The Italian Way

Posted by on Aug 18, 2013 | 0 comments

I came across this and thought i would share it, made me smile… is so typical of Italian culture, so refreshingly different.

Italian Food Culture in 20 rules | Le Marche and Food |

There is much more to Italian food culture than many people outside Italy realize. Mastering the art of Italian cooking is not just a matter of learning recipes but rather requires coming to understand a whole approach to the preparation and eating of food. This approach can be understood, among other ways, through a series of unwritten “rules” that guide most Italians’ culinary habits. (I use the term loosely, as there are exceptions to most of these ‘rules.’ And there is no Italian food police to arrest you if you break them.)

  • Rule 1: Eat in season.
  • Rule 2: Eat locally.
  • Rule 3: Look for a harmonious combination of ingredients and avoid clashing combinations.
  • Rule 4: There is no such thing as a ‘main course’ in a proper Italian meal. Rather, a true Italian meal is a series of courses of varying number, depending on the occasion, but usually including a primo (first course of pasta, soup, polenta, rice, etc.) and a secondo (meat, fish, vegetable), often served with a contorno (vegetable side dish). Fresh fruit usually serves as dessert. Or more formal occasions, an antipasto comes before the primo, and a proper dessert may close the meal.
  • Rule 5: The courses of a meal should provide variety without clashing. A delicate egg pasta would not generally be followed, for example, by a spicy dish like fettine di manzo alla pizzaiola.
  • Rule 6: Pasta, risotto, gnocchi and the like are not served as side dishes but as a separate course.
  • Rule 7: Salads are most often served as contorni (side dishes).
  • Rule 8: Pasta should be eaten ‘al dente’.
  • Rule 9: It is important to pair the ‘right’ pasta shape with the ‘right’ sauce.
  • Rule 10: It is equally important not to over-sauce your pasta.
  • Rule 11: Don’t assume that grated cheese goes on every pasta dish.
  • Rule 12: Pasta salads are made with pasta secca,
  • Rule 13: Except in the fanciest of restaurants, vegetables are not there for garnish. They are meant to be eaten.
  • Rule 14: Salad dressing is made from oil and vinegar (or, less frequently, lemon).
  • Rule 15: Cappuccino is drunk only in the morning, and never after a meal.
  • Rule 16: Mineral water and/or wine are the beverages of choice to accompany your meals.
  • Rule 17: Use a knife and fork!
  • Rule 18: Do not cut your spaghetti.
  • Rule 19: Do not eat bread with pasta.
  • Rule 20: If you leave food on your plate, your host may wonder if you didn’t like it.



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