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Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Italian Faux Pas

I remember the first time my Italian friend made me dinner.  He asked me to set the table which I did.  When he saw what I had done, he said "we are having spaghetti, not soup."  Confused I pointed out that because we were having spaghetti I had put the large spoons out.

"You use only a fork, not a fork and a spoon," he replied with a tone akin to what I would expect him to use if I had done something utterly ridiculous.  Just when I was about to protest he added that spoons with spaghetti were so 'American'.  I don't know why, but this sentiment makes me completely uncomfortable.  I loathe it.  There is absolutely no rational explanation for how defensive I become when I hear such a comment, but alas, I do.  I had no other option other than to put the spoons away.

So I made my way through the spaghetti dinner.  It is not as easy as one thinks this fork only thing.  Dinner took me a lot longer than it should have - although he may suggest instead that it was my constant whining about the impracticality of fork only spaghetti eating that added the greatest amount of time.  However, I am the one telling this story so we shall instead go with my version of the details.

Fast forward a year later.  I am out having dinner  again with this friend.  It was a wonderful warm evening  and we were enjoying catching up on the latest developments in both of our lives.  The wine was finished and we were ready for coffee.  I ordered my customary after dinner cappuccino.

"Dawn, do me a favour and please do not do such a thing in Italy."  I had no clue what he meant.   "Cappuccinos are for breakfast, only tourists do such a thing after lunch."  

Bloody hell.  That sounded ridiculous to me, so I held firm.  I lingered over my cappuccino while he downed his espresso.  For some reason I felt that I had won that one - and frankly speaking, I like to win.

A few days later I was having lunch with a colleague and ordered a cappuccino. "Dawn!" he said.  "How can you do such a thing?"  It was then that it hit me - my colleague was also Italian.  "That is fattening right after lunch."  I pretended to enjoy my cappuccino while at the same time pondering if I had completely negated the benefits of the salad I had consumed for lunch instead of the quiche I really wanted - all for the stupid cappuccino.

A few days later my friend texted me a link to one of the top Italian news sources.  The article was actually a summary of the top things North Americans do in Italy that make them snicker at us.  At the top of the list was cappuccino.  

Yeah.  Well, I think you can guess the sort of affect that had on me.  Turns out I didn't 'win' that one after all...  

(A new one from Canadian band Hedley 'Anything' - warning, has quite a few F-bombs in it!)

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