The non-Italians at the table were watching and laughing as if we were performing a comedy show for them. At times, we were all laughing so hard we were actually crying. The best part was when we explained that the biggest difference between the Italian kids and the other kids at school always came at lunch. Most of the kids would pull out their lunch and invariably have some sort of sandwich, maybe ham or bologna in a paper bag or Saran Wrap, along with a Coke or Pepsi. Then the Italian kid would pull out a sandwich crudely wrapped in waxed paper, and when it was unwrapped, it would likely be a cold veal cutlet on two giant thick slices of bread, along with a Brio. And I mean giant…like ‘can’t-open-your-mouth-wide-enough’ thick. You would have to fold the crusts backwards onto the sandwich itself just to be able to take a bite.
Last night’s blog post elicited some Comments, and it got me thinking of that night. And just last week, I was sent an email with a funny list of differences between Italian Kids and American Kids. Obviously we weren’t ‘American’ kids, but insert ‘North American’ or ‘Canadian’ wherever you see ‘American’ and you’ll comprehend it just fine.
Italian kids vs American kids
American kids: Move out when they're 18 with the full support of their parents.
Italian kids: Move out when they're 28, having saved enough money for a house, and are two weeks away from getting married....unless there's room in the basement for the newlyweds.
American kids: When their Mom visits them, she brings a Bundt cake, and you sip coffee and chat.
Italian kids: When their Mom visits them, she brings 3 days worth of food, begins to tidy up, dust, do the laundry, and rearrange the furniture.
American kids: Their dads always call before they come over to visit them, and it's usually only on special occasions.
Italian kids: Are not at all fazed when their dads show up, unannounced, on a Saturday morning at 8:00, and starts pruning the fruit trees. If there are no fruit trees, he'll plant some.
American kids: Al ways pay retail, and look in the Yellow Pages when they need to have something done.
Italian kids: Call their dad or uncle, and ask for another dad's or uncle's phone number to get it done...cash deal. Know what I mean??
American kids: Will come over for cake and coffee, and get only cake and coffee. No more.
Italian kids: Will come over for cake and coffee, and get antipasto, wine, a pasta dish, a choice of two meats, salad, bread, a cannoli, fruit, espresso, and a few after dinner drinks.
American kids: Will greet you with "Hello" or "Hi".
Italian kids: Will give you a big hug, a kiss on your cheek, and a pat on your back.
American kids: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
Italian kids: Call your parents Mom and Dad.
American kids: Have never seen you cry.
Italian kids: Cry with you.
American kids: Borrow your stuff for a few days and then return it.
Italian kids: Keep your stuff so long, they forget it's yours.
American kids: Will eat at your dinner table and leave.
Italian kids: Will spend hours there, talking, laughing, and just being together.
American kids: Know few things about you.
Italian kids: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
American kids: Eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on soft mushy white bread.
Italian kids: Eat Genoa Salami and Provolone sandwiches on crusty Italian bread.
American kids: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
Italian kids: Will kick the whole crowds' ass who left you behind.
American kids: Are friends for a while.
Italian kids: Are friends for life.
American kids: Like Rod Stewart, and Steve Tyrell.
Italian kids: Worship Tony Bennett, and Sinatra
American kids: Think that being Italian is cool.
Italian kids: Know that being Italian is cool.
American kids: Will ignore this.
Italian kids: Will forward it