America and Americans - clichés and pleasant surprises
I warn you - this post is politically incorrect, a perfect mix of stereotypes and clichés, if you don't have a strong enough sense of humour please don't go on in reading it! :-)
Well, it has been 12 years since I first went to the United States.
In the past I have been in Boston and Connecticut and on this occasion I visited Washington DC and Virginia.
Going back was a wonderful experience that confirmed for me on one hand the many impressions that I had made on the first trip and on the other hand surprised me from various other perspectives.
Here is a short list of the impressions I had confirmed, the ones that make me smile the most:
- In America everything is great ... starting from the toilets at the airports, continuing with the roads and cars;
- American hospitality is the perfect mix between the stereotype of the Neapolitan aunt who has lived abroad for years and what I saw in the sitcoms of the eighties ie. hospitality without too many constraints, families eating where and when they want and house keys supplied;
- Americans hardly ever eat at home or if they do they buy take away food.
In 15 days I only ate breakfast, two lunches (because I cooked myself) and two dinners at home - one of which was an exceptionally good Thai take away and the other a hamburger;
- the average American that I have met wants tourists and professionals to go home with the best possible memory of America and the Americans. It affects their sense of security and tranquility. And they do everything to make it possible;
- America is expensive, so by 2021 I will increase the prices of my services.
The pleasant surprises:
- the quality of the food that I ate, both in the family and in restaurants has improved considerably: more fresh and raw food;
- Italian cuisine remains among the favourite type of food for Americans;
- many Americans have finally discovered that Alfredo pasta is not Italian but an American invention;
- some Americans know how to cook but I personally haven't met any!
But let's get to the "survey" I did in Washington - I did this by talking to at least two hundred people and reading articles on the web. Among the many Italian recipes that are loved these are the top five that stand out without a doubt:
- 5th cacio e pepe pasta, recently discovered for the American people and in my opinion among the most difficult recipes to prepare.
- 4th meatballs with sauce - a timeless dish, what a pity that they serve them with spaghetti with tomato, like in Lilli and the Vagabondo cartoon ( )
- 3rd egg tagliatelle - which they call fettuccine perhaps because they can't pronounce it well. In any case, they also love this overcooked and seasoned with oil and Parmesan
- 2nd Ragù - which they commonly call "bolognese sauce". Every time they eat it they stand and applaud, however when they see the amount of oil that is used in the sauce they get very scared!
1st tiramisu - remains the dessert, if not the best known and loved dish by Americans and perhaps by all foreigners. Finally in the Italian restaurant da Nino in Arlington http://www.osteriadaninova.com/
I tasted a really good Tiramisu made with ladyfingers and served with a coffee and dark chocolate ice cream that enhanced the taste of mascarpone cream.
For the sake of a level playing field, however, it must be said that we Italians are known, loved and also amicably mocked for our stereotypes:
- Always late
- Casual and funny
- if you don't gesticulate what sort of an Italian are you ?!
- "Allora" - the second favorite word they love to repeat after Ciao Bella.
- Unruly and not only while driving but also with seat belts
Luckily what saves us is our good food, the sun and the good life.