Growing up, 5-course Italian meals were a weekly activity and I have mastered the ways to survive them. My nonna (grandma in Italian) was constantly bringing more food to the table after each course and making sure our plates were licked clean. For those of you who have found yourselves surrounded by an Italian family or experiencing your first 5-course Italian meal, here are a few tips on what to do in order to savor every last bite. 

Step 1: Keep Your Stomach Empty 

Your stomach might be growling until the food arrives at your plate, but trust me, you need a lot of room for yummy Italian food in your stomach. Having an empty stomach before this meal will save you from being stuffed after the first course. You will be able to consume all the calories, maybe even more, required for one day.  

Step 2: Wear Stretchy Pants 

Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT wear jeans. If you do wear jeans, bring a back up button because this meal will pop the buttons right off your jeans. Wearing leggings or sweatpants will save you the embarrassment of ripped jeans and allow you to eat more due to the stretchiness. 

#SpoonTip: If you're hitting the town after this gigantic meal, check out this article to see what types of clothes hide your food (pasta) baby. 

Step 3: Drink Wine or Coffee 

During this 5-course meal, you need to replenish your stomach from all those carbohydrates you just ate. The wine helps you relax and become ready for the next course. However, if you are not a wine drinker, coffee is a great option to keep your body energized. 

#SpoonTip: Don't know what wine to drink during this meal? Take this quiz to see what type of wine you are

Step 4: Don't Be Scared to Lay on the Couch

Okay, so this has to be the best part about the meal. Italians have breaks in between courses in order to prepare for the next. To prepare yourself for the next one, find a couch and lay down before you hear Nonna say "Pasta time!" This step is definitely a game changer. 

#SpoonTip: Step 2 helps you on this particular step because wearing stretchy pants while laying down on the couch is much more comfortable. 

Step 5: Lick Your Plate Clean (or else!)

tea, beer, cake, pizza
Jacquelyn Roberto

After each course, make sure your plate is completely (maybe even licked) clean. The chef does not like it when there's food untouched. They often even confront you with questions like: "Did you not like the steak? Or "I am sure you have more room in your stomach to finish that." Avoid these interrogating questions and finish your plate!

#SpoonTip: If you really cannot finish your food, secretly slide the food onto your siblings' plate.

Step 6: Compliment the Chef

During the 5-course meal, you MUST give as many compliments about the food to the master in the kitchen. Nonna (or whoever) spends the entire day preparing for this homemade meal, and you need to acknowledge the greatness of their food. The cook needs clarification on what is tasty in order to prepare for your next course meal. 

#SpoonTip: Say compliments like: "Oh my gosh, I love when you make Arancini, they're my favorite!" or "This tiramisu taste better every time, what is your secret?" 

Step 7: Take Those Damn Leftovers Home! 

Jacquelyn Roberto

Something is seriously wrong with you if you do not take any leftovers home. Nonna, or whoever the chef was, will be loading up plates filled with leftovers and making sure you do not forget a single thing. The leftovers are the best part because you get another 5-course meal whenever you feel like having one. 

Step 8: Eat the Leftovers for Lunch the Next Day

Some of us might eat our leftovers an hour after we get home. If you don't, leftovers are great for lunch the next day because you are reliving the deliciousness once again. 

Congratulations, you now are a survivor of a 5-course Italian meal! How do you feel? Full? Good, because that is how your stomach is meant to be.