So, I know I’m not supposed to drink cappuccino at night in Italy. The thing is, I absolutely love cappuccino, so why not?
No matter where you are there is a sense of “the way things are” that is not meant to be changed. All societies will have their own share of ethnocentrism, traditional customs and their own “way” of doing things.
Drinking a cappuccino at night- I’m not hurting anyone, I’m happy, and all will still be right in the world if I do.
Every night after my meal when the server asks if I would like a caffè, I say “cappuccino per favore”. Then I laugh and say “Sono Americana” (I’m an American) and I shrug. This somehow excuses me from the sacred “No cappuccino after noon” rule. They make a sale, I get my cappuccino, everybody’s happy. Right?
Last week we were eating dinner with our friends Filippo and Camilla, an Italian couple. They each speak about as much English as I speak Italian, so we are able to work ourselves well enough around a conversation. In the beginning of the meal, Filippo looks to my companion and asks in Italian, “Why is she eating bread with her pasta?” Eyes rolling, my friend gives the common response, “Americana”. Filippo looks curiously, nods, then continues with his meal. I unapologetically continue eating my bread with my pesto penne and the conversation goes on. I’m enjoying my meal and again, I’m not hurting anyone.
However, I’m curious, in the United States bread and pasta go together like peanut butter and jelly! I never knew that in some regions in Italy this was “one of those rules”. When the dinner was over I ordered a regular coffee, which in Italy is an espresso. I didn’t want to break too many rules in one night! However, it didn’t stop the conversation from turning into my love of nighttime cappuccino! Apparently, it’s like putting mayonnaise on your cake or ice cream on your steak. However, if you order a macchiato, which is espresso with a dash of steamed milk, you’re ok.
Everyone tells you, and it says in all the books, if you order cappuccino after dinner you will look like an American. Wait! I am an American! It’s not exactly like I could blend in if I wanted to. My 5’10” stature and blonde hair instantly peg me as an outsider, most likely American. I have also been told that I walk like an American, whatever that means. I often get spoken to in English, even though I haven’t said one identifying word. I am all about respecting the culture of where I am and even taking on some of those norms myself.
I think it’s important no matter where you go, whether it’s someone else’s home or in another country. The last thing I would want to do is offend someone. I just really don’t find the timing of my coffee of choice to be particularly offensive. Perhaps one night after a lovely dinner, while Filippo and Camilla are sitting at home, they may think to have a cappuccino in my honor… just to see. Who knows, they may even like it!