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5 Italian Foods that Don't Exist in Italy

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Chiara Tribulato •

July 7, 2017 •

I'm sure many of you will be upset by this. But what I'm going to tell you is actually the truth. The first time I came in the United States was for a period of 6 months as a researcher at UC Berkeley. I really love cooking, so the first thing I asked my new friends was: << Guys, tonight I'm going to cook Italian for you. What typical Italian dish would you like to try? >>. The answer I received was Fettuccine Alfredo. << What is fettuccine Alfredo?>> I replied. My friends were so shocked by my answer. They thought I didn't understand because at that time my English level was pretty basic. So they brought me in a Grocery store and they showed me what they were talking about. We don't have Fettuccine Alfredo in Italy. Sorry about that, guys! You might think, well, Italy is plenty of regions, maybe this is not common in your hometown. No, it's not that. Italian Food is the result of millenary traditions. All the dishes in this list are not Italian traditional. This means that if you go to any Italian restaurant (in Italy) asking for it, you will discover that we don't know what are you talking about. Curious? Here we go with the list.

Fettuccine Alfredo's story is very nice. However, if you actually go to Italy, you will find out that this is not a popular dish either in restaurants and among Italians. It was invented by Alfredo De Lelio for his wife. After she gave birth to their first son, she was weak, so Alfredo decided to make for her some fresh pasta with something energical like butter and Parmigiano. Alfredo's wife really liked it and suggested to his husband to insert it in their restaurant's menu. So he did. The reason why Fettuccine Alfredo became popular in the USA is that one day two American actors, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, tasted this dish during their honeymoon in Rome. They liked it, so they made him the gift of two gold tableware as a tribute to his friendly and warm welcome. Since then Fettuccine Alfredo became famous in the USA and only in the USA. In fact, in Italy, you can find it exclusively in Alfredo's restaurant or in other touristic restaurants that try to attract American tourists. So next time you will go to Rome you'd better try Cacio e Pepe or Carbonara.

If you are in Italy in a Pizzeria and you order a Pizza Pepperoni, you are going to receive a Pizza with Bell peppers on top. The term "pepperoni" is a borrowing of peperoni, the plural of peperone, the Italian word for bell pepper. The first use of "pepperoni" to refer to a sausage dates to 1919 for an American variety of salami, made from cured pork and beef mixed together and seasoned with paprika or other chili pepper. Another trick, the word salami (used in the USA as a noun) in Italian is the plural of salame. So if you want to get a pizza with Salame in Italy, you have to ask for a "Pizza con Salame Piccante". And be careful because when you ask for salame piccante in Italy (Hot Salami) you are going to get a really spicy salami! The classic Pizza names that you would find in any Pizzeria Menù are Margherita, Capricciosa, 4 Stagioni, 4 Formaggi, Siciliana, Caprese, Crudo, Frutti di Mare and Ortolana. If you would like to know more about the ingredients of any of them, leave a comment below.
Here is Another legend about Italian cuisine. We do have Spaghetti in Italy, we do have meatballs but we don't have them in the same plate. We call meatballs, POLPETTE. Polpette are slightly different. First of all, they are smaller and they are primarily eaten as a meal itself (plain) or in soups and made with any kinds of meat, also with turkey and fish, and most of the time they are fried. The reason why Spaghetti with meatballs are known as an Italian dish is that between 1880 and 1920 about 4 million Italians immigrated to America. If in Italy meat was a rare luxury, in America meat became a common food. Immigrated Italians passed from impoverished economic circumstances to a richer one. As a result, polpette became bigger, the ratio between meat and breadcrumb changed. At that time the other most common ingredient was pasta (spaghetti) that usually were made with Marinara Sauce. So Spaghetti with meatballs is born. Next time you go to an "Italian Restaurant" and you find in the menu Spaghetti with meatballs, be aware that you are eating Italian-American food and not traditional Italian Food.
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