1. You pronounce things differently than others.
Mozzarella turns into mutzadell. You drop the "i" at the end of antipasti. Capicola somehow turns into gabagool. Even actual Italians who still live in Italy don't pronounce things like this, but if you're a Jersey-born or New York-born Italian, you understand. Being raised by super Italian grandparents and a super Italian mother, I was taught to pronounce Italian foods the wrong way and never looked back. I've received the craziest looks from waiters, or friends, or acquaintances for the way that I pronounce ricotta or proscuitto, but it's just something we have to deal with.
2. You talk with your hands.
I actually tried to make my mom keep her hands behind her back once to speak to me and she couldn't get a single word out. Sometimes when I'm deep in a rant in a room full of crowded people I have to watch myself because I'm nervous that I'll hit someone while I'm flailing my arms around.
3. Introductions to your family are extremely overwhelming.
Not only do you have to bring your friends/boyfriend/girlfriend into a room crowded with your fifty cousins, thirty aunts and thirty uncles, because your family is huge and enormously extended, but in addition, the room is full of the loudest people you will ever meet. Bringing them around the room to properly greet everyone should be considered an extreme sport. Side note: Good luck dodging all the kisses.
4. You know better than to pass the sauce pot without stirring it.
Almost every Saturday there is a pot sitting on my stove that I could fit my entire body in, only it's filled with sauce. It cooks all day and if my mother so much as hears mine, or anyones, footsteps in the kitchen, she yells at us to stir it. I don't know what happens if we don't, because we've all been to afraid to test her.
5. No carb or low-carb diets aren't a thing.
Bread before every meal, whether it's slabbed with butter or dipped in oil and seasonings, is a staple. I've never messed with it, and I never want to because it makes my soul feel complete. There is nothing that a fresh loaf of semolina bread, or a big bowl of spaghetti can't cure.
6. You incorporate pasta into every meal.
Whether it is the main course or a side dish, it's always there.
7. You go through olive oil like it's your job.
Everything is cooked in it. Forget canola oil or vegetable oil. We love olive oil so much we even use it as a dipping sauce. I'm honestly surprised we don't drink it.
8. You probably gain ten pounds after the holidays.
Lasagna. Baked ziti. Meatballs. Sausage. Penne vodka. Chicken cutlets. Stuffed rigatoni. So. Much. Food. How can you even help yourself? Not to mention the cheese board and the antipasti. There's no time to be full because the food just keeps coming.
9. You know each and every pasta and how it's different from the next.
Angel hair and capellini are different, and both of them are much different from thin spaghetti. Speaking of spaghetti, it's different than vermicelli and bucatini. It's complicated, but we get it.
10. No amount of garlic is too much garlic.
I see recipes that call for one clove of garlic and I know that it's unrealistic. You should never be using one clove of garlic. If someone ever questions the amount of garlic you're using, drop them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
11. Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin has been background music for as long as you can remember.
That's Amoré was probably your childhood jam.
14. Being asked "Are you hungry?" or "Do you want more?" until you feel like you're going to explode.
Don't even bother trying to make plans after Sunday dinner. Sunday nights are for food comas.
15. Your family is probably stubborn as hell.
My family knows what they like and how they like it and good luck trying to get them to try otherwise. I've never met a man more stubborn than my Italian grandfather, and it's definitely passed down to my mother and I. Although this can be a difficult one, it's a good way to learn to stand for your beliefs.