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Thread: Ten "Italian" foods you won't find in Italy

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    Ten "Italian" foods you won't find in Italy



    I found the list at the following site, where I check in occasionally because a friend contributes to it once in a while. I don't disagree precisely, but some of it is a little too precious...some of the foods exist, they just have a different name...

    http://www.thelocal.it/galleries/Cul...ist-in-italy/1

    Just scroll through the pictures:

    1. Pepperoni pizza-yes, if you ask for that you'll get pizza with sauteed peppers, but you can get pizza with salami piccante...not quite the same, but a reasonable substitute. I do love pepperoni pizza American style, fwiw. Wait, wait! By American style, I don't mean Pizza Hut or any of those spawns of the devil. I mean my neighborhood pizzeria run by a guy born and bred in Napoli. You can't get decent pizza even in California, and as for the south and midwest, a decent silence should be observed. Only recently can you get it in Florida, and only because a few Northeast U.S. guys have moved down there to be near their elderly retired parents. It's like bagels...I miss them when I'm out of the northeast.

    2. Ziti Alfredo-An abomination, imo, but I think they're wrong that it was invented in the U.S. I heard that an "Alfredo" sauce was created in a Roman restaurant and put on tagliatelle, but not, thank God, with chicken in it. If there's a food disaster worse than this is when cooked in American restaurants, floppy, mushy pasta, drowned in a sea of cream, absolutely bland, and then dotted with packaged, overcooked and under-flavored chicken breast, I can't at the moment think of it.

    3. Spaghetti Carbonara with cream-Of course you can get it, but it's not going to have cream in it...yikes...just imagine a tremendous shudder. However, to expect American cooks to make it with guanciale or pig cheek is a little too much. Even in New York I'd have to go way out of my way to get guanciale. Heck, even in parts of Italy it's not available everywhere, every time. Pancetta is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

    4. Garlic Bread-It's true; so far as I know, it's not Italian. It's good, though.

    5. Ham and pineapple pizza-Unfortunately, I have seen it in a few places, but it's undoubtedly because they're catering to some tourists; it was in Firenze, which is full of foreign touriss. I'm obviously a very bad mother, though, because my son eats it.

    6. Spaghetti with meatballs-Every time I see this written on the net a few Italian Americans will pipe up that they serve it in their ancestral village in Italy, usually in the Abruzzi. I beg leave to doubt; it's probably backflow. Even if it's not, it's extremely rare. Polpette are an appetizer, or a main dish, and not drowned like the spaghetti in a vat of "red" sauce.

    7. "Italian Dressing"-if you poured it out of a bottle on to your salad, it's not Italian.

    8. Spaghetti Bolognese-This is what I mean when I say they're a little too precious. You can indeed order tagliatelle or fettuccine(never spaghetti) with ragu' alla Bolognese, which means sauce Bologna style. Also, while the traditional Bologna style is almost all meat with just a little bit of tomato paste, even they make other versions that have more tomato in it, and our meat ragu in Lunigiana and Toscana.

    alla bolognese-purists say not even tomato paste, but most people do this...


    alla genovese:


    The above are basically tinted meat sauces.

    alla toscana-this is basically what we do...has a little bit more tomato, but it's not "tomato sauce with meat"; it's meat sauce with some tomato, unlike what foreigners do...



    9. Macaroni and Cheese-Come on, nobody thinks that's Italian.

    10. Panini-Well, you can order them, but what you'll get is a "dry" sandwich with some cured meat, probably less than what you're used to. You'd be better off ordering tremezzini, and asking to have them grilled, if possible.



