served with fresh made tagliatelle. In real Italian cuisine, combining the right kind of pasta with the right sauce is considered almost sacred.
- In Italy there are no recipes for pasta with chicken!
- Some tourists are disappointed when they visit Italy and discover that the stereotypical red-and-white checkered tablecloths are almost never used… only restaurants for tourists use them.
- The Fettuccine Alfredo were indeed invented in Italy by Alfredo di Lelio, but they never became famous nor imposed as a traditional dish. The same goes for the Caesar’s Salad. For some reason these recipes became very popular abroad… but in Italian restaurants you will have a hard time finding any of them!
- And finally… spaghetti with meatballs is a dish of Italian-American tradition! Sure, southern Italy’s cuisine does feature various recipes with meatball sauces, but these are very small, not large like the ones served in the United States.
So, why all these misconceptions about Italian cuisine? Probably because of the Italian-American culture that has its roots in the traditions introduced in the USA by Italian immigrants in the first half of the twentieth century, habits that were subsequently changed and adapted throughout the years.
Source: ItalianFoodLovers (Academia Barilla)