Todd: What did you think about Italian food in America? Italian food is very popular in America., but is it similar to Italian food in Italy?
Yuri: Oh, that’s a good topic. I would say that if really...you want to try the best Italian food, you have to go to Italy. It’s really different. I’ve been to many countries in Europe and I wanted to try Italian food in some restaurants -- very rarely it was good. It’s not bad, but...I’m sure there are some fantastic restaurants, but it is quite different, yeah...
Todd: So basically the Italian food in America has been Americanized -- it’s not like Italian food in Italy.
Yuri: Yeah, for example pizza. You want to buy a good pizza? Italy. That’s it.
Todd: What’s the difference between pizza in America and pizza in Italy?
Yuri: Oh, it’s a lot of differences. There are a lot of differences. It’s just the crust is different, the ingredients are different, the water is different, the way they make it, yeah...
Todd: So is the crust thicker or thinner?
Yuri: In Italy usually it is very thin.
Todd: Oh right.
Yuri: And it’s very tasty, the tomatoes are fantastic, the mozzarella is real mozzarella, you know, so it’s different.
Todd: So if you go to an Italian restaurant in America, it’s almost all pasta. When we think of Italian, we think of, you know, pasta for everything. What about in Italy, is that the same? Like, do most restaurants just serve pasta?
Yuri: Yes, we serve pasta as a first course, but we have so much other food...a lot. It’s quite amazing. Also in Italy you can really change food region by region. You can move around and the food changes. In the States I think you will just have this idea of Italy food -- all of it together.
Todd: Right, so when you say that pasta is the first course, so that’s quite different. It’s not the main course of a meal. Like in America, you go to a restaurant and you order spaghetti, like, or lasagna or whatever...that’s it. That’s the main dish.
Yuri: No, that’s not the way we eat in Italy.
Todd: How do you eat in Italy?
Yuri: Well traditionally you have the first course, usually it’s pasta or gnocchi, whatever. And then you go to a meat dish with vegetables. And after that you get some cheese and fruits and coffee (espresso).
Todd: Do you have like main meat dishes? You know, like a steak or stuff like that?
Yuri: Yeah, of course, we have a lot. Arrosta for example, I can tell you hundreds of Italian names. And maybe many people outside of Italy they would not even know.
Todd: Oh really?
Todd: So in Italy you said the food is different by region. What region has the best food do you think?
Yuri: Oh, that’s complicated because I’m from North Italy so I would say North Italy but it’s not true because there is a lot of food from the South and I just love it.
Todd: Oh, so it’s all good.
Todd: Ok, well anyway, it was nice talking with you Yuri.
Yuri: Thank you very much.
So basically the Italian food in America has been Americanized.
When something that came from a foreign country becomes more American in style, to suit local American tastes, it is described as "americanized".
Study the following examples:
- A lot of music around the world has been Americanized to sound like hip-hop music.
- Their kids used to be very formal but now they are very Americanized.
So is the crust thicker or thinner?
Crust is the bread-like part of a pizza made from flour. Crust is also the hard part around the edges of bread. See the two examples below:
- When I was a kid, I used to take the crust off the edges of my bread.
- I like to eat pizza with a very thick crust.
region by region
Also in Italy you can really change food region by region.
A region is a large area. It is often used to describe part of a country. “Region by region” refers to the many different areas within one country. Notice the following examples:
- I noticed that in each region, people spoke with a different accent.
- Region by region, the weather is different. The north is cold and the south is hot.
That’s the main dish.
A main dish is the biggest part of a meal or dinner. See the following examples:
- What would you like to have for the main dish?
- After the main dish, I like to drink coffee.
That’s complicated because I’m from North Italy.
When something is complicated it is not simple. It has many parts that are confusing to understand clearly. Study the two examples below:
- Learning a language is very complicated.
- When we first started dating everything was easy, but now it’s so complicated.
main dish • complicated
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Yuri talks about how Italian food varies in Italy.
Yuri talks about his thoughs on things Italian.