Time to revisit and add to the list of Stuff Italian People Like --putting a twist on the popular Stuff White People Like Stuff Italian People Like ---
1. -- The Italian Goodbye -- otherwise known as - The Long Goodbye. Italians love this one because it illustrates the level of anxiety we feel departing from our friends and loved ones. This one starts somewhere after the last expresso or grappa is downed and people start making the sounds, if not the appearance, of actually leaving. The ritual continues with a nod towards an exit strategy, if in name only, for another hour or so as people begin to get coats and make motions, if not actual movement, towards the door. Now, the time waiting to get to the door ostensibly contains the actual time frame of a whole other party in itself since but in no way implies people are actually leaving. However, once at the door it looks like some weird indoor/outdoor cocktail party as people are seen standing with either jackets on or in hand for another hour or so chatting and saying good bye to each other before the actual leaving begins. This odd ritual could continue even longer outside, past dark, or even until new light until the last person realizes a new dawn is on the horizon and the morning paper has been delivered.
2. Pasta -- This is a no-brainer. Italians love pasta in every shape and form and with hundreds from which to choose, the Italians love discussing which type of pasta goes with which kind of sauce --or gravy-- and which combination would be a sacrilege. And please, don't start on cooking methods --- al dente is a god-given right unless you are an infant or the infirmed elderly without teeth and even then god forbid.
3. The Food Expert -- All Italians consider themselves food gourmets and take their food seriously. Where to find the best cannoli, authentic pizza, proper ravioli? Obviously, the answer to this one is --- our own mother's or grandmother's kitchen --- because mamma and nonna make the BEST whatever. But, should we have to find another source, every Italian loves to impart their knowledge of the places to find the freshest produce, meats, and authentic sausages from the home country in little out of the way places no one knows about. Need lamb's brain for that Calabrian delicacy Grandpa enjoys? They will know just the spot.
4. Old Grievances -- If there is something Italians love more then family itself. That is the right to discuss and rehash the slights and offenses those family members have inflicted on said person over the years, no matter how inoffensive or egregious those may be. It is as sacred as Il Papa himself to hold these grudges through the years, to nurture them, hold them close and start crying at the mention of said persons name at any family gathering. Like family heirlooms, these wrongs are passed on from generation to generation. If Italians were an animal species they would be elephants because an Italian wronged never forgets -- he may forgive, because he is obligated to like a good Catholic -- but he never forgets. Mama mia...I love her, but she so brokka mia heart... Granted, this usually never stops you from expressing your love for them even if you may not have spoken to them for twenty or so years. That would be wrong.
4. Guilt - Where would we be without Guilt. Like gravy, guilt flows in the blood of every Italian and permeates everything they do. Likely influenced by the Catholic religion where everything you may even think about doing requires a penance of at least a few Hail Mary's and Our Father's to cleanse the guilt from your soul. Guilt gets passed down in Italian families, whether it is Mother to child or familial guilt at whatever responsibilities one feels to someone else, guilt is the life blood of many a relationship...some say, the fuel the keeps together those ties that bind. No need to fight this one, just accept it as much as you do, let's say, Sunday dinners because no matter how hard you may try...this one's not going away anytime soon.
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