Ten things NOT to do in Italy

Jan 2nd, 2015, 05:33 AM
  #41  
 
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"Apparently it is a NO-NO to put cheese on fish." - gh21

"Very much so gh21! A big no-no." -Appia


One of my favourite (and super simple) dishes is pasta tossed in a hot pan with sauteed garlic and smoked salmon and then mixing in copious amounts of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
G_Hopper is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 05:40 AM
  #42  
 
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g-hopper

Better not serve it to Appia, arbiter of all thinngs correct and Venetian.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 05:42 AM
  #43  
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@G_Hopper: That no-no is actually on Fodor's own list.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 05:55 AM
  #44  
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<>

All I'm doing (together with Fodor's) is telling you what's traditionally "done" and what's "not done".

You sophisticates will do as you please.

I just happen to find these little rules to do with food and drink fascinating. For example, when I used to attend business lunches in London many years ago I enjoyed the "ritual" of passing the port to the left. Do they still do that?
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:18 AM
  #45  
 
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There is a long-standing joke among Italians that I first heard at least a dozen years ago and goes something like this:

What is a tourist lunch in Venice?

Pizza, gelato and a cappuccino.

Cue uproarious laughter.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:26 AM
  #46  
 
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traveller1959

In most parts of Italy, pizza is strictly a dinner dish, and many pizzerie do not open in the afternoon (when it is too hot to have those ovens going anyway). In some parts of Italy, you will find pizza is a very common late afternoon snack, sold by the slice, usually more popular in cold months than in summer, when the late afternoon snack is often gelato.

Where I live in Italy, people eat a pizza-like flat bread for breakfast, usually topped with loads of fried onions (and no tomatoes or cheese). The local legend is that the wives loaded up their husbands with onion-breath before sending them off to work. In Sicily, it not uncommon to see people eating thick squares of pizza bread with some tomato and grated cheese in the mid-morning (and gelato stuffed breads for breakfast when it is hot).

But it is never wrong to have pizza for dinner.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:32 AM
  #47  
 
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<>

no, I think they are stupid and anyone who cares at all what someone else chooses to drink at a certain type of day is shallow and of bad character, and has little to do with their mind other than criticize others.

The thing about drinking alcohol really has to do with guessing who is an alcoholic and might need to cut back, and that isn't American, either. Having rules about when you can have a certain kind of cup of coffee is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of. What's going to happen if you break this "rule", anyway? Endure the snickers of vain and shallow Italians who have nothing better to do to occupy themselves?
Christina is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:37 AM
  #48  
 
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When it comes to fish and cheese, a lot depends on which fish and which cheese and where you are.

In Venice it is not uncommon to find baked fish dishes with cheese. But the type of fish is firm-fleshed not-very distinctive tasting fish and the cheese is a very young and milky melting cheese from the Alps.

Parmigiano Reggiano is an overwhelming aged cheese that actually pairs with very few other proteins. It is best when it is standing pretty much solo in a dish. Throughout the Emilia-Romagna, where the cheese is produced, it is either the major protein ingredient in a dish, or eaten alone in chunks, it is just a minimal dusting on a dish.

Salmon is not native to Italy and while people enjoy eating it as a special treat, sometimes with some ricotta, but there is no traditional pasta dish that incorporates it. That is not being an arbiter of taste. It would be like putting pineapple on your pizza or making your polenta with blue corn. It's not a recognizably Italian dish.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:42 AM
  #49  
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Thanks Christina, most kind.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:45 AM
  #50  
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A word I think we have not yet used here is "customary". What I and others are saying is that certain things in this country are customary. That's all. No need for rudeness.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:50 AM
  #51  
 
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Christina,

It is not the coffee, it is the milk that is the issue.

You can rail all you want about another country's culture and custom, but the fact is that Italian culture has a very long, long tradition of paying attention to the condition of the stomach, and what aids digestion and what hinders it. It is EMBEDDED in the entire idea and history of eating and nutrition.

Italians do not eat for taste alone. They do not think that is healthy. Please don't forget that a lot of the Italian population is lactose intolerant, so when and in what form they ingest diary products is of long standing concern.

There are a great many food combinations that the "shallow" people of other countries like America or the UK are amused and even repelled to see someone else consuming. Most "shallow" visitors to Italy point and giggle when they encounter pizza topped with fried potatoes, and go berserk to find heads still on the fish they ordered when it arrives at the table in an Italian restaurant. (I eat the eyes, don't you?)

I think with your posts you are only displaying that you don't travel much or, when you do, you first put a paper-bag on your head to make sure you aren't disturbed by encountering the attitudes and ways of people whose culture simply is theirs and not yours.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:57 AM
  #52  
 
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Appia : don't worry. The same snarky people will soon give lessons on how to dress and live like one of these shallow and vain locals.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:57 AM
  #53  
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My Italian wife eats the eyes. I'm afraid I've not been able to bring myself to do it yet. But I'm working on it.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 07:59 AM
  #54  
 
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Appia,

"Customary" is not how your first post was worded.

You should not be surpised by some of the reactions.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:02 AM
  #55  
 
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I sometimes have a cafe macchiato in Italy I agree that milky drinks are really morning things. At lunch and afterwards, I prefer wine or possibly an espresso
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:17 AM
  #56  
 
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I have given up asking what "je ne sais quoi" means. Everyone I ask just says "I don't know."
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:18 AM
  #57  
 
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I am baffled at the hostile tone Appia is encountering! I am enjoying the discussion of national customs. As an adult, I assume I am free to eat and drink what I want, when I want, so does that really need to be emphasized in such a pugnacious way?? At any rate, that fact doesn't preclude learning and chatting about what other cultures eat and drink, and when.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:29 AM
  #58  
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AJPeabody: I like it!

Cathinjoetown: I'm not sure I understand what you are getting at. My original question was a follow on from Fodor's own list "Ten things NOT to do in Italy". They are pretty emphatic in what they say and so was I (if that is what you mean). But of course it's all based on custom, tradition, unwritten rules, call it what you will.
For example, this extract from Fodor's piece on food is quite emphatic:
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I don't think my language was any stronger than that.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:41 AM
  #59  
 
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Emphatic is what I meant.
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Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:43 AM
  #60  
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Anyway the topic was intended to be a lighthearted discussion over the New Year holiday. I was asking if anyone had heard of any other no-nos during their trips to Italy.
I can't count the number of times I've repeated that tourists can do as they please.
I'm sorry if I've raised a few hackles.
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