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What is one to say about June? The time of perfect young summer, the fulfilment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.

Gertrude Jekyll
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
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Bella Italia

mheredgemheredge WordsmithHere and therePosts: 25,675 mod
Sometimes referred to as lo Stivale (The Boot) or Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country), Italy has a lot to be very proud of. From the Romans to the Renaissance with famous names like Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli, Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus and more, along with Greece, it is accepted as the birthplace of Western culture.

As well as this, Italy has one of the very best cuisine (if not the best) cuisine in the world. There is a huge variety, depending where you go too. Cuisine is an art and is definitely far more than just pizza and spaghetti. I knew that Italy has some excellent cheeses, but I am impressed to learn that there are nearly 800 kinds - 500 more than France!

I'm not sure how true these stereotypes are however.

1. Italians Can’t Live Without Pasta
2. Italians Talk With Their Hands
3. Italians are All About ‘La Famiglia’
4. Italians are Habitually Late
5. Italians are Die-hard Football Fans
6. Italians Love a Good Cappuccino
7. Italians are Obsessed with Fashion
8. Italians aren’t Scared of Public Affection
9. Italians Love the Opera
10. Italians Can’t Get Enough of Dante’s Divine Comedy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italy
http://wikitravel.org/en/Italy
http://takelessons.com/blog/italian-stereotypes-z09
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Comments

  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 674 ✭✭✭
    What about this for the theme song?
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 4,677 mod
    There are a lot of stereotypes about Italians, but when I was there, the main thing that I noticed was just how friendly they were. I felt welcome no matter where I went, and that was a breath of fresh air.
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited February 9
    I have to disagree.

    I personally don't think much of Italian food, not in or out of Italy. In fact, the food I've had in Italy was worse, I think, and the restaurants I've eaten at came highly recommended by locals. Typical Italian food looks good, it smells good, but it disappoints greatly in taste.

    I also don't find the Italian landscape charming in the least. It's rather scraggly and plain, in my view. Of course, there are differences between different parts of Italy, but in general, it's a disappointment. I find it hard to see anything "bella" about a large part of Italy.

    Italian architecture and cityscape is also nothing to write home about. Damp patches on crumbly walls, huge chunks of missing plaster and 200 electrical cords strapped to corners may be picturesque to some....I guess. Historic architecture seems to bounce between boringly fortress-like and overwrought ornateness. Also a matter of taste and it's not mine.

    To their credit, however, the Italian sense of design and color arrangement is unbeatable.

    As to stereotypes:

    1. Italians Can’t Live Without Pasta --> probably true. We all find it hard to live without the basic foods we grew up with.

    2. Italians Talk With Their Hands --> they are very expressive, but not all of them wave their hands around. Some of them hardly move their body at all when speaking.

    3. Italians are All About ‘La Famiglia’ --> family is hugely important. But you can say that about any country around the Med. Ask a Greek, an Egyptian or a Spaniard.

    4. Italians are Habitually Late --> No, they simply don't take the clock as seriously as others do.

    5. Italians are Die-hard Football Fans --> Yes times infinity.

    6. Italians Love a Good Cappuccino --> You are obviously not Italian. Certain types of coffees are to be drunk only at certain times of day. Drinking a cappuccino before lunch, for example, is something only tourists do and makes Italians cringe. Italians are more fans of espresso.

    7. Italians are Obsessed with Fashion --> obsessed, no. They just care more than others about how they look and have an impeccable eye for good design.

    8. Italians aren’t Scared of Public Affection --> correct times infinity

    9. Italians Love the Opera --> Most of them can whistle or sing the most famous of opera tunes, but that doesn't mean they have a season ticket to La Scala.

    10. Italians Can’t Get Enough of Dante’s Divine Comedy --> I can't say about this one, it seems to be an important point of reference. Most Italians I know are more interested in modern Italian literature.


    And could you remove the disturbing photo of the frog soup you posted on the Favorite Animals thread, please? Or at least give a reason why you can't (or won't)?
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    I agree @GemmaRowlands (and I'm not just saying this because I've met @Igor_Lovera and @filauzio).

    I'm still trying to work out whether you're joking @Larry_the_Zebra. I seem to have very differentexperiences of Italy. The driving leaves a lot to be desired, but compared with Asia, it's not so bad.

    I've had some extremely good food in Italy (I can't think of any that weren't good, except once in Trieste where the grilled squid was a bit oily). I have tasted the loveliest ham from Tuscany, excellent pesto from Genoa, and was in fish paradise in Sicily. The landscape might not be quite as impressive as the Himalayas, but the mountains bordering the French Alps are very attractive. Lake Como is pretty and certainly the coast is very attractive in many places. When it comes to architecture, starting with the Roman leftovers, moving on to great cathedrals in places like Florence or palaces in Venice, how can you not like Italian architecture?

