Reading Italian Menus: Il Secondo

Roman restaurant
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

When I first traveled to Italy as a college student, I had difficulty at first when I tried to read and order at an Italian restaurant. I thought back to how many lessons I had had in Italian through high school and college and then realized that the reason was simple: Italian courses in school did not focus on the vocabulary I needed as a traveler.

Years later, when members of the Italian-American Society of Peoria would ask me if I could help them with Italian before a trip to Italy they had planned—for vacation or to visit long-lost Italian relatives—I remembered my own difficulties, and I created the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books. These books focus on the vocabulary and phrases we all need to know to enjoy our trip to Italy!

Along these lines, last week, I asked the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, “What is your favorite Italian dish for Il Secondo, or the second course?” I posted about one of my favorite dishes my mother would make when I was growing up as a child, called braciole, and the family tomato sauce recipe she would cook this rolled-up meat in.

I’d love to hear about more Italian favorites! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

Read the list below of cooking methods and types of meats found on menus in Italian restaurants, taken from Chapter 17 of Conversational Italian for Travelers and see if it reminds you of your favorite Italian dish!

**********************************************

Cooking Methods in Italian

fritto fried
bollito boiled
arrostito roasted
brasato/stufato braised/stewed
affumicato smoked
farcito(a)/ripieno(a) stuffed
al forno baked (lit. from the oven)
alla brace broiled
alla griglia/ai ferri grilled
alla cacciatora stewed in a pot (as a hunter would make)

 

Meat Dishes in Italian

 

la cotoletta cutlet (meat without bone)
la scaloppina very thin cutlet
la costoletta chop/rib (bone in meat)
l’arrosto the roast (to be sliced)
la bistecca* steak*
bistecca alla fiorentina steak florentine style
al sangue rare meat
ben cotto well-done meat
cotto a puntino cooked just right
il sugo di carne gravy
le polpette meatballs
il vitello veal
il pollo chicken
il petto di pollo chicken breast fillet
il tacchino turkey
l’anatra duck
la quaglia quail
il fagiano pheasant
il coniglio rabbit
il maiale pork
la pancetta bacon
il guanciale bacon from pig cheeks
l’agnello lamb
l’abbacchio young lamb
la capra/il capretto goat/kid
il fegato liver

*When ordering a steak in Italy (wonderful grilled steaks, called bistecca alla fiorentina, can be found in Tuscany, for example), it is not really possible to order how the steak should be cooked. Instead, it is usually left for the chef to decide, based on the cut of meat and the style of the dish.

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com

Braciole: Italian Beef Rolls for Dinner

Braciole - Italian Beef Rolls

My grandmother came to this country as a young woman in the 1920s to wed my grandfather, who had been her childhood sweetheart some 8 years before, when they both lived in the same small town in Sicily. She left her family behind, but brought with her the knowledge of how to cook the Italian food that she grew up with and that my grandfather loved so well.

As a child, one of my favorite dishes that my grandmother, and then my mother, would make at home was called braciole (meat rolls with a surprise filling in the center).  The recipe for my family’s braciole and the tomato sauce to cook them in was originally posted on 5/9/16 on the Learn Italian! blog for Stella Lucente, LLC  and www.learntravelitalian.com. Below is an excerpt. Click on the link for the recipe!

I’d love to hear if your family makes this dish and your favorite recipe!

Italian beef rolls—involtini di carne,  also known as braciole, bracioli, or  bruciuluni (in Palermo Sicilian dialect)—are a favorite southern Italian treat that are often served for the Sunday family dinner. What I enjoy most about this dish is that there are so many different variations, and every family that makes braciole has its own special traditional recipe. My family hides a whole hard-boiled egg in the center for a surprise when the braciole is cut open. Other families chop the egg in half or into smaller pieces, and some families do not use egg at all!

By the way, I am not sure of the origin of the word braciole used here in America, but in Italy, braciola refers to a cut of pork (usually grilled), and this dish can be made with pork cutlets. My friend Peter Palazzolo from the Speak Sicilian! Facebook group mentioned to me that long ago this rolled-up meat was cooked with grapevine twigs cured like coal, or bracia. But, I think my friend and Italian teacher Maria Vanessa Colapinto (blog eleganza per me), is correct with her idea that the real origin of this word comes from the Italian for the old-type grill that the rolled-up meat for this dish was cooked on. This grill is still used today and is called a “brace.” Meat cooked in this way is “all’abrace,” or “on the grill.”

