“I love Italian food!’ It’s a phrase probably every American has said in their lifetime, whether you’re drooling over a plate of spaghetti and meatballs or breaded chicken parmesan topped with tomato sauce and cheese.

But unless you’ve been to or grew up in Italy, you don’t really know what real Italian food is. Why? Because the “Italian” foods served in America are actually not true Italian food.

One Italian woman interviewed her Italian parents about the various times of Italian food served in America—which are actually not Italian at all. Here are the top foods that make them basically completely dead inside. The answers may surprise you!

  1. Spaghetti and Meatballs

    “I have one reaction only; as the Italians would say: ‘che schifo’ (translation: how disgusting!!!)”

  2. Chicken Parm

    “Better leave it to the cats in the Coliseum.”

  3. Chicken in Pasta

    Fork next to bowl of creamy chicken bacon penne pastaTipHero

    “What foreign body is lurking in my pasta?”

  4. Chicken on Pizza

    “I think Italians would rather starve than taste such a concoction.”

  5. “Italian” Dressing

    “Only if it can be used as fuel for the Fiat 500.”

  6. Garlic Bread

    Overhead shot of slices or halves of mushroom-stuffed breadTipHero

    “I happen to love it, but it’s as Italian as apple pie!”

  7. Baked Ziti

    “In Italy it’s actually ‘pasta al forno,’ but that’s a whole different animal…”

  8. Penne Alla Vodka

    “Bring on the red vino. We don’t do potato alcohol in Rome!”

  9. Sausage and Onions

    “I’m totally speechless. No words to describe how unappetizing this is.”

  10. Mozzarella Sticks

    “To pack in American children’s lunchboxes because it’s healthier than chicken nuggets…maybe??” Okay mom I’m gonna disagree with you there.”

  11. “Italian” Wedding Soup

    “I’ve never even heard of that.”

  12. Cheesecake Made with Cream Cheese

    “Only one kind of cheesecake in Italy and that is ricotta cheesecake — cheesecake made from cream cheese is not an option.”

  13. Macaroni and Cheese

    “As far as I know, Kraft does not operate in Italy.”

  14. Caesar Salad

    “Caesar would roll over in his grave.”

  15. Pizza Rolls


Did you know these seemingly Italian foods are not actually Italian at all? What’s your favorite true Italian meal—or an Americanized version?