One thing that’s missing from Italian food culture.

Officially, I’m still wallowing in expat woes and unable to bring myself to write anything cute and witty about Italy without spewing forth venom and bitterness. I feel like a lot of that could be fixed if I could start my day in a shower that were just appena bigger than a coffin.

Unofficially, I’m just dropping in today for a minute to BLOW YOUR MINDS.


So I was watching an old episode of Community with my marito today, and Abed (the character who is obsessed with movies and TV) is checking off his Quintessential College Experience List. One of the items from his list is satisfied when the campus cafeteria erupts into a spontaneous food fight.

As the characters are flinging food back and forth at each other, I happen to look over at my marito and note that puzzled expression he gets when he’s about to say, “Americans are weird”.

Me: “Honey, do you understand what’s happening?”

Him: “Yeah… Sort of… Well… why are they throwing food at each other?”

Me: “It’s a food fight – one of the things on Abed’s ‘Quintessential College Experience List’.”

He turns to me with a furrowed brow.

Me, as it dawns on me why he’s confused: “Oh my god… have you never been in a food fight?”

Him: “Why you throw ze food and not eat it?” (His accent pops out more as he gets more confused and exasperated.)

Me: “You’ve NEVER been in a food fight?”

Him: “Why? Why? Why would you do zis?”

Me: “You’ve never gotten crazy with your friends in the cafeteria and thrown a lump of mashed potatoes at someone?!”


He was clearly very upset. I let it rest.

But oh my god. Mind blown.

"Cake fight" by David Lee is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“Cake fight” by David Lee is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

30 thoughts on “One thing that’s missing from Italian food culture.

  1. I’m with your marito on this one…why waste food?! I have lived in the US all my life and have never been involved in a food fight. 🙂

    • I mean, don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying we need to make a weekly ritual of it; food waste is a real problem, but I just found it funny that food is SO serious here that the concept of a food fight is almost sacrilegious. The look on his face was priceless!

  2. OMG – You are absolutely right. I don’t think my Italian husband has ever been in a cafeteria or a food fight either. Now you’ve given me a good idea, I think I might start one at dinner tonight — perhaps I will begin by grabbing that nice juicy ball of Mozzarella di Bufala and tossing at him, then maybe I will hit the kids with a little pasta al pomodoro upside the head — then I could send some prosciutto slices flying about. Actually, that reminds me — there are food fights of sorts sometimes in Italy – of all places — in parliament!! I vaguely remember something with mortadella and mozzarella — I think it was when Romano Prodi was Prime Minister. And a little aside on Italians and the respect for their own food– this week I was at EXPO 2015 covering Vladimir Putin with a bunch of Italian colleagues. We finished around 5pm and had a little time before our train back to Rome. There were Pavilions from all over the blooming world offering delicacies — what did my Italian colleagues do? The marched over to EatItaly and got Pizza Margheritas. I couldn’t believe it!!

    • I am loving the image of you tossing a slice of prosciutto at your kid’s head. haha.

      YES on the second part too. Oh my gosh, so strange. In high school I worked at a Macaroni Grill and we got REAL Italians in there all the time!! Then they complained that the food wasn’t good. DUH, it’s Macaroni Grill. It’s for stupid Americans.

  3. YES!!! Totally miss a bit of food sacrilege! To be fair, I’d much sooner smash a supermarket cupcake into someone’s face than a beautiful little tiramisu, so maybe food quality is going to weigh in a lot on this one. Anyways, right on! Perhaps there’s a flash mob food fight in Italy’s future 😉

  4. Growing up in a Italian household the most offensive thing I could do was play with my food. Blowing bubbles in milk, was like commiting murder. Touching food with my hands, playing with it, you’d think I’d touched acid and my fingers would fall off the way my parents would immediately scream…food was by far the most important thing…the family meal has always been treated like a religious event, more important to my mother then church…but I always dreamed of having a food fight like the ones on t.v…I remember vivid desires of wanting to be involved in a food fight haha…it never happened tho, I have never disrespected the food, and now I have a 4yr to scream at when he does anything but respect it lol

  5. Really, you miss throwing food at another human being? You don’t see anything wrong with that? A hot dog eating contest is another obscene American ritual.

    • Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, thank you. Clearly, I used to throw food at people every day and now that I can’t, I have only this blog as an outlet. This blog and all those hot dogs in my fridge.

  6. I am with marito on this one. Why waste food and money. There are so many more enjoyable things to do than have a food fight.

  7. Jeeze guys. You’re killin’ me.
    Glad I came out of blogging retirement for a fun, light, easy post.

    RELAX. Find the humor. Then let it go. Just let it go.

