Italian Food Culture

Wondering what culture surrounds the unique Italian cuisine? Find out how the eating etiquettes of the Italians and the traditions that surround the activity.

Just as there is a special art to preparing top class Italian food, there is also the art of eating Italian food. Over the years the Italians have developed their own culture surrounding the eating of their food. It is a well known fact that Italians are very serious about their food and why shouldn’t they be? After all, it is the food that brings together friends and families after a hard day at work in the office. This is why we find Italian people to be very fond of spending long hours at the table and meal times occuring at a leisurely pace over the span of a couple of hours.

Eating is the favorite past time cum recreational activity for families. Unlike faster paced societies in the world meal time in Italy is a time to kick back and relax. When the Italians sit down to eat they literally forget about the world and are in no hurry whatsoever to gobble down their food and get back to work. This is why the culture of Italian food is relaxed and slow paced with families getting the chance to bond with each other.

Family Meals

In cases where the extended family is being invited over for dinner the preparations get underway well in advance. The tradition in Italy is such that the hosts generally prepare a lot more food than could actually be consumed during the event. One of the strikingly different things about the food culture in Italy is that the event does not get underway unless and until all the members on the guest list have arrived and all the food has been prepared. You would often see children pinching little bites off the table in anticipation of the food.

Ten Course Meals

The actual sitting down and eating process on an Italian dinner table is long, relaxed and spread over a couple of hours. To be precise the average Italian meal is three hours long during which the participants consume their food in a many as ten courses. Another prevalent tradition in Italian homes is that each guest brings with himself an interesting homemade dish as well which adds to the already overwhelming menu. Since the courses are so numerous they are usually small in quantity so as to be able to get a taste of everything. The food is served in large platters which makes it easy to reach but as a guest you ought to be careful not to stuff yourself on the first few servings because there is always more to come on an Italian dinner table.

It is fascinating to witness the culture that has developed around Italian food over the years. Even the people that are sitting down to eat on the table have their unsaid places as the elders sit at the head of the table with the younger generation sitting at the center of the table and the women rushing back and forth from the kitchen. Most people like to stay on and keep talking even after the meal has ended and the dinner party goes on for as long as there is an after taste in your mouth.

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Alyssa says:

Thank you very much! I have a project about the food in Italy and this helped me a lot, unlike some other websites!! Anyway thank you I think I have all I need.