Being Italian, like real, right off the boat Italian, is NO joke. There are things that would never make sense to anyone else who isn’t Italian. There are things that as Italians, we ourselves will never understand about other cultures. I’m sure that people could add to this list infinitely, but I’ve done my best to keep it at the 25 most relatable Italian customs and traditions.
1) Sunday plans weren’t a thing, because Sunday dinner was. It was an all day affair, everyone participated, and no matter where you were earlier in the day, your ass had better be at that table by 1pm. NO excuse.
2) Indoor voices? What does that even mean? We have literally no ability to control our volumes. We operate on loud and louder. That’s why we hated the “telephone” game at school. Whispering? Not a skill I was ever lucky enough to acquire.
3) You know the importance of periodically stirring the gravy so it doesn’t burn…and yes, it’s Gravy. Don’t even try to tell me otherwise.
4) Good coffee is made on the stovetop….the only close second is the Lavazza machine. No other exceptions.
5) The special relationship you had and still continue to have with Pastina. It was the cure all when you were a sick kid, and is the most epic comfort food as an adult.
6) There is a map of Italy on a dish towel or an apron in Nonna’s kitchen. You know, just in case she needs to show you exactly where the village is….again.
7) You had to explain to your first grade class who Domenic the Donkey was and why you were asking that to be played while everyone else was requesting Jingle Bells.
8) Each room in your house has at least 3 photos of different saints.
9) You knew how to properly rake and tend to a Bocce court by the age of 7. And you knew If you even looked at the Pallino the wrong way and it moved for whatever reason even ever so slightly, it would’ve started WW3 between your uncles. Everyone’s uncles didn’t have a measuring stick near by just to back up the winner? No? Just mine? Hmmmm.
10) A proper goodbye is at least an hour long. Especially on a Holiday. Forget it. 2 hours minimum.
11) You will receive the inevitable questions multiple times throughout your life, and your answers never really change, yet the questions are still asked SO many times.
-“When are you getting married?” Not anytime soon
-“Why don’t you find a nice Italian boy? I know one. I’ll make a call” No, please don’t. That’d mean I’d have to introduce them to this bunch of nut jobs one day. No thanks.
– “Is your family in the Mafia?” No. How can we be a part of something that does not exist. Ahem.
12) Kids at school constantly asked you why you had a Chili Pepper keychain on your backpack, and you were horrified by their lack of knowledge when it came to the corno. *Insert eyeroll here*
13) If you were home “sick”, went to Nonna’s house and didn’t make your own pizza, did the sick day ever actually even occur? The answer is no, it did not.
14) Christmas Eve dinner is not the place for individuals who frequent Sea World. The entire Atlantic Ocean ends up on the table, and it will get weird.
15) You never have to worry when certain things break. One of your uncle’s always has a guy who knows a guy..you’re good.
16) You need to physically sit on your hands to not use them while you talk. You don’t even know you’re doing it until one of your non-Italian friends points it out.
17) You have extremely strong opinions and stand behind your choices when it comes to how certain foods are pronounced. For instance, can you please tell me where we suddenly got “galamad” from Calamari? “Mootzadell” from Mozzarella? Don’t even waste your time or mine trying to justify these pronunciations lol it won’t work. I assure you.
18) As individuals, we have the right to remain silent. As Italians, that ability is revoked the moment you find your own vocal cords.
19) Having two kitchens and two living rooms is the norm. The downstairs kitchen is for daily use, and the upstairs kitchen is for Sunday’s, Holiday’s and show only.
20) You were the only one who could call your 2nd grade teacher “stunata” and knew what it meant.
21) Nonna has never and will never measure ingredients. When you decide to try to replicate a recipe and ask for a measurement, she will come back with “You know. Just a little.”
22) Olive Garden is a forbidden place and a swear word. If you go there, and dare to tell someone about it, you deserve the wooden spoon that is inevitably coming your way.
23) You have to clarify which Maria, Vinny, Frankie, Joe or Sal you are referring to in that moment because there is an abundance of each of them.
24) You were super confused when you went to a friend’s house for a play date and none of their furniture had plastic on it…like, what?
25) You know exactly which Saint’s Day corresponds with the correct pastry. If you know, you just know.