    Okay I agree with you on the stereotypes, which can apply to many people regardless of nationality. But what about the music, the art and rich cultural heritage (more World Heritage Sites in Italy than anywhere else in the world).

    I booked my train ticket to Milan in a couple of weeks. Watch out Milano, here I come!
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited February 9
    @mheredge What about the photo of the frog soup? Any reason you are avoiding answering me?

    And no, I'm not joking about Italy. I'm terribly underwhelmed by the place and find it hard to join in the communal swooning and glassy-eyed worshipping of it. As I said, it's a matter of taste if you like all the ornate gingerbreading the wealthy left behind on their palaces and cathedrals. I don't.
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    I removed it as soon as I saw your message here @Larry_the_Zebra. I don't get notified when anyone @ me, so sorry for any delay in responding.
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited February 9
    @mheredge Thank you! That was the third time I'd @ -ed you about it. And enjoy your trip to Italy. We may not agree on its rank in the fantastic scale, but it's certainly worth a visit. :)
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    It's best to send a private message if you need to contact anyone, as these then arrive as emails @Larry_the_Zebra.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 4,677 mod
    I agree with @mheredge I think there is a lot of wonderful food in Italy. I was in my element when I was there. I eat a lot of Italian food at home, too, but it isn't the same as the genuine thing.
  • [Ex Member][Ex Member] Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited February 11
    @GemmaRowlands Do you eat meat? I'm a vegetarian, and the over-dominance of white-flour pasta, white bread, and the same limited spices again and again that all somehow taste like dirt to me (the spicing of cibatta bread for example) is a little hard to stomach.

    French cuisine is hundreds of times better, as is British cuisine. I'll take a mushroom and cheese pasty with mushy peas or a plough man's lunch over anything Italian any day of the week (and I'm not British).

    But in the interest of fairness I will admit that I am the only human being alive who hates pizza. All pizza. Chalk it up to differences in taste buds!
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,057 ✭✭✭✭
    I love spaghetti and pizza. I'm looking for good youtube videos..
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,057 ✭✭✭✭


    (1) What are the green stuff he's frying in the pan first?
    (2) What are the small pieces of white chip-like things poured into the pan in the latter half of cooking?
    (3) What are they cooking anyway?
    (4) Does the giant pan something rare or do you see those quite normally in Italy?
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    @takafromtokyo I think @Igor_Lovera might have to answer your questions. He is a chef in Italy and will know.

    I have to disagree about British cuisine coming anywhere near as good as Italian cuisine. For a start, the ingredients in the markets in Italy are so much better. It's hard to find markets in Britain these days. I still can't get over the wonderful fish market in Catania and the delicious hams and cheeses I found in a village just outside Florence.

    2077.JPEG
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,057 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge
    Is this a picture of a fish market in Italy? Or, Catana, the very place? It's amazing if they are selling fish of that size in a whole to ordinary housewives. 30 or 40 years ago, it wasn't that rare for housewives in Japan to buy fish in a whole, but people have lost the skills of how to slice fish apart nowadays. Usually, supermarkets in Japan have a kitchen and the staff at the supermarket do all the work.
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    Yes @takafromtokyo the picture is from the market in Catania. I stayed very close by and had a wonderful time wandering around the market, deciding what to cook up for my lunch at the hostel's kitchen. I came home with a few recipe books which are now very much among my favourites that I use over and over again.

    I agree @mpassala, there's a tremendous variety depending where in Italy you go. I am getting very excited about my trip next week. Especially as I will be meeting up with a couple of friends who really enjoy good food.
  • mohit_singhmohit_singh Posts: 2,170 ✭✭✭✭
    I think @torellip can give us great Insight on Italian food and cuisine.
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    I'm dreaming of the fine food in Milan next week @mohit_singh. I've just sent reminders to my friend of the restaurants we've booked. One in particular is very swish. I'm now worrying what I have to wear to not let down my very smart Singaporean friends.
  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 674 ✭✭✭
    @mpassala
    Mediterranean is fascinating! Then what kinds of fish are popular there? How do people eat it?
  • mpassalampassala Posts: 124 ✭✭
    There is plenty of them, actually i'm not an expert about this topic, anyway in my area (Tyrrenhian sea) is common to fish octopus, seabass, orata and people with fishing boat will take a lot of tuna (love it) and swordfish too.
    Obviously we also use to eat seafood, (clams and mussel) usually we will cook them with pasta, there are different recipes to cook them.
    I know that usually seabass and orata are cooked in the oven (together with some potatos) or with salt cooking method, while tuna could be eaten raw with a little of lemon juice on it (it's really awesome when it is fresh) or cooked in a pan. About octopus could be cooked in many ways, my favourite local restaurant use to sear it in the pan using some sort of sauce (they never told me what it is), the taste is terrific and its consistency is crunchy but still soft.
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,057 ✭✭✭✭
    Isn't the Colosseum located in Rome?
    I heard there was an enormous statue of the Emperor Nero, which is completely destroyed and doesn't exist today. I also heard that the stadium was sometimes filled with water and a bloody battle was actually fought with all kinds of ships and sea animals.

