Growing Up Italian
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Growing Up Italian

"Do you want another bowl of pasta? Have just one more." "No thank you Nana, I've already had six."

Growing Up Italian

If you were lucky enough to grow up in an Italian family, your priorities were simple: family, friends, and food, and you were lucky enough. I know you can agree with me when I say there was never a dull moment and life was not always easy, but it was good. There were plenty of laughs, pasta, hugs and kisses, and wine to go around along with family to share it all with. If you grew up in an Italian family with a remarkable amount of cousins and mozzarella cheese always in your fridge, then you without a doubt know what I'm talking about when I say:

1. Family: "Italian dialect."

Your family most certainly has numerous Italian words and phrases that make up a large portion of your conversations. These have been passed down generation to generation and contain various different definitions and pronunciations. The origin and actual meaning of most of these words remain unknown, that is, if they even are words...they sound Italian, but no one really knows.

2. Your house is always full.

There is a constant flow of traffic in and out of your house all throughout the day. You'll see everyone from neighbors passing through because they heard your mom was making pasta and vodka sauce for dinner, to friends as if a party were being thrown, to family as if it were a holiday. Nevertheless, you are never alone and probably never will be.

3. Everyone’s your cousin.

Or that's what your mom claims. Apparently there's some sort of connection far back down the blood down that has you related to the mailman, the grocery store cashier, and every other person you would least expect to be related to. "Don't worry about it," she says, "Just know they're your pizan. Go kiss them hello." Okay, Ma.

4. Your mother never sits to eat.

Whether it's any Tuesday night or Christmas Eve, your mother never actually sits to eat. Instead, she stands by the counter eating whatever's left of that night's meal. And after taking two bites, she either cooks more to add to the dinner you're already started in on, or she starts tomorrow night's dinner.

5. You kiss and hug everyone you meet.

Even if it's the first time. Handshakes are just never enough and just smiling is frowned upon. One must be embraced by a bunch of strangers, including yourself, to feel welcomed, or so I've been told. But if you're my Nana you take things one step further and kiss everyone on the lips...probably should've prepared my Irish boyfriend for that one.

6. Meat and cheese platters for every occasion.

If you're having lots of company over or even just a friend, there will be a platter with mozzarella, parmesan cheese, prosciutto and salami on the table. Even if you didn't have any of that in your fridge prior, it'll show up on your table right before the doorbell rings. Sometimes you don't even have to be expecting company, these platters will just appear, begging you to be eaten.

7. Food fixes everything.

All of your life's problems can be fixed with pasta and meatballs, chicken parm, or homemade pizza. Failed a test? Here, have another meatball. Your girlfriend broke up with you? Enjoy another piece of chicken. Wrecked your car? I bet you want another slice. Now whether food actually solves any of this is highly unlikely, but, at least, you'll be nice and full while taking it all on. (Tip: dancing is thought to help as well in case food doesn't work. But let's be real here, food always works.)

8. Nana has crosses all over her house.

Along with Saints framed as if they're family members. You have to be on your best behaviour when visiting Nana because you feel as though you'll burst into flames if you do the slightest thing wrong. You know your safest bet is to sit at the table and eat until it's time to go home to keep yourself from getting in trouble with anyone.

9. Wine. Always wine.

It is never too early and there is never an occasion too casual for the wine bottles to be broken out. They are essential to every meal, party, holiday, occasion and gathering of any sort. There is also never a shortage of wine; it is kept stocked at all times in case someone decides to throw a last minute party for whatever reason, if any reason.

10. Everyone is loud in everything they do.

Whispering is a completely foreign concept to your family. Everything, regardless of appropriateness, must be said out loud and very loud. There is no volume control on anything, especially when you have more than three family members in one room. Then forget it, you won't even be able to hear yourself think.

11. Diets are impossible.

Okay not impossible, but very very close. Pasta, bread, butter, oil, cheese, and everything fattening (but delicious) this world has to offer consist of 95 percent of your diet. But you can't say you're that mad because there are far bigger things to worry about in this world then how much pasta you eat. As I push my salad aside and take the fourth piece of garlic bread.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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