27 Joys And Struggles Of Growing Up In An Italian-American Family

Pasta. So much pasta.

1. When your friends came over they were asked no fewer than six times if they wanted something to eat.

(Which used to embarrass you, even though it’s why your friends loved coming over.)

2. Meat and cheese — in wide varieties — were a constant staple in your refrigerator.

3. Your holiday dinners looked a little different from everyone else’s.

Less mashed potatoes, more antipasti; less turkey, more capon.

4. And it was always a struggle getting your mom or nonna to actually join the table and eat.

5. You looked forward to struffoli, pignoli, and anginetti every Christmas.

6. And not to be THAT GUY, but you were on that Nutella tip long before it was trendy.

You know you're Italian when your relatives send you a 10 pound jar of Nutella.

— Graziella Ferrara (@fratzichellaaa)

7. Sunday was a day for making meatballs…

You know you're Italian when grandma makes meatballs for Sunday breakfast ❤️

— Kate Granata (@kategranata)

8. …and stocking up on so much sauce, which you called gravy.

9. When you were little, this was your favorite way to help.

Nonna just made enough pasta to feed all of Oakland county so if you're hungry for a nice italian treat, let me know

— Allegra Picano (@allegrapicano)

10. And Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or Bobby Darin played in the background while everything was being cooked.

11. Leftovers were stored in these.

12. You had coffee after every dinner, and it was always made in one of these.

You're not Italian if your mom or grandma did not have one of these:

— Italian Girl (@ItalianGirlSays)

13. And if you were really celebrating, it was sambuca with coffee beans.

(It always smelled amazing and tasted horrifying.)

14. There was probably a framed picture of a pope or saint, and definitely at least one cross, hanging in your grandma’s house.

15. You have multiple cousins named Maria, Christina, Vinny, or Michael, and at least one Uncle Tony.

In a room full of Italian women, it's a tad useless to put your name on your cup if it's Maria

— Maria T (@mariuch25)

16. You can expect to repeat and spell out your last name whenever anyone hears it for the first time.

If I had a dollar for every time someone pronounced my name wrong #italianproblems

— Life of an Italian (@TheItalianLife_)

17. And you’ve heard every joke about how it sounds like a kind of pasta.

18. Your grandfather (aka nonno) drank wine (aka “grape juice”) out of this, and he always gave you a sip.

#YouKnowYoureItalianWhen you pour your wine out of this... @TroubledItalian #ItalianProblems

— carissa niro (@cln0711)

19. You’ve had to explain on more than one occasion that your family is not in the mafia.

20. And that this was not an accurate portrayal of Italian-Americans.

MTV / Via mtv.com

21. When your friends started talking about low-carb diets, you knew it wouldn’t exactly pan out for you.

Too much pasta in the aquino household #italianproblems

— giulia (@Giulia_Natalie)

22. Actually, good luck in general if you ever wanted to “watch what you eat.”

23. You know how to pronounce things like “gnocchi,” “bruschetta,” and “tagliatelle,” which means you’re the one to order when you and friends eat at an Italian restaurant.

24. You never understood why your friends’ houses were so quiet.

Shouting was the baseline for volume.

25. Personal boundaries (physical AND emotional) among family were pretty lax, since there were just so many of you.

Italian problems

— Life of an Italian (@TheItalianLife_)

26. And, yes, you are guilty of talking with your hands.

27. But you love every minute of it, and can’t wait to carry on the traditions with the next generation.

wanderluster / ThinkStock

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