If you grew up in an Italian household, you know what I mean when I say my life revolves around my next meal. While my family is still eating lunch, we’re discussing what we should have for dinner that night. When friends come over, they are often confused by the constant scent of garlic that wafts through the house.
For those of you who didn’t grow up with Italian cooking, a) I’m so sorry for you and b) here’s some tips on how to cook like an overprotective Italian mom:
1. Olive oil is God’s gift to mankind.
If you don’t go through a full bottle of olive oil almost every week, you’re not using enough. If you want to bake something in the oven, put olive oil on it first so all of the other ingredients stick. If you want to cook something in a pan, first put olive oil so nothing sticks. On salads, you are to use olive oil — NEVER vegetable oil or anything else weird.
2. Everything tastes better fried.
Eggplant? Fry it. Chicken cutlet? Fry it. Meatballs? Fry ’em. But fry it all in olive oil, of course.
3. Serve the salad last.
The salad is served at the end so you don’t take up space in your belly with leaves before you even have a chance to get to the pasta… duh.
4. If you burn the garlic, start over.
Almost every Italian recipe starts with olive oil in a pot or pan and chopped garlic. If the garlic burns before you put the rest of the ingredients in the pot, you have to throw it out and start over because if you don’t, the entire meal will taste burnt and gross.
#SpoonTip: If you don’t know what movie this gif came from, you’re the worst kind of person and you should probably go watch Goodfellas, then come back and try again with this whole Italian cooking thing.
5. No meal is complete without a meat/fish, a veggie, and a starch.
It’s a common misconception that Italians only eat pizza and pasta. Balance is everything, even if it’s hidden. For example, meatballs in your pasta count as a starch and meat, then the salad at the end is your veggie.
6. Wine is served with every meal.
This fact applies to adults and children alike. Underaged drinking laws do not apply.
7. Always have bread on the table.
You’re gonna need to scrape the sauce out of your plate with something… and who doesn’t need more carbs?
8. Oregano and basil are essential.
Every sauce, piece of chicken, piece of fish, or whatever the hell else you’re cooking (other than vegetables) should always have a reasonable amount of these two things. I don’t even really know why, but I do it every time and my food tastes pretty damn good.
9. No meatballs will ever be as good as your mom’s.
This isn’t a tip, it’s a fact.