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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    The history of dishes is fascinating. Here's the best I could find on the origins of each of these:

    1. Pepperoni pizza: Invented in the United States circa 1919 as a variety of salami pizza.
    2. Alfredo: Invented by Italian chef Alfredo Di Lelio in Rome in 1908, and became popular worldwide after, especially in the United States.
    3. Spaghetti Carbonara with cream: Spaghetti Carobonara was popularized in the 20th century in Italy, basically a variety of an old Appenine penne dish. Couldn't find who first added cream.
    4. Garlic bread: Apparently a 20th century American variation on bruschetta.
    5. Ham and pineapple pizza: Despite being called "Hawaiian pizza," it was invented by chef Sam Panopoulos about 1960 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada.
    6. Spaghetti and meatballs: An early 20th century American invention that mixed spaghetti with large polpettes and cheap sauce.
    7. Italian dressing: Invented by Wishbone in Kansas City in 1948, based on an older Sicilian recipe.
    8. Spaghetti Bolognese: Couldn't find a date, but it seems to differ from, and postdate, real Bolognese sauce, which dates to 18th century Imola, Italy.
    9. Macaroni and Cheese: The modern form is attested in Britain by 1769, probably based on Italian dishes as old as the 14th century.
    10. Panini: Although attested earlier, the modern American form is a variation of the Milanese paninoteche of the 1970s.

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    That was really interesting, Sparkey. I enjoyed reading those. Thanks...

    The most surprising one was macaroni and cheese. I had no idea it came from England, or that it had anything much to do with an Italian recipe.

    That medieval recipe was basically what I made for my children before introducing pasta with tomato sauce; it's just cooked pasta with a couple of pats of butter and a handful of freshly grated parmigiano cheese. They still ask for it, and make it for themselves.

    Pasta al burro e parmigiano


    Then there's cacio e pepe, the Roman specialty, which uses just lots of grated pecorino romano (not sardo, which is stronger and saltier), and lots of black pepper, with maybe a drop of oil and a few tablespoons of grated parmigiano if you like it sweeter. It's creamier, and very good.


    Anthony Bourdain waxes rhapsodic about eating it at a restaurant in Rome which he refuses to name, but which I think is Da Enzo.

    The closest to actual macaroni and cheese would perhaps be a pasta al forno con besciamella ai formaggi, which is basically cooked pasta mixed with a bechamel sauce and cheese of some sort and then baked. These are deadly for the waistline, but good for entertaining, because you can prepare everything and then just mix and bake while you enjoy your company. Obviously, cheddar cheese and "American" cheese are not on the ingredient list. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    The most surprising one was macaroni and cheese. I had no idea it came from England, or that it had anything much to do with an Italian recipe.
    A certain subculture in England in the 1700s loved their macaroni.

    Americans adopted macaroni via England. Then we stuck feathers in our caps and... oh, you know.

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    @Angela:"and as for the south and midwest, a decent silence should be observed."

    If you happen to walk into an "Italian" restaurant found in the south/Midwest and sneak into the kitchen, you might find more containers of chef Boyardee than you would want to find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    A certain subculture in England in the 1700s loved their macaroni.

    Americans adopted macaroni via England. Then we stuck feathers in our caps and... oh, you know.
    I do indeed. :)

    I did actually know that about the "maccaronis" in England, but had forgotten it. I'm sure I learned it from a different source than you did, however: Georgette Heyer's Regency Romances. :) I couldn't get enough of them when I was in high school. They were innocent, though...no bodice rippers or Fabios shirtless on the cover.


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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Perhaps stromboli would be another item. It is a variant of the calzone, which I found is similar to the panzzarotti. One source say the calzone is always baked, while the panzzarotti is always fried. Stromboli is always baked. Some sources (Google US hits) say that a calzone may be baked or fried.


    My experience with a Italian-American owned US restaurant: Stromboli has a rectangle shape. The ingredients may be specified by the customer, but sauce is NEVER added. Sauce (marinara) is served on the side. The customer will cut the stromboli to make portions that can be picked up and dipped in the sauce.


    I cannot yet post a link for an image - sorry! As to the method to prepare it, I am not yet allowed to insert a link. Please use your judgment. Restaurants I know allow customers to select the ingredients. The top may or may not be brushed with olive oil.

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    Just to help out till you get the privileges:

    I'm not an expert on southern Italian food so I had to look it up. According to Giallo Zafferano stromboli di pizza is an American invention from Philadelphia in the 50s.

    It's really just pizza arrotolata or rolled, stuffed, pizza dough.