Conversational Italian Numbers Tips!

Italy, Florence's Piazza Signoria photo by Conversational Italian for Travelers
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

For the last few weeks on the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we have been discussing how to count in Italian. Most people are familiar with how to count from 1 to 10.

With a simple tip, even the larger Italian numbers are easy to master! The following blog post contains material from the “Numbers” sections at the ends of Chapters 1 and 2 in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook.

Here is how it works: When counting from 20 to 99 in Italian, simply take your tens number—venti, trenta, and so on, and add on your number from 1 to 9, as in English!

But remember this simple rule: “For ones and eights, take away a! This just means that the last letter of each tens word must be removed before adding on “uno” for “one” or “otto” for “eight.”

Flash cards that children use when learning addition or multiplication can be an entertaining way to practice numbers in a group. Each student can take turns picking a card, any card, out of the pile, and saying the number in Italian! Happy counting! Join us on our open Conversational Italian! Facebook group for more tips if you like!

**********************************

Counting from 1 to 10

zero (Note: The Italian word zero will change to the plural zeri when describing more than one of this number [i.e., 100 has two zeros, or due zeri].)

1 uno  2 due  3 tre  4 quattro  5 cinque
6 sei  7 sette  8 otto  9 nove  10 dieci

 

Counting by Tens

20

venti

30

trenta

40

quaranta

50

cinquanta

60

sessanta

70

settanta

80 ottanta
90

novanta

                             

Here are the 20s and 30s in full:

20 – venti 30 – trenta
21 – ventuno 31 – trentuno
22 – ventidue 32 – trentadue
23 – ventitre 33 – trentatre
24 – ventiquattro 34 – trentaquattro
25 – venticinque 35 – trentacinque
26 – ventisei 36 – trentasei
27 – ventisette 37 – trentasette
28 – ventotto 38 – trentotto
29 – ventinove 39 – trentanove

***For our readers: To purchase the right to download the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook onto one computer and one electronic device OR to purchase our textbook and have it delivered right to your door, visit our website at www.Learn Travel Italian.com.

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

The Italian Subjunctive Mode: Easy to Conjugate but Tricky to Use!

Italian for Fun and Travel Class displayed with Conversational Italian Books

This blog about the Italian subjunctive mode, or il congiuntivo, is the first in a series on this topic that I’ve created for advanced students and teachers of Italian. Each blog will focus on real-life situations and give examples for when the Italian subjunctive mode should be used. Below is an excerpt from the original post.

Visit the Learn Italian!  blog from April 25, 2016 to read the entire article, and get started learning how to express yourself more naturally and fluently in Italian!

 How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mode

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning how to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Can you use the Italian subjunctive mode in the correct situations? To express complex feelings in Italian correctly, it is important to use the Italian subjunctive mode. Using the subjunctive mode is difficult for English speakers, as we only rarely use this tense in English, and it’s something that I am always working on! The next three blogs in the “Speak Italian” blog series will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian subjunctive mode, or “il congiuntivo.”

To take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian using the subjunctive, in this segment, we will discuss the phrases that take the subjunctive mode and the how to conjugate the subjunctive mode for avere, essere and stare. Example sentences to follow!

****************************

In each blog in the “Speak Italian” series about the Italian subjunctive mode (“il congiuntivo”), phrases that take the Italian subjunctive mode will be presented. Then we will review the Italian conjugation for the subjunctive mode in the present and past tenses. Finally, examples of common phrases used in daily life with the Italian subjunctive mode will be presented. Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian and try out the subjunctive mode in your next Italian conversation!

Click on the link and enjoy the first blog in this series, Italian Subjunctive Mode (Part 1): Speak Italian!
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructors Simona Giuggioli and Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Italian Language… Read All About “Ema”

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Interesting fact I found out recently: Italian words that end in “ema” like “problema” are masculine even though they end in the letter “a” and therefore should be feminine in Italian. The reason is because they originally come from the Greek language.

