Italian Army

Something that I never, ever think about is the Italian army. Sometimes I think that the army doesn’t even exist, but obviously it does.

Interesting Language Facts

1) Widely considered as one of the most beautiful spoken languages in the world, Italian is thought of as the language of opera, art, gastronomy and, of course, romance. Indeed, for those not native to Italy, the Italian language is often learned for these reasons and not from any real necessity. The Italian language is spoken in Italy by 59 million people.

2) The Italian language is spoken in Italy by 59 million people. Other countries where Italian is spoken include Vatican City, Croatia, Malta, San Marino, Corsica, Slovenia, Sicily, Sardinia (mainly Northern), Monaco, Albania and parts of Switzerland (mainly Southern).

3) The story of the Italian language originates from ancient Rome. Italian is originally derived and descended from the Latin Language, which was spoken by the Romans. As such, Italian is known and referred to as one of the ‘Romance’ Languages and remains the closest language to Latin. Italian also has a strong resemblance to the languages of France, Spain, Portugal and the Catalan. This is because Italian is from the same linguistic root and family as these languages. Once the Roman Empire had diminished, the country began to grow again and prosper around its developing and emerging cities. As they grew and matured, these cities became increasingly independent from each other and this included the languages spoken there.

4) Thus, the Italian languages that we know evolved from different dialects over a long period of time. The fact that there were so many dialects within the country presented a situation where an official united Italian language needed to be acknowledged, for practical reasons. For example many Italian writers were writing in their own local dialects, such as Giovanni Boccaccio who wrote ‘Decameron’ and works of poetry in his local dialect. These dialects would of course only be understood completely by those who were familiar with them and so these works would not be widely appreciated. Eventually in a revolutionary move, Dante published ‘The Divine Comedy’ in the 14th Century in a variety of different Italian dialects, including his own Tuscan dialect. Obviously trying to centrally run a country under these constraints would be a logistical nightmare. As time progressed and the 14th century began, the main dialect that began to dominate Italy was Tuscan. The region of Tuscany was centrally located in Italy and its capital city of Florence was extremely significant financially due to the volume and diversity of its trade. And ultimately, the unified standard official Italian language was borne mainly from the dialect of Tuscany.

5) Even today, there are still many variations of different dialects within the Italian language. Within the same region there are often different dialects. This is the case in Venice, Naples and Friuli, Sardinia and Sicily. The local dialects within regions are usually spoken by the elderly population, whilst the younger population tend to speak the official Italian Language.

The Italian language lives up to the fascinating history of Italy. Its multifaceted evolution borne of proud individuality is represented and celebrated and has given the Italian language its unique passion.

Italian Man in Malta

I thought this was really funny and I thought I’d share!

Italian Ribollita

Vegetable and Bread Soup

Prep Time:
45 Min
Cook Time:
1 Hr 30 Min
Ready In:
10 Hrs 15 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 4 potatoes, diced
  • 10 (5 inch) zucchini, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 quart hot water
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded
  • 1 bunch kale, shredded
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 8 slices day-old bread

Directions

  1. Place the olive oil in a deep pan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, and leek. Stir and cook 5 minutes more. Pour in the hot water to cover the vegetables. Stir in the Swiss chard, Savoy cabbage, and kale. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Place 1 can of beans in a blender or food processor bowl. Blend until smooth. Stir pureed beans into the vegetable mixture along with the second can of beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato puree.
  3. Prepare the soup by layering slices of bread with the vegetable mixture in a casserole or soup dish. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  4. To serve the soup, place in a pot, and reheat over medium heat. Serve hot.


Weekday Italian Gravy

I LOVE GRAVY.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds hot Italian-style link sausage
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 pieces beef shin, each 1 inch thick (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, preferably not oil-packed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or ziti
  • Freshly grated parmesan or pecorino

Directions

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then the sausage; cook, turning occasionally, until brown all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the slow cooker. Pour off and discard all the oil in the skillet and return it to the heat. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until brick red, about 1 minute. Add the water and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the mixture over the sausage.

Add the beef shins, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, Italian herbs, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to taste. Set the slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours, cover, and cook until the beef is very tender.

When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage and beef to a cutting board, slice into serving portions, and arrange on a serving platter. Drain the pasta and toss with some of the sauce; transfer to a serving bowl.

Serve the meat and pasta separately with sauce on the side. Freeze any leftover sauce for up to 3 months.

Favorite Alcohol Beverages

Since I’m a college student, alcohol has been a large part of my social life for the last five years. Going to parties, drinking with friends, celebrating various things such as birthdays, championship games, and holidays. Now that I’m getting older drinking a lot is going to have to be limited a lot. Drinking a beer or two in the evening, or maybe a small mixed drink after work might be what my alcohol intake consists of for a while. I really love nice beer, i.e., expensive beer that tastes good rather than cheap beer in quantities. I picture myself being a beer guy in my older age, just like my dad. My beer tastes better than what he drinks, though. He doesn’t appreciate the beer than I drink.

Vodka Cranberry This is a drink that I usually order at bars when I’m forced to buy drinks there. Drinks are usually expensive, but sometimes the bars around here have drink specials for well drinks and I get a vodka cranberry or two. My friends tend to make fun of me because they say it’s a girly drink because I’m not drinking their strong manly whiskey, but whatever, I like it. Vodka is really the only hard alcohol I can stand, so I’ll stick with my vodka cranberry!

New Belgium Fat Tire Fat Tire is one of my favorite beers that I like drinking casually. It’s slightly more expensive than your normal domestic beers, but it tastes fantastic and the aesthetic feel from the artsy labels really make it an experience. There are all kinds of Fat Tire—all of themdelicious. The IPA and the darker brews are my favorites. Sometimes they remind me of Christmas.

White Russian This mixed drink is another one of my favorites that is made with vodka. This creation is a mix between vodka, Kahlua, and creamer or milk. This mixture tastes surprisingly like chocolate milk with a slight after burn. It’s one of those drinks where you make one and just sit and watch TV or a movie. They are very enjoyable and should be drank in a glass drinking object.

Bell’s Java Stout This is another one of my favorite beers. It’s really expensive, around $18 for a six-pack, but it’s so delicious. I rarely buy it—usually just a single bottle here and there—but it’s always well worth it. I wish I could buy six-packs of it more, but maybe that’ll be one day in my life. This beer is a dark, rich stout with a java coffee taste. It’s amazing. One of my favorite beers.

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Yes, you read it correctly, a chocolate beer. This beer is one of my favorite beers of all time. It’s dark, bold, and tastes like chocolate—well, as much as beer can taste like chocolate. They are only sold in tall cans in four-packs, and they are similarly expensive to the Bell’s, but when I want to spoil myself, I usually get these. Sometimes when I go to Chumley’s on schooner night, I get a schooner full of Young’s for only six dollars.

Italian Sushi