Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Say it with gusto – say it with food

Say it with gusto – say it with food
Having been invaded by so many European countries throughout history, its state borders in a state of constant change, the accents and dialects of Italy have ended up being incredibly diverse from one region to another. But one thing that is consistent is the sheer number of sayings and expressions that are based on Italy’s first love – food.
Food and drink references make it easy to be creative with language. Got a short friend? Liken them to a small bottle containing the best wine. A good friend? Compare them to good bread with ‘buono come il pane’. A friend very much like you? Then they’re not just cut from the same cloth, they’re ‘essere della stessa’ – of the same pasta.
If someone is holding a secret, then they have water in their mouth (acqua in bocca), if someone thinks they know the secret, then they know what’s boiling in the pot- ‘sapere quello che bolle in pentola’.  Food references are applicable when items are lost ‘cercare il peno nell’uovo’ – like looking for a hair in an egg,  or in abundance ‘come il prezzemolo’ – as common as parsley.
And finally, no food idiom is complete without a much-loved pig reference – ‘mangiare come un maiale’ you might say, to accuse someone of eating like a pig.