Growing Up Italian

1. The word calm is not in the Italian dictionary.


2. Thanksgiving dinner included; antipasto platter, lasagna, meatballs. Turkey was a side.

3. I don’t want to be that girl, but roasted peppers, Nutella, pesto, deep fried zucchini was a staple for us way before it was trendy.

4. You learned how to make pasta before entering Kindergarten, and you didn’t practice with play dough.

5. When your friends came to your place to play, they were asked no fewer than five times if they were hungry.


6.  We had gardens—not flower gardens. Huge gardens with rows and rows of tomatoes, along with peppers, basil, squash and zucchini.

7. We knew that the word “Latte” is an Italian’s way of saying, “You paid way too much for that coffee.”

8. It is drilled into your mind at a very young age how to make pizza, but if you have absolutely no choice then you know how to order pizza properly, asking for 75% less cheese than your non-Italian friends would order.


9. You have multiple family members named Maria, Angela, Joe, Tony and at least two Uncle Mario’s.

10. You know how to properly pronounce “gnocchi,” “bruschetta,” and “tagliatelle,” which means you’re the spokesperson when out to dinner with your non-Italian friends and family.

11. Salad was always eaten AFTER the main course. (I still do this.)

12. Chamomile tea cures everything.

13. Every Sunday afternoon lunch time with extended family started at 1:00 and ended at 6:00, and there was enough food for everyone to have a second helping and take food home for their week’s lunches.


14. Your Saints day is even more celebrated than your birthday. (Except for me, I don’t have a Saint’s day, but then again I was born in Canada, and that seems to be a loophole according to my siblings, which brings me to number 15).

15. If you were the first generation Canadian, your siblings convinced you that you were adopted.

16. Shocked when you heard someone’s last name did not end in a vowel.

17. Surprised to discover that wine was sold in stores. Wasn’t everyone’s basement a winery?



19. You know a lot of people who came from the same village as your parents or grandparents, they’re not blood related, but call them Aunt, Uncle anyway.

20. Thought everyone got pinched on the cheeks and had money stuffed in their pockets by their relatives.

21. You couldn’t date a boy without getting approval from your mother, father, brothers, sister, a nanna and nonno if they are in the picture, and a few uncles and aunts, by that time, you didn’t have to worry about dating. Ever again.

22. You have at least one irrational fear or phobia that can be attributed to your mother, which of course you pass on to your own children when the time is right.

23. You know that it doesn’t matter what happens; loss of job, divorce, headache, flu, clumsiness….it’s all because you did not eat properly that day and of course, you didn’t listen to your parents.

24. No matter what city you are in, you need to go and visit their Little Italy.


25.  You did the dishes for Nonna or a Zia (Aunt) and got $50.00.


All this and more, but you love every minute of it, and look forward to sharing these traditions with the next generation. 






What happens in Vegas…gets splashed over the air waves.

Hey, everyone, it’s Maddie Saunders, the heroine from Selena’s WHAT A GIRL WANTS.

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