Italian food culture regards even small details such time to eat and the order of the dishes.
It concerns not only eating…but all that comes around it. Italians have a lot of food customs that unwrap the meal itself. Italians do preserve the habit of having an aperitif, for example. It is very common to see crowded bars before lunch time while in Italy.
Also, Italians have to eat at that certain time. When it’s time to lunch, they must have lunch, otherwise they lose their appetite.
They do not care about luxury regarding a restaurant, nor the perfect serving service. But the food has to be fresh and good. Otherwise they do not forgive it.
Italians do not mix the order of the dishes. They will never eat the meat or fish before the first plate.
Choosing from an Italian food menu, if it happens that one of the people decide not to eat a first dish and want his or her second dish together with the others’ first dish…it’s important to ask the waiter to take it together with the first dishes…otherwise, it will be served together with the other second dishes.
When I first came to Italy, I admit that sometimes I was invited in restaurants that did not attract me at all. Often they are made of a poor square room with no extra attractions.
It is because the important thing is what you are going to eat. Decoration comes after.
It’s only culture. Other countries do not preserve so much this kind of culture as Italy does. The traditional Italian food can be noticed also in the environment and behaviors that surround it.
Probably this is also one of the reasons why traditional Italian food is so spread in the world, having so many fans who love its taste and all this story that comes together with it.
Even if the traditional Italian food has been slightly changing during the last years due to the new intake need (people spend fewer calories nowadays and then need to eat less), the power of tradition is still very strong in Italy, and people continue to follow the old rules and recipes as their forefathers.