  8. I don’t see the point of a food fight, especially if we’re talking about grown ups in 2015. Silly stuff.

  9. It’s not like she’s saying she misses food fights or wants to start one today. I believe it was more about her husband 1) not knowing what one was and 2) having never been in one. I get it! I was talking to my husband about this biscotti that Italian Kellogg’s makes and said, “It’s just like their Pop Tarts!” To which he replied, “What’s a Pop Tart?” … Um… Really? … Really? So, I already know his answer on whether or not he knows what a food fight is!

  10. I’m with you on this one. The showers need to be bigger. The whole food thing — enjoy the meal and let it go. Not necessarily fling it around but, you know, it’s not that serious, either. I’m knee-deep in the language bog right now; just as I am starting to get the words I have been finding out that the cultural references are almost as important and guess what, books and movies contain almost none of them. Or they do but just one at a time. Stay out of retirement, please. You’re a fun read.

  11. Oh yes! Those Italian showers are so tiny! How the heck do you get your legs shaved? Oh yes, that is where the bidet comes in handy:)

    • Unless your bidet is all clogged up with crazy amounts of calcium, and when you turn it on it spews all over the bathroom in different directions. I HATE OUR BATHROOM. 🙂

  12. For many reasons, most recently I’ve refrained from commenting on any blog I happen to follow. But I couldn’t help it here. That’s because I think that the topics here, and how they were addressed by author and readers alike, regardless of their intentions, are only ostensibly superficial or frivolous. There’s much more to it.
    I don’t mind getting overly serious here, some readers already did*;) winking, just sharing a thought. As a long-time resident in the US from Italy, I could see here so clearly so much of my cross-Atlantic experience. I was asked myself by my American cousins, with great surprise, whether/why I was(not) involved in a food fight and I witnessed myself American students from my past graduate school engaging in food fights in Bologna trattorias; space is an obsession in the USA and small showers/bathrooms/rooms in general are about as serious as 9/11.
    This might well come across as an innocuously humorous post, the food-fight part at least – and this was the author’s intention- and the slight overreaction of some is unwarranted (although I understand it, if you’re unfamiliar with US culture on the topics.)
    Yet, beneath the surface, runs much a deeper question.
    Believe it or not, this approach to food and resources in general, as well as space, is actually a perfect mirror of the totally different historical experiences of the US and Europe.
    It could prompt a very interesting and informative sociological debate (against M.’s intentions*:) happy).
    Enough academia, and all in good spirit.

    • I think you should continue to refrain from commenting, because you clearly don’t understand what it means to be an online citizen of the world. I think people forget that blogs are a reflection of a collection of ideas in various moments of a real person’s life – bits of an ongoing conversation that must be assessed in context. I don’t know why people think it’s ok to be rude to someone they don’t know in the comment field of a blog.

      When someone like you comes on here and declares that the author (me, thank you) is “superficial” or “frivolous” without knowing me or reading anything else I have to say, it’s paramount to accusing your dinner host of being insensitive for not preparing something you like. It’s on par with editing out the speech of a politician to use one phrase as propoganda.

      You don’t know me. You came into my house and told me I’m an unethical person.
      You don’t know what I do outside of this blog and the advocacy issues that inspire me.
      You clearly haven’t read any of the other posts on this blog which do deal with important cultural issues in a more academic light.

      If you read this one blog post and thought, “food waste is a real issue and they aren’t talking about it here”, you’re right. We’re not talking about it here. We’re talking about a funny 2-minute moment in which my Italian husband didn’t understand the cultural existence or reasoning for an American food fight in a movie.

      That’s it.

      Yet you felt the need to come on here and lecture me “in good spirit”. It’s not good spirit. At least the other commenters left short fragments of thoughts. You, instead, have insulted me to the point where it makes me not want to write at all any more.

      You came to MY party and then chastised me for small talking with the guests.
      If you want to have an academic conversation about food waste, I suggest you contact me in Twitter – Emu Architetti. Then I can school you on a thing or two.

  13. I obviously meant ” I don’t mean getting overly serious here”….hangovers’ consequences…

  14. Haha as a child I remember watching the food fight scene in Hook and thinking that Americans were really weird. Why are they eating bright multi coloured food…? oh it’s for THROWING!! Hollywood has a lot to answer for.

  15. Breaking news! I have seen food fight in Italy! It was the birthday party of my friend, 20 people sitting at a long table and at a certain point they started to throw bread in all directions. Was fun. But never happened again.

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