    I've become a real fan of artisanally made pepperoni pizza from local pizzerias, but I'm not a fan of this. It's...too much: too much meat, too much grease, too much cheese, too spicy. The only kind I eat is the spinach one.

    I only found two attempts online to teach Italian cooks how to make it. The only one I would like is this one, which is much less over the top.

    See:
    http://www.misya.info/ricetta/pizza-stromboli.htm



    The version sold in pizzerie near me:


    Another thing that doesn't happen in Italy is being served a bowl of "marinara" sauce. I don't know who came up with that. I can't stand it. It's too much again: too much oregano, too much garlic, too much tomato paste, and usually made from acidic tomato puree.

    I don't know how I forgot the biggest disappointment for some Americans when they go to Italy. You're not going to get chicken or veal "parmigiana" like this:


    I've lived here for decades now and I still won't eat it.

    We do have breaded, fried veal or pork or chicken. One of my favorite dishes in the world is a thinly pounded veal chop passed in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, fried, and then served with fresh lemon and a green salad. The more salt on it the better for me.



    The only other similar thing I know that's made with melted cheese is pollo alla valdostana, but you're only going to find it there. You saute pounded, floured chicken breasts in butter and then top with prosciutto or cooked ham and fontina cheese.


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    Thanks for the help, but the rolled version is not what the 'originator' in Philadelphia area - his son - says is authentic. I should have put that in my post. Yes, some roll it like a jelly roll. The one I buy in our area is the stuffed-not rolled version. It is yummy enough.

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    I used to think macaroni and cheese was Italian until i read this thread, and I love the macaroni chicken alfredo crap they server at Applebees. I'm Italian genetically and that's as FAR as my Italianess goes...lol in that I happen to descend from people who lived there. That's it and nothing left beyond that.

    Maybe someone would take offense to this post, I don't know (my people skills are lacking) but I assure you that it was not fueled by bad intentions.

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    Very enlightening. I didn't know that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    The history of dishes is fascinating. Here's the best I could find on the origins of each of these:

    1. Pepperoni pizza: Invented in the United States circa 1919 as a variety of salami pizza.
    2. Alfredo: Invented by Italian chef Alfredo Di Lelio in Rome in 1908, and became popular worldwide after, especially in the United States.
    3. Spaghetti Carbonara with cream: Spaghetti Carobonara was popularized in the 20th century in Italy, basically a variety of an old Appenine penne dish. Couldn't find who first added cream.
    4. Garlic bread: Apparently a 20th century American variation on bruschetta.
    5. Ham and pineapple pizza: Despite being called "Hawaiian pizza," it was invented by chef Sam Panopoulos about 1960 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada.
    6. Spaghetti and meatballs: An early 20th century American invention that mixed spaghetti with large polpettes and cheap sauce.
    7. Italian dressing: Invented by Wishbone in Kansas City in 1948, based on an older Sicilian recipe.
    8. Spaghetti Bolognese: Couldn't find a date, but it seems to differ from, and postdate, real Bolognese sauce, which dates to 18th century Imola, Italy.
    9. Macaroni and Cheese: The modern form is attested in Britain by 1769, probably based on Italian dishes as old as the 14th century.
    10. Panini: Although attested earlier, the modern American form is a variation of the Milanese paninoteche of the 1970s.
    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/foo...9f6e501ecb94e5
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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I just had a shudder at the thought of macaroni cheese. When my kids were young, they loved this horrible gunk you could get in the supermarket dirt cheap, it stunk to high heaven and this horrible plasticky yellow stuff would stick to everything and turn to cement - truly horrible stuff.

    Thankfully none of my kids ever got into ham and pineapple pizza (probably because of my influence).

    One trend I've noticed in Australia are places offering pizza and pasta featuring chicken in different guises.

    I always say to the kids: in my world, you don't put chicken on pizza or in a pasta sauce.
    Misseri e sceccu cu tuttâ tistera
    comu vi l’haju a diri, a vastunati
    ca mancu haju Sali di salera!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey D View Post
    I just had a shudder at the thought of macaroni cheese. When my kids were young, they loved this horrible gunk you could get in the supermarket dirt cheap, it stunk to high heaven and this horrible plasticky yellow stuff would stick to everything and turn to cement - truly horrible stuff.

