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You are Italian when

Thursday, December 06, 2012

You may have seen a number of the items below before, but after seeing comedian Tammy Pescatelli last weekend and speaking with her about the common traits of our Italian families (posted some pictures with her, Wife and me), I wanted to share the items below. Both Tammy’s and my Grandparents immigrated to the USA from Sicily. Our parents were first generation Americans. It is funny to me that my 3 children feel the same way about my parents as I did about my Grandparents. Tammy Pescatelli married another Italian-American. My parents wanted to me marry an Italian girl but I knew I never would. Two Italians in one marriage is one too many.

You are Italian when:

• You carry your lunch in a plastic bag you get from a store because you can't fit two cappicola (Italian ham) sandwiches or leftover pasta, 2 oranges, 2 bananas and pizzelles (Italian waffle cookies) into a regular lunch bag
• Your mechanic, plumber, electrician, accountant, travel agent and lawyer are all your cousins
• You have at least 5 cousins living in the same town or street and all 5 of those cousins are named after your Grandfather or Grandmother
• You or your relatives are on a first name basis with at least 8 banquet hall owners
• You netted thousands of dollars from your first communion and confirmation
• Your Grandfather has fig trees
• You eat Sunday dinner at 2:00 PM
o The table is set with sparkling clean everyday dishes and it doesn't matter if they don't match
o All the utensils go on the right side of the plate and the napkin goes on the left
o A clean kitchen towel is at Grandom and Grandpop’s (Nonna's & Papa's) plates because they won't use napkins
o Homemade wine and bottles of 7-UP are on the table
o First course, Antipasto then change plates
o Second course, macaroni with tomato sauce (all pasta is called macaroni) then change plates
o Third course, meat, potatoes and vegetables then change plates
o THEN, and only then - NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL would you eat the salad drenched in homemade oil & vinegar dressing and then change plates
o Next course, fruit & nuts - in the shell - on paper plates or napkins because you run out of the real plates
o Last is coffee with anisette espresso for some and “American” coffee for the rest - with biscotti (hard cookies) to dunk in the coffee
o The kids go out to play
o The men go lay down and sleep so soundly that you could do brain surgery on them without anesthesia
o The women clean-up after the meal in an amazing display of organization, each knowing exactly what they are to do without any instructions being given and the only conversation is the latest gossip
• On Christmas Eve you eat only seafood and then at midnight a feast of Italian meats, sausage and cold cuts is served
• Your Grandmother and Mother’s meatballs are the best
• You've been hit with a wooden spoon and had a shoe thrown at you
• Your Grandmother or Mother never threw a baseball in their life, but could nail you wherever they aimed with a shoe thrown from the kitchen while you were in the living room
• Plastic runners are on the carpet and/or plastic is on some furniture at your Grandparents house
• You know how to pronounce "manicotti" and "mozzarella"
• You understand "bada-bing " and "bada-boom"
• Relatives have great kitchens, but use the $259 stove from Sears in the basement to cook
• There is some sort of religious statue in the hallway, living room, bedroom, front porch or backyard
• Some room in the house has old wedding favors with poofy net bows and stale almonds (they are too pretty to open)
• A portrait of the Pope and Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin hang in the house somewhere
• Meatballs are made with pork, veal and beef because Italians do not care about cholesterol
• Turkey is served on Thanksgiving AFTER the macaroni, manicotti, gnocchi, lasagna, and minestrone or shcarole (escarole) soup
• Everyone speaks with half of the sentences in English, the other half Italian
• Every conversation starts at a normal sound level and gets louder with every exchange

Italian Sign Language:

Response to one comment below:

Yes I am 100 % of Italian heritage. All 4 of my Grandparents were from Southern Italy. When speaking in English or Italian, I and all of my relatives called it tomato sauce if the sauce is based on tomatoes. We have sauces and have never used to term gravy to refer to any sauce that was placed on any pasta.

In my Italian family, gravy is considered an "American" food. Any food that is not Italian or specific to any other country or culture is called "American" food in my family.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
INFLATED 1/10/2013 1:55PM

    LOL! It is wonderful when we are proud of our heritage! "The men go lay down and sleep so soundly that you could do brain surgery on them without anesthesia." I can do this after a big meal, I sleep like I am in a coma.