So today I have solved un problema”! The “un” I used is the masculine word for “a” and needs to precede all of these feminine-looking but actually masculine Italian words.

Remember to use “il,” which is the masculine word for “the” before masculine words that begin with a consonant and “l” for those that begin with a vowel.

Last week, I asked the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, “How many more commonly used Italian words that end in “ema” can everyone think of?” Below are some replies. I’d love to hear more! Continue the conversation on this blog, and join us on our Facebook group if you like!

***********************************

Italian Words That End in “EMA”

“You can say, “Ho un problema.” (I have a problem.) or “Ho dei problemi.” (I have some problems.) 😉 (wink emoticon) Now you have no more problems! =D (grin emoticon)”
C’è un dilemma.   
This is a dilemma/predicament.
“Un po’ di crema se si screma non crea patema e non c’è problema, cara Kathryn!”
A little bit of cream if you skim it doesn’t create worries, and there is no problem, dear Kathryn!
Non c’è problema!  
There is no problem!

 

 

 il tema  the subject, topic, theme
il sistema the system
l’anatema the anathema
il teorema  the theorem, theory, hypothesis
il cinema the film, films, movies, movie theater, film industry
il schema the tactic, method, strategy, outline
il poema the epic, epic poem
il clima the climate
il fantasma  the ghost

 

Italian Appetizers, Anyone?

Antipasto Misto
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Last week on the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we talked about what appetizers, or “antipasto” we like to serve for Easter and other holidays.

Antipasto simply means “before the meal” in Italian and refers to small dishes served before “Il Primo” or “the first course” of pasta, an Italian rice dish of risotto, or  Italian potato dumplings called gnocchi.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, which lists our favorite “antipasti” served in Italy.

Notice, by the way, the pronunciation of a very common Italian appetizer served here in America— bruschetta slices of toasted bread with various toppings, most commonly tomato and basil. The Italians pronounce it very differently than most Americans! What is your family’s favorite antipasto dish? Write and let us know!

If you want to read more about this topic, the textbook is available for delivery from Learn Travel Italian.com. The rights to purchase the book in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be purchased at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************************

Antipasto

il pane bread
una fetta
di pane
slice of bread
la bruschetta toasted bread slices rubbed with garlic; can be topped with chopped tomatoes or chopped liver, and so on. (It’s pronounced br/oo/ske/ta because “che” is pronounced like the English word “key.”)
l’olio (d’oliva) olive oil
l’aceto vinegar (balsamic; aged vinegar from Modena/red wine vinegar)
l’antipasto misto assorted appetizers
l’insalata verde/mista mixed lettuce greens and vegetables
i calamari fritti fried squid
la panzanella tomato and bread salad, usually made with leftover bread cubes
la caprese  fresh tomato slices, basil, and mozzarella sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil (from Capri)
le olive olives
le verdure (sottaceto) assorted vegetables (pickled)
i peperoni (sottaceto) peppers (pickled)
i funghi (sottaceto) mushrooms (pickled)
i carciofi (sott’olio) artichoke hearts (preserved in olive oil)
la caponata Sicilian eggplant and olive appetizer, cooked and then served cold
le acciughe anchovies
la bagna cauda warm olive oil, garlic, and anchovy dip for fresh or boiled vegetables, from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy
le sardine sardines
la mortadella  special type of bologna, from the city of Bologna
il salame
i salumi
salami—a variety of dried/smoke-cured meats that vary by region
il fritto misto assorted batter-fried vegetables, assorted fish and seafood, or a combination of both vegetables and seafood
il prosciutto special air-dried/cured ham from the city of Parma
prosciutto
e melone
special cured ham served on top of a cantaloupe slice, often drizzled with balsamic vinegar
lo speck special smoked ham from the region of Tyrol in Austria
il formaggio cheese—made from cow, sheep, or goat milk in Italy (See Chapter 18 of Conversational Italian for Travelers for a chart of the most common Italian cheeses and their region of origin.)

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on www.Learn Travel Italian.com

 

Conversational Italian for Travelers: Book Review

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn for Learntravelitalian.com

Conversational Italian for Travelers: Just the Important Phrases Thank you, Margie, for a wonderful review on your blog, MargeinItaly!