    Thankfully none of my kids ever got into ham and pineapple pizza (probably because of my influence).

    One trend I've noticed in Australia are places offering pizza and pasta featuring chicken in different guises.

    I always say to the kids: in my world, you don't put chicken on pizza or in a pasta sauce.
    I used to eat kraft Mac n cheese with the orange powdery "cheese" you mix in with the pasta. I'll admit, the fowl smelling powder made me cringe.

    Fun fact: I think I recall kraft being busted due to its cheese not originating from natural sources (aka its fake. Plastic). I kinda got that vibe once after opening a pack of that disgusting powder. I myself started questioning its legitimacy.

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    To be honest, I do think home made macaroni and cheese (with real cheese) can be quite good in a gloppy, I feel my arteries clogging as I eat sort of way. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coYqrXsDPdU

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    To be honest, I do think home made macaroni and cheese (with real cheese) can be quite good in a gloppy, I feel my arteries clogging as I eat sort of way. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coYqrXsDPdU
    So do I! Because it's made of real cheese and not flubberulous demon flesh grown by evil scientists. When I worked for IBM (yeah, I had work ethic lol) there was a booth called "Mac n cheesiology" where you can choose your own pasta shape, and topping! It's great for people like myself who prefer "abombinations", right, Angela? ;)

    Seriously, as long as the pasta shape is spiral, I'll be happy.

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    Great thread. I really thought that spaghetti bolognese is a real italian food. When I was in South Tyrol in the hotels dolomites (winklerhotels.com/en/) i wondered that they don't serve spaghetti bolognese in their restaurant.

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    I'll just be a further disgrace to my heritage (besides barely passing my Italian language classes-i once had a 30 something grade on my progress report) and prefer "Italian" food served here in the US lol though i do have a strong sense of guilt saying this...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TobiW View Post
    Great thread. I really thought that spaghetti bolognese is a real italian food. When I was in South Tyrol in the hotels dolomites (winklerhotels.com/en/) i wondered that they don't serve spaghetti bolognese in their restaurant.
    Well, tagliatelle are often served with a similar sauce so it's not a HUGE difference.

    I can understand how you might not be served either version in the Dolomites, as in certain areas only the regional food is served. If they're going for a more "modern", "nouveau" kind of menu they might think something like that is too "heavy" or old school.

    Even if it certainly isn't "diet" food of any kind, prepared properly there are few things as delicious.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TobiW View Post
    Great thread. I really thought that spaghetti bolognese is a real italian food. When I was in South Tyrol in the hotels dolomites (winklerhotels.com/en/) i wondered that they don't serve spaghetti bolognese in their restaurant.
    Veneti and Trentini would not use mince meat unless desperate................they would make the ragu ( sauce ) with cubes of beef and since beef was scarce , pork would be added and some times even a bit of duck .............is that what you had?

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    ^^What ON EARTH does desperation have to do with it? Minced beef or pork or anything else is just MINCED beef or pork pieces. It has the same nutritional value, etc. etc. In Italy, especially, you buy your pieces of meat and watch the butcher grind it, or even grind it at home yourself.

    Actually, in times past, even ragu alla bolognese was made with chunks of meat which were then shredded. In more modern times it just seemed like too much extra work for no benefit.

    I've been to Venice a LOT since my cousin married a Venetian with ancestry back to the founding of Venice if you listen to him, and most of the pasta is dressed with fish of one type or another. The "Veneziana" is made with alici. They also make a duck sauce. Obviously, as you get further into the deep countryside they don't have access to much fish except for things like baccala or stoccafisso.

    As for the Trentino Alto Adige, you'll eat more speck, kraut and sausage than pasta. The former is their traditional fare. What pasta there is is spaetzle other than a few other varieties which they adapted to the ingredients which were available.

