10 Fun Food Facts About Italian Cuisine to Make You Say Mamma Mia

April 18, 2018 | London

Who doesn’t love Italian food? Whether it’s a classic carbonara, a heart-warming lasagne, or a perfectly crisp thin-crust pizza, we have so much to thank Italy for. With Uber Eats, it’s easier than ever to unleash your inner Italian and satisfy those cravings.

Must-Read Italian Food Facts

But why just enjoy great food with friends when you can blow their minds as well? With our Italian food facts, you’ll be the smartest person in the room – when it comes to obscure trivia at least – so you can impress your friends whilst chowing down. It’s a win win.

1. Spaghetti and Meatballs: not a traditional italian dish

Did you know that spaghetti and meatballs, thought of as a staple of Italian food culture, and ever present on ristorante menus, is not actually a traditional Italian dish?

Despite what everyone thinks, you won’t find this dish on the menu in Italy, as this so-called classic originated in America.

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2. Upside-Down Bread Brings Bad Luck

It’s a common superstition in Italy that placing a loaf of bread face-down on the table brings bad luck. Some say that this tradition dates to the Middle Ages when bread intended for executioners was turned upside down to differentiate it from that destined for the rest of the community. This was for sanitary reasons during the plague and due to people’s disdain for the unfortunate job of the executioner, who was seen to have a very low social stature.

3. Peperoni Doesn’t Mean Pepperoni

When it comes to pizza, it wouldn’t be a good idea to order a pepperoni from a traditional Italian pizzeria. Huh? In Italian ‘peperoni’ means ‘bell peppers’, so unless you’re after a wholly vegetarian option, this may not be the way to go. In fact, the pepperoni pizza as we understand it was invented in (you guessed it) America, where pepperoni is just a variety of salami sausage, made with pork and beef.

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4. Salad Isn’t a Starter

If you’re looking for something light before the main course, or to have on the side, chances are you’d pick a salad. However, this isn’t the case in Italy. Traditionally, Italians don’t eat salad because it’s the lighter option but because it helps the digestion process - so they have it after the main course. Oh, and you can keep your fancy dressings too – olive oil and vinegar are all a proper Italian needs. So, if you want to eat like an Italian, make sure you save the salad until last.

5. Garlic… and Bread?

Another surprising fact about Italian food is that garlic bread, the classic accompaniment to pasta dishes across the globe, is actually quite rare in Italy. You’re much more likely to see bruschetta, which uses garlic, but ditches the butter in favour of extra virgin olive oil and a healthy topping of fresh tomatoes.

6. Italian Wedding Soup is Not Eaten at Weddings

You might come across Italian “wedding soup”, a broth native to Naples, on a restaurant menu. Despite what some believe, it’s not actually eaten at Italian weddings. It’s actually a mistranslation of the Italian minestra maritata, which refers to the marriage of greens and meat in the dish, not the marriage of a couple.

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7. Pasta and Sauces Must Be Perfectly Paired

It may come as a surprise that certain pastas can only be paired with certain sauces in true Italian food culture. Pairings consider the shape and size of the pasta and where it comes from in Italy. For example, thin, creamy sauces are often paired with spaghetti because – unlike thick sauces – they coat each strand of pasta. Our much-loved spaghetti bolognaise combo is a definite no-no, in case you were wondering.

8. Italians Eat 51lbs of Pasta Every Year

You know Italians take their pasta seriously after reading fact #7. But did you know that Italians eat on average 23kg of pasta every year? That’s roughly equivalent to your check-in baggage allowance for many airlines. By contrast, an average American eats just 6.8kg each year. So, when we say Italians love pasta, we really mean it.

9. Caesar Salad Was First Made in Mexico

Nope, Caesar salad was not a favourite of Julius Caesar. It doesn’t even come from Italy. The origin of Caesar salad is said to be traced to Tijuana, Mexico where Italian-American Cardini Caesar ran a restaurant. Rumour has it that, during a busy weekend, Caesar was forced to rustle up a salad with the few ingredients he had left. Turns out the iconic Caesar salad was born by accident.

10. Lentils are Lucky

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, Brits tend to welcome January with well-meaning New Year’s resolutions and a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. But maybe we’re missing a trick. In other countries, it’s customary to eat lucky foods to bring prosperity in the coming months. Italians choose to eat coin-shaped lentils at New Year because they’re seen to symbolise money.

Get a taste of these Italian Food Facts

If all this talk of Italian food has left you feeling hungry, we’ve got some great Italian-inspired suggestions. Choose these super popular Spicy Meatballs from Maverick or from Amici Miei 2 Go’s great pizza selection, topped with fresh, authentic toppings.

Fancy some pudding? Mayfair Pizza Co. is renowned for its sweet take on the classic calzone. Filled with Nutella and marshmallows, this dessert is the perfect mid-week treat. Buon appetito.

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Category: On the menu