    How were they able to manage such an event thousands of years ago?
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    I'm liking my chops at your lovely descriptions of the fish @mpassala. The fish market in Nice is pretty good but they don't have such an impressive selection of swordfish. I love squid. My Spanish friend showed me how she made it cooked with its ink. Delicious.
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    Yes yes the Colosseum is in Rome @takafromtokyo. It's magnificent though the much smaller one in Tunisia at El Djem is impressive as this also very intact.

    Rome is fascinating as ancient sits side by side with modern. The city is very vibrant. It's not a museum but very much a living city.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 4,677 mod

    @GemmaRowlands Do you eat meat? I'm a vegetarian, and the over-dominance of white-flour pasta, white bread, and the same limited spices again and again that all somehow taste like dirt to me (the spicing of cibatta bread for example) is a little hard to stomach.



    French cuisine is hundreds of times better, as is British cuisine. I'll take a mushroom and cheese pasty with mushy peas or a plough man's lunch over anything Italian any day of the week (and I'm not British).



    But in the interest of fairness I will admit that I am the only human being alive who hates pizza. All pizza. Chalk it up to differences in taste buds!

    Not really. At one time I was a complete vegetarian, but I have anaemia which means I need more iron.. and meat is a good way of getting that, so I have started having a little more of it.
  • takafromtokyotakafromtokyo Posts: 2,057 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge

    Is "ink" of squid that blackish thing the squids let out when they are surprised and try to escape?
  • YellowtailYellowtail Posts: 674 ✭✭✭
    @mpassala
    Thank you! I will keep it in mind for the next time I go to an Italian restaurant.
    I'm a little disappointed to know that eating raw fish is not the privilige for Japanese.
    And I also like octopus. But I eat only boiled or raw one. The seared octopus from the restaurant sounds really delicious!
  • mheredgemheredge Wordsmith Here and therePosts: 25,675 mod
    Squid and octopus seared is delicious @Yellowtail. When I looked up recipes for cuttlefish the majority recommended long, slow cooking as perhaps this is a more meaty kind of octopus. (My Kiwi friend was adamant cuttlefish could be fried for a short time very hot too, but I guess it might depend on whether it's sliced thinly enough).

    A blog waxes lyrical about the food at one of the places I've booked for my friends next week. I do like the look of this.


  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 354 ✭✭✭
    > @Larry_the_Zebra said:
    > 7. Italians are Obsessed with Fashion --> obsessed, no. They just care more than others about how they look and have an impeccable eye for good design.

    "An impeccable eye" is much, isn't it? Speaking about the others some of them just don't care at all, like many English-speaking women. Check the article from The Daily Mail
    Picture: i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/02/15/23/article-4228976-3D444A9800000578-163_964x397.jpg
    Article: www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4228976/Does-splashing-cash-make-happy.html

    ##2, 3, 5 shouldn't wear a dress (excluding the full length variant) at all. Women of their age should know which garments suit their bodies and which don't. #4 is of Latino descent and she looks well.

    Alternatively, look at this old Italian gentleman ( I don't have photos of Italian women now)
    s017.radikal.ru/i427/1509/d0/d7dc0b7c39f4.jpg
    La classe non è acqua as the Italians say.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 4,677 mod
    mheredge said:

    Squid and octopus seared is delicious @Yellowtail. When I looked up recipes for cuttlefish the majority recommended long, slow cooking as perhaps this is a more meaty kind of octopus. (My Kiwi friend was adamant cuttlefish could be fried for a short time very hot too, but I guess it might depend on whether it's sliced thinly enough).

    A blog waxes lyrical about the food at one of the places I've booked for my friends next week. I do like the look of this.


    Wow, that looks so good. I will admit that it isn't usually the type of thing that I would eat, but that does look very nice indeed.
  • mpassalampassala Posts: 124 ✭✭
    I love squid too. I forgot to mention it in my post, but actually i never saw it cooked in that curious way. I bet it is delicious. How do you manage to cook it in its own ink?
    In Italy there is a recipe where rice is mixed with squid ink, so that rice become almost completely black.
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