America for (Italian) Dummies #5

Sorry if I keep writing about food, but I would love to shamelessly add one more gastronomic post, connected with the previous one. D like Dinner. An American Dinner.

Let’s start with dinner time

For any Italian would be hard to take seriously an invitation for a dinner at 6:00 pm. For us that is the weird time lapse between the last coffee and the first aperitivo. Especially during the summer 6:00 o’clock is rather the best hour to spend on the beach, an outdoor dinner party, while the sun still shines, will be really hard to accept. A typically America family dinner takes place in a nice dining room, in front of a big window, the typical family dinner in Italy takes place in the kitchen, watching news on TV, we eat in the dining room only for special occasions.

Now, I know what you are thinking, red and white checked table cloth. Well, my mom actually has one, but that’s not mandatory in Italy. But a table cloth is. My fellow countrymen will be perplexed by the lack of table cloths.

There are a few peculiar differences between the American and the Italian dinner table setting style. Your Italian guests will probably not expect to find a coffee cup on the dinner table, and they will not be prepare to eat a soup with a teaspoon (in Italy soups are served in a bigger cup with a table spoon, also known as cucchiaio da minestra, ‘soup spoon’ indeed). In Italy salad is a side, not a starter, and in no way you eat pasta, rice, meat, vegetables, at one time, on the same plate.

In case of a buffet prepare yourself to their look of disproval.


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