"If you want to enjoy your life more, you might try living it more like an Italian," Rachael Ray says in her new guide to, well, doing just that. "A big laugh, a glass of wine, time to talk and laugh with each other, taking a moment to notice the simple pleasures—these are the keys to quality of life." We have a feeling the celebrity chef is onto something, which is why we combed through the expert tips her team compiled and found some keys to living la dolce vita at every meal. Here are five ways you can eat more like an Italian, starting today.
Tip No. 1: It's Always Spritz O'Clock
Yes, we may have reached Peak Aperol Spritz this summer, but the drink (and its cousin, the Negroni) has always been a thing in Italy. And with good reason—the low-alcohol combo "is just meant to be easy,” says Talia Baiocchi, editor in chief of PUNCH. Before you get to drink-mixing, check out our guide to the difference between Campari and Aperol—the two Italian aperitifs that define the aforementioned cocktails.
Tip No. 2: Don't Drink Without Eating
Okay, this one is basically just common sense. During aperitivo—a predinner tradition that's basically Italian happy hour—you're usually served cocktails and light bites. As Matt Goulding writes in Pasta, Pane, Vino: “If the bar you’re at doesn’t serve snacks, find another bar.”
Tip No. 3: Pasta Is Never the Main Event
Pasta at Lilia
It's just the first course! Unlike in America, where pasta is often served as your main dish, Italians prefer to pre-game with a smaller portion of it, then follow that up with a bigger, meaty course.
Tip No. 4: Skip the Weekly Grocery Haul
Instead, take a cue from the Italians and make smaller, more frequent trips to local vendors (butchers, farmers markets, fishmongers), if you have access to them. Your meals will be fresher, and you'll get to know the small businesses in your community.
Tip No. 5: Every Pizza Is a Personal Pizza
While it's pretty easy to find pizza by the slice in America, if you order pizza in Italy, you're more likely to get your own personal pie. That being said, eating is a social activity best shared with others.