A side dish of salad or vegetables rounds out the meal. After a beverage, predominantly wine, a decadent dessert is also consumed. And always, conversation and laughter dominates the family table.
Many Italian-Americans still keep the Vatican custom of seven fishes served on New Year's Eve, including squid, eels, and conch. The traditional meal on Easter is lamb. Of course, all meals are accompanied with a pasta side dish.
Since gorgonzola, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses were first made by Italians, these dairy products are incorporated into just about all Italian fare. To discuss Italian culture and food, we have to include the topic of the all-American pizza. USA pizza is different from Italian pizza in that pizza served in Italy has less cheese, and the crust is thin as paper.
The New York Times published an article stating that it is as important how we eat opposed to what we eat. That could be a lesson in cooking. When Italians dine, they take their time eating. They have a relationship with food. Mealtimes with the family are almost sacred. Conversation at the table strengthens the bond of family.
Italians also lead active lives. Cars are not allowed in many Italian town centers. Therefore, walking is necessary. Most residents are walkups without elevators. Most importantly, portion sizes are much smaller in Italy.