1. The three-hour goodbye.


When you're with your family, the goodbyes take YEARS. No one knows why, it just happens. It takes my nonna a total of 5 minutes to say goodbye via phone... and when in person, patience is definitely a virtue. (Love you, Nonna Tina!)

2. Sunday dinners.

Classic. There's nothing better than Sunday dinners. A time when everyone sits down and gets to eat together- the more family, the better.

3. Gravy isn't what you eat at Thanksgiving dinner...

Yup, you read that right. Gravy is red, and don't you dare call it "sauce."

4. Knowing to NOT go to Nonna's if you aren't hungry.

Don't even attempt to say no to Nonna. In the end, you're going to be forced to eat anyway, so you may as well fast your day away.

5. Bread comes with every meal.

Somehow there's always bread on the table- whether it be a loaf of Italian or some garlic bread, it's there.

6. If a pot of pasta isn't on the stove, something's wrong.

When aren't Italian families cooking? The answer is never.

7. Red wine, lots of it.

Bottles on bottles on bottles. My mom can't remember a time, starting with her childhood, when there wasn't a bottle of red on the table at dinner time.

8. If somebody can't make it to dinner, no worries. A plate of leftovers is coming their way.

Nothing is better than leftovers, and on the plus side, you get a little bit of everything. And by a little, I mean a lot.

9. No matter how hard you try, chicken cutlets always taste better if Nonna's the one cooking them.

Something about those chicken cutlets...

10. Panettone always makes its way onto the table.

What on earth is Panettone? If you know, you know.

11. When you're full, but dessert comes out... "Eh, why not?"

But the biscottis… you can't say no. And if you do, you soon regret it.

12. It's impossible to diet...

Don't even try it.

13. Fresh tomatoes from the garden, of course.

And that's what makes the gravy so, so tasty.

14. No Italian-American restaurants compare to your Nonna's cooking.

Yes, there are some authentic restaurants that have the finest of all Italian dishes, but when you eat something made in your nonna's kitchen, nothing compares.

15. Everybody's talking with their hands.

Non-verbals are KEY.