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From Wheat Thins to Bagels: American Food We Miss in Italy

Living in Sicily, surrounded by fresh, delectable ingredients and culinary masterpieces, feels like a dream come true. But even amidst this culinary wonderland, sometimes your stomach whispers for a taste of home. You know, those slightly less refined, undeniably American bites that trigger waves of nostalgia and send cravings into overdrive. 

As a dual American-Italian citizen, now happily (mostly) settled in Sicily, I confess: there are American foods I shamelessly miss. This isn't about Michelin-starred dishes, but the comfort foods that hold a special place in my heart. So, let's raise a (virtual) glass of ranch dressing to the American eats I haven't found in my Italian adventures (yet!)

Snack Attack!

Forget bread and olive oil for a moment. Sometimes you just need the satisfying crunch of something salty.

  • The Mighty Wheat Thin: Light, crispy, and perfect for scooping up hummus (which we’ll get to…), Wheat Thins fill a snack void no grissini can satisfy.

  • Pretzel Crisps: Salty, satisfying, and a delivery system for endless dips, these pretzel-shaped wonders remain elusive in Italy's snack aisle.

  • Hot Cheetos: The fiery, neon-dusted snack of champions, Hot Cheetos haven't quite made their way across the Atlantic in all their spicy glory.

  • Banana Peppers: Sweet, tangy, and perfect on sandwiches or solo, banana peppers seem to have gotten lost in translation somewhere between English and Italian.

Condiment Conundrum

These sauces and dips add character to almost anything, but finding them in Italy can be a challenge.

  • Sour Cream: The creamy counterpoint to everything from tacos to baked potatoes, sour cream is surprisingly hard to find in Italy. The yogurt aisle just isn't the same.

  • Ranch Dressing: The king (or queen?) of all condiments, ranch dressing remains an American enigma in Italian kitchens. Mayonnaise can't hold a candle!

  • BBQ Sauce: Sweet, smoky, and essential for any grill-master, BBQ sauce is a flavor Italy hasn't quite embraced.

  • Hummus: While chickpeas are abundant here, Sicilian hummus leans towards a mousse-like texture. I miss the thick, rich garlic or roasted red pepper infused hummus of the states.

Breakfast Blues

Italian breakfasts are light and sweet, but nothing hits like the hearty comfort of an

American morning.

  • American Breakfast Sausage: Savory, spiced, and perfect with pancakes or eggs, American sausage just doesn't exist in Italy. The closest equivalent is more like a mild salami, leaving breakfast feeling incomplete.

  • Hash Browns: Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, hashbrowns are the ultimate breakfast side. Italy offers potato variations, but none quite capture the magic of hash.

  • Bagels: The chewy, bready canvas for endless schmear combinations, bagels are sadly absent from Italian breakfast routines. Ciabatta just doesn't cut it.

  • Pancakes: So simple yet, so expensive for the mix and almost impossible to find a rich maple syrup to top those fluffy pillows of deliciousness.

More Than Just Food

I want to be clear: Italy's food scene is a treasure trove. I wouldn't trade fresh mozzarella for a gallon of ranch dressing any day. But sometimes, a girl just needs a taste of home. So, to all my fellow American foodies in Italy: embrace the local bounty, but don't forget to pack your care packages strategically. And if anyone stumbles upon a secret source of Hot Cheetos, do let me know!


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