When I arrived to Italy, I had no idea what the food culture would entail. My first experience in a restaurant was unlike what I expected when I sat down at the dinner table.
I know that the restaurant experience isn’t the same as a typical Italian meal that would be served at home, but it was an overwhelming meal. The most unexpected thing for me was the amount of food that was served. There is a stigma placed on the American diet that we overeat, have oversized portions, and always order the extra large side of fries at McDonald’s. On the other hand, a normal meal at an American restaurant would never involve five courses and the waiter continuously asking if you want more. By the end of lunch, we were all grumbling a satiated, “no grazie” when the server came around offering more from his platter.
Not to say the food wasn’t delicious (it definitely was), it was just unexpected that there would be so much of it. I was surprised at the amount of food we were being served because the United States is known for its obesity epidemic, but all 22 American students at that table could not finish the meal we were being served. It could be the fact that most of us are nutrition students and are conscious of what we put in our bodies, but it seemed strange to me that the overwhelming consensus was that it was way too much food.
The biggest takeaway from that experience was learning how to act at restaurants in the future. Now I always eat less so I can save room for the next course, making sure I won’t fill up too quickly. I want to be sure I’m able to try everything because the food here is just too enjoyable to pass up.