Note redesigned cover for 2019! Same great Italian phrases you love!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

Available on   Amazon.com
and http://www.LearnTravelItalian.com

 

margieinitaly

Photoby Kathy Occhipinti

Occasionally I like to introduce an author or  feature a book about Italy or anything Italian. Today I am honored to recommend a book I recently discovered, and I think you’ll like it too.

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrasesby Kathryn Occhipinti is the perfect travel companion for your trip to Italy. Concise and well organized, only 4 inches by 6 inches, this pocket-sized Italian language book can travel with you wherever you go in Italy. Beginning with pronunciation of the Italian alphabet this book is full of practical information about every aspect of travel in Italy.

Conversational Italian is what you need in Italy and you can learn it so quickly here  with the author’s focus on “just the important phrases.”

From meeting people to transportation, to renting a car, to shopping, to ordering food in a restaurant,  to money, all topics of importance are…

View original post 188 more words

Learn Italian: “How much does it cost?”

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Last week on the Conversational Italian! Facebook group, we learned how to ask, “How much does it cost?” in Italian.

Do you like to barter? Did you know that the merchants in the piazzas of Italy (and some stores) actually expect you to barter with them? Don’t pay full price for your Italian treasure if you don’t have to! And the sellers always appreciate it if you pepper your English with a few friendly Italian phrases to help the deal go through!

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, on the topic of how to barter in Italy. If you want to read more about this topic, the textbook is available for delivery from Learn Travel Italian.com. The rights to purchase the book in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be purchased at Learn Travel Italian.com.

************************************

Quanto Costa?

When asking a shopkeeper in Italy how much one thing costs, you can point to the item and ask:

Quanto costa? =  How much does (it ) cost?

When asking a shopkeeper in Italy how much more than one thing costs, you can point to the items and ask:

Quanto costano? = How much do these things cost?

*************************************

Start a conversation with a shopkeeper by asking:

Quanto costa… How much is…
(literally: How much costs…)

 

Of course, the listed price will be:

troppo caro too expensive
costoso  expensive, costly
proprio costoso  really expensive
Costa un occhio della testa! Costs an arm and a leg!
(lit. Costs an eye out of the head!)

 

Unless the article happens to be:

in vendita/in saldo, saldi on sale/on sale for a reduced price
in svendita  in a closeout sale
sconto/scontato  discount/discounted
a prezzo basso at low/lowered price

 

And here we go with bartering… If you’ve tried this in Italy, leave a comment describing your method and let us know how it worked! 

Quanto costa? How much (does it) cost?
Venti euro. (It costs) 20 euro.
Troppo caro! Quindici euro, invece! (That is) too expensive! 15 euros instead!
Non è in saldo… ma, diciannove va bene. (It) is not on sale… but 19 is good.
No, è costoso! Forse diciassette? No, (it) is expensive! Perhaps 17?
Diciotto. Non posso fare più sconto! 18. (I) can’t discount it any more! (lit. I can’t make it (any) more discounted!)
D’accordo. Agreed.

 

Learn Conversational Italian for Travelers
Conversational Italian for Travelers Textbook

Available on  www.Learn Travel Italian.com

How to say “I love you”… in Italian!

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.comThere are many phrases in Italian for those relationships that are friendship or more… and, of course, many ways to say to that special someone, “I love you,” in Italian! Here are a few phrases from Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and the Just the Important Phrases travel pocket book on  Amazon.com and www.Learn Travel Italian.comAmazon.com to help you out!

*Featured photo from thereadables.tumblr.com

**************************************

All About Italian Love

l’amicizia friendship
l’amico the friend (male)
gli amici the friends (male group or male + female group)
l’amica the friend
le amiche the girlfriends

 

Tu sei… You are…
il mio amico del cuore.
la mia amica del cuore.
my close friend.
(Italians call many their close friends!)
il mio migliore amico.
la mia migliore amica.
my best friend. 
(There is only one best friend!)

 

Mi vuoi bene?  Do you love me/care for me?
(for family and friends, and also your true love)
Ti voglio bene.  I love you/care for you/wish you well.

 

amare to love in a romantic way
l’amore romantic love
innamorato(a)  in love
Mi ami? Do you love me?
Ti amo!  I love you!
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

 

Available on Amazon.com and www.Learn Travel Italian.com