27 Signs You Grew Up Eating Food In An Italian-American Family

Pasta, olive oil, cheese, espresso, and wine: the five basic food groups.

1. When you hear “gravy,” you think this:

Annalisa Antonini / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 29076234@N00

Not this:

sisterbeer / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 90793868@N00

2. Growing up, there was only one type of oil in your cabinets:

angelsimon/angelsimon / Getty Images

And it was pretty much used on/with everything.

3. Any time you had friends over, your parents would set out a five-course meal for them.

jura13/jura13 / Getty Images

4. Engagement? Funeral? New baby? New dog? Everything’s an excuse to eat.

Todd Williamson / Getty Images

5. Pasta is always an appetizer. Even at Thanksgiving.

Giovanni JL / Creative Commons / Via

6. And you knew better than to ever refuse a bowl of homemade pasta — or worse, ask for whole wheat — unless you wanted the malocchio. / Creative Commons / Via

7. Your nonna always had enough gravy stored in the freezer to feed a small town for weeks.

Wayne Marshall / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 37701355@N00

8. And her recipe for it trumps the recipes of other grandmas (and had one special ingredient, like lamb neck bone).

avlxyz / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: 10559879@N00

9. At least one person in your family owns a butcher shop…

Paul Hackett / Reuters

10. Or a bakery…

kzenon/kzenon / Getty Images

11. Or a pizzeria.

12. The espresso you grew up drinking is more like crystal meth than actual coffee.

Peter Landon/Peter Landon / Getty Images

13. Nothing store-bought can compete with your family’s homemade desserts: struffoli, canoli, zeppole, rainbow cookies.

LOL, trying going low-carb.

14. Even at the table, utensils in hand, everyone talks with their hands, gesticulating wildly during conversation.

::taking cover for flying forks/pieces of tomato::

15. Your Sweet 16 probably had a Venetian hour.

And your first Communion probably did too.

16. When all the other kids had ham & Swiss and bologna sandwiches in their lunch boxes, you had mortadella and mozzarella.

17. Your mom calls you every single day to ask if you’ve eaten/what you’ve eaten/if you’ve been eating enough. Even if you’re 40.

18. Wine was your first alcoholic beverage. (You were probably 5.)


19. And regardless of your tolerance, two sips of your uncle’s homemade wine and you’re blacked out for the night.


20. On Christmas Eve, you’re more excited about the Feast of the Seven Fishes than opening presents.


21. And pumped for the Christmas Panettone.

Hartung / Creative Commons / Via

22. You may not know a single word of Italian, but you somehow find it necessary to pronounce “mozzarella,” “manicotti,” and “prosciutto” as though you were born in the Tuscan countryside.

23. Italian wedding favors always have those tooth-destroying almond candies attached to them.

24. You didn’t realize other kinds of broccoli existed besides broccoli rabe until you were a teenager.

Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune / MCT

25. Fresh basil, tomatoes, or parsley usually came from one of your relatives’ gardens.

Joe Fudge/Newport News Daily Press / MCT

And was a major source of pride for them.

26. You usually had to cancel all your Sunday plans for family dinner time. / Via Iwona_kellie / Creative Commons

But it was always totally worth it, of course!

27. And you can’t wait to pass the traditions on to a family of your own.


(Though you know that despite your most valiant attempts, your best dish will never be anywhere near as good as your nonna’s.)

Check out more articles on!

  Your Reaction?


    Now Buzzing