How to be Italian -Health beliefs

When you’ve lived your whole life in a place, you might end up assimilating a very peculiar set of beliefs about health and survival. Those beliefs are very hard to explain and even harder to eradicate, but they are fundamental to understand what being Italian truly means. This is: How to be Italian!

How to be Italian with food

To behave like a true Italian, you shall never drink cappuccino during a meal. It’s all fun and games, but that splash of milk and caffeine are bound to ruin an otherwise delicate balance of dairy and savoury and cause indigestion. On a waiter disapproval scale, at the bottom you can find drinking white wine with red meat, eye roll for tap water, eye twitch for well cooked pasta, but they will not, under any circumstance, bring you a cappuccino during a meal. 

At the top of the disapproval scale, indicated by dropping their pen and notebook and shoving you out of their restaurant, is asking for ‘Spaghetti bolognese’. Don’t try to order them because they belong to the magical world of Italian-American food, along with penne Alfredo, pizza pie, and ‘latte’. I think you all know, by now, that ‘latte’ is just ‘milk’ in Italy.

Bonus tip: if you want to break your waiter, simply order ‘coffee’. They will keep staring at you waiting for more information. Short? Long? With milk? Hot? Cold? Cappuccino? No foam? Extra chocolate? Decaf? Or they’ll auto-pilot your order and bring you a short black espresso, and you better like it.

Another belief, deeply rooted into every Italian above the age of twenty-five, is the draft. Once you start thinking about it you lost the game. Everyone pictures old Italian ladies with shawls over their shoulders; it’s not a fashion statement, it’s functional! Cold air on your neck will most surely probably cause stiff neck. Cold air on your ears is almost a granted headache, if not a cold. Going to bed with wet hair is a blatant suicide attempt. Going out without a singlet is just rude towards your mum who nurtured and loved you all your life.

To be a true Italian you also need to hold your grandma or mum’s cooking as high as MasterChef contestants hold whatever is hidden under the silver cover plate.

Bonus tip: to be a perfect Italian you need to be really, really, angry at foreign interpretations of Italian food. Everyone enjoys ‘Spot the vegan’, and finding the Italian is just as easy.

Lastly, as an Italian, you should never take a painkiller on an empty stomach. Again, you might certainly perhaps end up sick if you do otherwise. No one could know for sure as, allegedly, no one lived to tell.

Image: via

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