20 Funny Italian Sayings about Food
Anyone who has an Italian acquaintance understands that every discussion is peppered with food-related Italian proverbs.
Italians adore food, they adore talking, and they adore talking about food! According to a recent poll, 51% of Italians talk about food every day.
Many outsiders are astounded by the amount of time Italians devote to meal preparation and consumption, from the custom of gathering the entire family. In addition to Sunday lunch, the lunch break throughout the week, which usually lasts at least an hour, is also included. In other countries, such as Argentina and the United Kingdom, eating a fast lunch in front of the computer or having each family member eat at various times is more usual.
Italians are accustomed to congregating around a table. It’s not only about what you eat; it’s also about who you eat with. As a result, the Italian language is replete with proverbs and sayings about food and family.
The Most Common Italian Food and Family Sayings
1. Parla come mangi
Meaning – “Speak the way you eat!”
It’s almost as if it’s a reproach to individuals who employ complex phrases or Italian words when they don’t have to. It’s an invitation, like Italian cuisine, to speak and clearly.
2. Non tutte le ciambelle escono col buco.
Meaning – “Not all doughnuts come out with a hole.”
It’s used when the outcome isn’t quite what you expected. However, it’s essential to keep things in perspective: some doughnuts come out of the oven without a hole. You’ll have better luck if you try again.
3. Essere come il prezzemolo.
Meaning – “Being like parsley.”
Parsley is often utilised in a variety of dishes. It is spoken of as someone who is always there, at all times and in all places, possibly even to an intrusive degree.
4. Tutto fa brodo.
Meaning – “everything makes broth”.
It means that anything has the potential to be beneficial. The broth can contain a variety of foods, including waste such as vegetable peels or fish cut trimmings. Nonetheless, the broth is an essential component of delicious soups and risottos. Even what appears to be useless or waste turns out to be crucial.
5. Cosa bolle in pentola.
Meaning – “What’s boiling in the pot.”
another metaphor for the world of the soup is believed to allude to something being prepared in secrecy. The peasant diet in the Middle Ages consisted primarily of soup prepared in a pot that stayed on the stove at all times.
Vegetables, roots, meat scraps, and legumes were added throughout the day, depending on what was available. This is why determining the dish’s exact composition was difficult. The word denotes a preparation or a mystery strategy based on this custom.
6. Liscio come l’olio.
Meaning – “Smooth as oil.”
used to describe a condition without problems, such as ripples on an oil surface.
7. Buono come il pane.
Meaning – “good as bread.”
The suitable metaphor for a good, modest, and generous individual is the humble and noble food available on every table.
8. È finita a tarallucci e vino.
Meaning – “It ended with tarallucci and wine.”
originates from the custom of welcoming guests with taralli (savoury or sweet biscuits) and wine. The word denotes a tense issue that resolves quietly in a friendly setting, such as a dinner with tarallucci and wine served to guests.
This term has taken on a more harsh and less accepting connotation in the journalistic world. It also refers to harmful political deals or compromises between two seemingly distant and irreconcilable political parties to protect personal and non-public interests.
9. Nella botte piccola, c’è il vino buono.
Meaning – “In small barrels, there is good wine.”
This term was coined because winemakers like to conserve the best parts of the wine in smaller barrels. Its scents and flavours should improve as a result. It implies that seemingly minor objects, such as persons of short stature, may possess valuable attributes that might be discovered through closer inspection or knowledge.
10. Rendere pan per focaccia.
Meaning – “Give back bread for dough.”
Today, this Italian proverb has a negative connotation; one responds according to the evil suffered. This proverb, which was already popular in Boccaccio’s day, comes from a custom of good neighbourliness when bread was baked at home. If you don’t have any flour, you can borrow focaccia (raw dough) from your neighbours. Freshly baked bread was frequently used to repay the favour.
11. Pieno come un uovo.
Meaning – “full as an egg.”
might refer to a person with an extreme sense of satiety, close to excess, or a whole place. The yolk and albumen are both perfectly filled inside the egg.
12. Avere il prosciutto sugli occhi.
Meaning – “having ham on your eyes.”
It is an Italian proverb that most likely originated from the second half of the nineteenth century and originated in Emilia Romagna or Tuscany, both known for their cured meat industry. It’s frequently used to call attention to someone’s carelessness or to describe an evident scenario that it’s impossible to miss. “Didn’t you notice that it’s raining?” “Do you have any prosciutto on your eyes?”
13. Il pesce puzza sempre dalla testa.
Meaning – “the fish always stinks from the head.”
If something goes wrong, whoever has the authority or is in charge of something sets an example for others and makes decisions that affect others. Therefore it will be their fault if things go wrong.
14. Rompere le uova nel paniere.
Meaning – “breaking the eggs in the basket.”
meaning interfering with others’ plans, intruding unexpectedly, perhaps even inadvertently, but generating a different consequence than desired.
15. Essere l’altra metà della mela.
Meaning – “being the other half of the apple.”
For someone, being a soul mate entails being the missing link in the puzzle. The statement is derived from Plato’s Symposium’s tale of the two halves.
16. Al contadino non far sapere quant’è buono il cacio con le pere.
Meaning – “Do not let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears.”
is a proverb that can be interpreted in two ways. Pears and cheese is a recipe that combines a cheap and a wealthy component, pears, which were difficult to preserve in the Middle Ages. A favourable mix for the gentleman rather than the farmer.
On the other hand, the proverb exposes the reactionary aim of the ruling group, the gentlemen, who seek to keep peasants out of a piece of information.
17. La mela non cade mai lontana dall’albero.
Meaning – “the apple never falls far from the tree.”
In terms of thinking and behaviour, children are highly similar to their parents. It can be used positively to emphasise merits and negatively to draw attention to flaws.
18. Fare le nozze coi fichi secchi
Meaning – “making a wedding with dried figs.”
is a phrase that emphasises the inadequacy of particular decisions in light of the resources available. For instance, the desire to save excessively, even when challenging to save, such as at weddings.
19.Siamo alla frutta.
Meaning – “We’re done.”
This Italian proverb alludes to the custom of finishing a meal with fruit. It’s common to say that one’s energy or problem-solving strategies have run out or that one is too tired after a long day.
20. Essere la ciliegina sulla torta.
Meaning – “Being the icing on the cake.”
refers to the finishing touch, the finishing and refining detail.