    See:
    https://www.cucchiaio.it/cucina/cuci...no-alto-adige/

    One of the only pastas I ever saw on their menus is this, unless it was set up for tourists, or was brought by incoming Italians, who have settled there in decent numbers.

    https://www.cucchiaio.it/ricetta/ric...agro-tirolese/



    They also made pastas with cooked ham and cream. I never ordered them so I don't know what it actually tastes like...




    In Treviso I remember a lot of pasta with radicchio, but that's one of the few vegetables I don't like because it's so bitter, so I didn't order it. I did like a pasta they made with pancetta, finocchio and rosmarino.



    Last edited by Angela; 29-01-18 at 01:11.

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    Ah forget my previous post regarding these entrees, they look really good especially the ravioli Angela posted and I've had the bolognese numerous times. Btw I'm a huge ravioli fan and if the Tyrol version is stuffed with cheese, that makes it even better for a cheese mouse like myself!

    Oh and yes Angela, I'll admit to ordering the fettuccini alfredo more times than I can count ;) though it isn't the most exciting thing to eat (i ordered it when I used to go to Applebee's with friends bc I couldn't find any other pasta entry ).

    Btw I would never touch a papa johns or anything served at that place you walked out of due to the bad acidic pasta sauce, I saw the photo and it was real icky looking; and based on other photos of that place, it seems to go way too far in terms of cramming stock Italian artwork and architecture so it can constantly remind you "LOOK! See?? IM an ITALIAN restaurant!! The most ITALIAN Italian RISTORANTE EVER!!" I guess it's a way to attract people from Idaho or wherever else there's next to nobody with Italian ancestry


    And no I'm not saying incorporating Italian aesthetics in an ITALIAN restaurant is a bad thing, it's just how the restaurant as mentioned did it, i would say the same if an expensive Chinese restaurant did something similar (saying this so no one thinks I'm singling out Italians). Ill add that I've never even been there, I'm going off of the photos I've seen.

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    Cent'anni ! italian food is the dope, i was also always wonder why bolognese in american movies looked like the sauce was some tomato sauce, the real ragu with the addition of milk is way more light in color not red. Unfortunately i never has the chance to go in Italy apart when i was young in camp 2 weeks in Faro near Rimini but we never eat localy, always the monitors would cook. What i found strange with spaghetti bolognese its their universality, do you know why ? I know spaghetti came from Napoli and Bolognese from Bologna but how it became so universal, like my mother was eating spaghetti bolognese in her childhood, but at this time they dont had TV, it was already known.

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    I guess the reason it became popular is due to people going around recommending it. It could've been the Romans who introduced spaghetti bolognese to various locations across Italy but I'm not sure and I would have to look this up.

    Another famous food item from bologna is one of my favorite sandwich meats...baloney! ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by davef View Post
    I guess the reason it became popular is due to people going around recommending it. It could've been the Romans who introduced spaghetti bolognese to various locations across Italy but I'm not sure and I would have to look this up.

    Another famous food item from bologna is one of my favorite sandwich meats...baloney! ;)
    Spaghetti alla bolognese is a dish for tourists and doesn't belong to the Italian tradition. Now you can even find it in Italy in some tourist restaurants who Italians avoid like the plague. The original dish is tagliatelle al ragù (from French ragoût). In Italy there are roughly two kinds of ragù, the Bolognese-like ragù findable in most of north and central Italy, with a lot of local variations, and the Neapolitan-like ragù more typical of southern Italy. The main difference between tagliatelle and spaghetti is the first ones are made with eggs and have a different form.

    Fortunately not all the foreign tourists in Italy are like the average Disney's tourists. Especially British, Germans, French and Dutch like to explore the local restaurants (in addition to the restaurants in Italy there are also the trattoria, osterie...), and so it is not unusual at all to find British, Dutch, French and Germans in trattorias and osterias with no English-written menu exclusively frequented by Italians far away far from the most touristic places.

    I could be wrong but I find that European tourists on average are much more curious than their American counterpart. Americans often settle for stereotypes. It is as if the Americans were looking for confirmation of what they already have in mind. But I think not all Americans are like that.

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