The 10 most common mistakes and stereotypes about Italian Cooking abroad…how many commandments have you broken 😉
(Originally posted at Academia Barilla)
1- You shall not sip cappuccino during a meal!
Coffee and cappuccino are the pride of Italy in the world; but if the first is usually consumed at the end of the meal, the second, more substantial, is sipped at breakfast, usually accompanied by some pastry — or not after 12:oopm. You can ask for a cappuccino at the end of a meal, just know that most Italians don’t.
2- Risotto and pasta are NOT a side dish
The organization of courses in the Italian dining is unique and requires pasta and – most of the time –risotto to be served by themselves (apart from specific recipes such as Ossobuco milanese-style). The presentation of pasta as a side dish to others is widespread in several countries, but in Italy is seen almost as a sacrilege.
3- You shall not add oil to pasta water!
Oil should not be added to pasta cooking water! Pasta dressing (and oil too) must be added only after you have drained it from its cooking water.
4- Ketchup on pasta: please, don’t
This is one of the combinations that most shocks Italians; although ketchup may have some similarities to tomato sauce, pouring ketchup over pasta in the “Bel Paese” is considered a real gourmet crime. Keep ketchup for your french fries or hot dogs, please!
5- Spaghetti Bolognese? No way, it’s Tagliatelle!
While probably being the world’s most popular Italian recipe, you will not find any restaurant in Bologna to eat it. That’s because the original Italian recipe is “Tagliatelle Bolognese” (not spaghetti).
Although this may seem a minor detail, in real Italian cuisine the pairing of the right kind of pasta with the right sauce is considered almost sacred.
6- Chicken Pasta: not in Italy
Speaking with American friends, one of the most frequent requests is the advice for a typical Italian recipe for pasta with chicken. It’s always rather embarrassing to point out that in Italy there are no hot dishes featuring pasta and chicken.
7- “Caesar salad”
This salad, which bears the name of its supposed creator, Caesar Cardini, is a part of the long list of recipes devised by chefs of Italian origin, but in fact is almost unknown in Italy.
8- The red and white checkered tablecloth is only a stereotype !
For some strange reason, these tablecloths are universally associated with our food and with the stereotype of the “spaghetti-eater”, and abroad almost all the restaurants that want to play typical Italian use them. Probably, tourists who come to visit Italy remain somewhat disappointed when they discover that the checkered tablecloths are almost never used (only restaurants for tourists do!)
9- “Fettuccine Alfredo” are popular only overseas
This is perhaps the most curious in this top ten. The fettuccine Alfredo is both the most famous “Italian” food in the United States and the least known dish in Italy.
These noodles, seasoned with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano, are in fact actually been invented in the “Bel Paese”, specifically by Alfredo Di Lelio, the owner of a restaurant in Rome, but in Italy have never been imposed as a traditional dish. Overseas, however, have become increasingly popular and in time became a symbol of the good life in Rome.
For this reason legions of American tourists coming to Italy hoping to enjoy the fettuccine Alfredo at every restaurant on the peninsula remain very disappointed.
10 – You shall respect tradition and what Italian mamma says.
She knows from her mamma, who knew from her mamma who knew from her mamma and so on. It’s been tried and tested. And what a mother teaches her daughter while they are cooking? that love is the center of all. We must share Italian food with your loved ones. It is what life, love and family are all about.