15 Foods That Are Served as “Italian” in America, but That Actual Italians Would Never, Ever Claim

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It’s kind of like how the entire menu at On the Border is full of stuff no Mexican person would actually recognize were it served to them at home (except for maybe the beans, rice, and tortillas). It’s delicious, but it’s not really cuisine from Mexico…

We’ve realized this here in the States and re-branded restaurants like that “Tex-Mex,” but there’s not really an equivalent for the “Italian” food we serve that definitely did not come from the country itself.

The 15 foods below are classic examples of cuisine no Italian would ever claim.

#15. Chicken in pasta.


Pasta should not contain such foreign bodies.

#14. Or on pizza.


Seriously, they’d rather starve than eat chicken on pizza. I tend to agree.

#13. Pizza rolls.


Probably a no-brainer, but your childhood staple did not come from the mind of an Italian.

#12. Caesar salad.


The long-dead general probably wouldn’t be wolfing one down, even if he could.

#11. Spaghetti carbonara with bacon.


It shouldn’t bacon – it’s a dish with pancetta. If you’re looking to get into an argument with an Italian today, go ahead and say they’re the same thing.

#10. Spaghetti and meatballs.


They think it’s disgusting.

#9. Garlic bread.


They agree it’s delicious, but cannot take the credit.

#8. Penne alla vodka.


They’ll take a glass of red wine on the side (or in their sauce) any day – but vodka? Not so much.

#7. Mozzarella sticks.


They might not be Italian, but you can pry them out of my cold, dead hands.

#6. Pepperoni.


Their opinion is that the mystery meat should probably be banned by the FDA, and they’re likely not wrong.

#5. Chicken (or veal) parmesan.


It’s more fit for the stray cats in Rome.

#4. Baked ziti.


They have a similar dish called pasta al forno – it is delicious, but significantly different.

#3. Sausage and onions.


Somehow, the Italians are getting credit for this (or blame, depending on your opinion).

#2. Italian wedding soup with sausage.


They’ve literally never heard of it.

#1. Macaroni and cheese.


Kids in Italy make it through their childhood without those bright blue boxes. Somehow.

The foods are still yummy, so eat up! We’ll just work on a different name for our faux Italian cuisine…