We made this video because these are a few things that people can find interesting about Italian culture. A failure to understand these differences can quickly give you the title of “ugly american.”
No Ice in drinks:
While American’s love ice in their drinks Italians have an aversion to things that are too cold. Including, interestingly enough “un colpo d’aria” literally, a”a hit of wind.” When a cold gust of wind hits you it can do serious harm.
It isn’t as much that Italians don’t like ice, as it is that Americans love it!
Ice in drinks is actually an american concept, and ice was invented in the USA. So while ice is part of our DNA it is counterintuitive to Italians in that it is too cold, very cold! Ice tea in italy is served very cold with no ice. Occasionally with a little ice lemon granita. But ice is thought to be a shock to the system. Air conditioning is much more commonplace, but it is still somewhat frowned upon. This approach to homeostasis is at the very least environmentally friendly!
No Cappuccino after breakfast:
Listen, milk is for breakfast. You have it with your cookies and cigarette. There is no time to sip on a big cup of milk in the afternoon. Walk up to the bar, order “un caffè” and say “coretto con sambuca” (they will add a little sambuca to it!). A nice short caffe can really help you digest a big meal, not a cappuccino!
Don’t try to eat earlier than 7:
Sometimes it is nice to get to a busy pizzeria early – say 7:15. But know that you will be the only people there!
Da portare via:
If you don’t finish your meal do not dare ask for a doggie bag. The portions are smaller in Italy, the food is delicious and you will most likely finish your plate. That is the easiest way to explain the lack of doggie bags. Italians do not like left overs as much as Americans. Eat it while it’s hot! The food is eaten as soon as it is put on the table, rather than waiting for other plates to arrive. This same passion for freshness limits the desire to put something in a paper box in the fridge over-night. Pasta is never al dente in the morning!
No butter with dinner for the bread:
They will bring it if you ask, but it will be very awkward. Bread is like another utensil in Italian food. As a way to assist with pasta instead of a spoon, and as an added bonus, for use with the “Scarpetta.” A technique (considered rude in the US) in which sauce is mopped up from the plate – the ultimate sign of appreciation!
If you have any questions about the topics make sure to let us know in the comments! We will be making our blog a little nicer but feel free to bookmark this link for Italian only updates!