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PICKIE98 1/1/2013 4:24PM

    Could be Greek or Mexican,, my Ex's aunt had so much plastic on the rugs and furniture that after fifty years, when they died, they removed it all and i t looked like new!!! We never actually walked on the floor or sat on the furniture.. bizarre!

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SWAZY33 12/11/2012 1:21PM

    I married an Italian and have experienced many of these with his family!

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ARCHIMEDESII 12/10/2012 3:26PM

    LOL !! I can't believe I missed this blog !!!

Let me tell you something about MY Italian relatives. They don't do the pasta on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is ALL AMERICAN !! The manicotti, stuffed shells, baked ziti... that's reserved for Christmas dinner. Thanksgiving is for turkey, squash, mashed potatoes, peas, etc. no lasagna. I like having stuffed shells with my turkey !!

LOL !!!


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TINAJANE76 12/9/2012 7:32AM

    I live in Italy and love seeing the differences between Italian-Americans and Italians in Italy--and the regional differences amongst Italians in Italy. One that's TOTALLY the same is the sign language. I think that cuts across everyone and everything! Thanks for sharing this!

Comment edited on: 12/9/2012 7:34:22 AM

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KAYATLANTA2010 12/9/2012 7:22AM

    Great blog!
emoticon emoticon

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    Are you sure you're Italian? "Tomato sauce?" I thought it's called "gravy."

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/8/2012 10:58PM


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JEWELMOTI 12/8/2012 7:38PM

    Basta! Basta! I can't stop laughing!

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DOODIE59 12/7/2012 8:32AM

    I will have to send a copy of this to my coworker who is married to a proud Italian man -- she will get a huge kick out of it:) Thank you!

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MACMOM57 12/7/2012 8:30AM

    I love it thanks for sharing Marty.

Comment edited on: 12/7/2012 8:30:32 AM

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MIRFA71 12/7/2012 1:24AM

    Very funny and interesting. emoticon

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KAYDE53 12/7/2012 12:23AM

    This was funnier than watching "Everybody Loves Raymond"; that's where I usually watch Italian families. I have no Italian relatives. Sounds like fun!

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MOONSTORMER 12/7/2012 12:01AM


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BARB0863 12/6/2012 11:20PM

    Laughing so hard there are tears running down my cheeks!

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FROSTY99 12/6/2012 10:14PM

    Thanks for sharing

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DONNABRIGHT 12/6/2012 10:03PM

    One of my brothers has an Italian spouse and we sort of merged together. I think Italians are so loving and outgoing that they just accept everyone as part of their family. Some of my children's favorite memories are when the two families spent holidays together and we had many of those Sunday dinners that you described so well. Thanks for the reminder.

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    This brings back memories of homemade raisen wine...I was all of 8 when we first got served. It was a small glass and was really good. The oil made your lips feel good. (oil was what sealed the wine in the vat..and the emotions...whoot whooot Good one Marty. I will say one thing, I was full when I finished your blog:)

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FRAN0426 12/6/2012 8:28PM

    Love this blog, it brought back memories of attending celebrations at my one aunts house that married an Italian guy. The first time was their first daughters first communion, bou I ate that delious macoroni and sauce( didn't know more food would follow)--learned fast to leave room for the other courses.

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ACIMPEGGY 12/6/2012 7:59PM

    This is great!

A few could also apply to the Irish on the south side of Chicago!


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CHUBRUB3 12/6/2012 7:32PM

    Yes, I am Italian!

Divertente! I suoni gradicono appena la mia famiglia!

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DARLY55 12/6/2012 7:27PM

    Love this, very funny! Thanks!

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CRYSTALJEM 12/6/2012 6:51PM

    Still laughing, still relating. Thanks for the great read.

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LINDA! 12/6/2012 5:37PM

    OMG, I couldn't stop laughing as I read this. LOL

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JACKIE542 12/6/2012 5:33PM

    I can relate to many of these, except we always had lasagna on Christmas Eve. Thank you for the laughs. emoticon emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/6/2012 5:24PM

    1 out of 22 ain't bad. (I've been hit with a wooden spoon) It was my mothers favorite tool.

This was a good one.

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THOMS1 12/6/2012 5:11PM

    Very funny!

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