Speak the Way You Eat!

Speak the Way You Eat!

Jun 22, 2020Donatella Mulvoni

It is no mystery that Italians love to talk. We talk a lot, and, usually, we do it loudly and using our hands! One of our favorite topics of conversation is food, of course. In fact, Italian is rife with food-related expressions. Food is a paradigm of life! Let’s learn some funny Italian sayings!

PARLA COME MANGI - If your friend is showing off with unnecessarily complicated words, you can ironically say: parla come mangi! It means, “speak the way you eat,” don’t try to impress me!


TI RIDUCO IN POLPETTE - If you are annoyed with someone, you can threaten to make mincemeat of them by saying, “ti riduco in polpette,” literally, “I’ll make meatballs out of you.” It is a little childish, so don’t use it if you actually want to sound hostile.


CHE PIZZA! - If something is really boring, you can say, “che pizza!” Which means, “what a bore!” Don’t ask why this beloved food is synonymous with something tedious!


FINIRLA A TARALLUCCI E VINO - When a serious and complex situation, like a conflict or an argument, ends in peace, we say that it ended “a tarallucci e vino,” with tarallucci and wine. Tarallucci are rich, salty and crumbly rounds of dough, perfect as a snack or for aperitivo. Tarallucci are simply perfect when accompanied by red or white wine, as is traditional in southern Italy.


BUONO COME IL PANE - If someone is kind and nice, you can say that he is “buono come il pane,” as good as bread. In the Italian culture, bread is a simple, fundamental food as well as a symbol of blessing.


CONOSCO I MIEI POLLI - Saying, “I know my chickens” is like saying you know something like the back of your hand. Say this if you are really familiar with a subject and or a situation.


PREZZEMOLINO - If someone is annoyingly ubiquitous, you can define him or her as a “little sprig of parsley,” a “prezzemolino,” a flavor that appears in just about every Italian dish.


BOTTE PIENA E LA MOGLIE UBRIACA - This proverb is for people that want to have their cake and eat it too. It's impossible: you can’t have both a full cask and a drunk wife!


PROSCIUTTO SUGLI OCCHI - If someone is completely in love and is unable to see their loved one’s defects, you can say that he or she “ha il prosciutto sugli occhi,” meaning that they have ham covering the eyes.


COME CACIO SUI MACCHERONI - To say that two things combine perfectly, you can compare them to cheese and pasta!


BACCALÀ - This is a fun way to say that someone is a fool: “che baccalà!” Why salted cod is related to silliness is unknown!


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