Religion, politics, and…cappuccino? You may think one of these is not like the other, but nothing will tear apart an Italian dinner table faster than an uncultured American ordering a cappuccino after a meal. It may seem like a silly cultural exaggeration, but trust me, you do not want to be on the other side of those rolling eyes.
Is there a finite, concrete reason for the frothy hate? No, not really, but there are plenty of explanations that will be offered forth aplenty should you ever pull this common faux pas. With a culture as serious about their food as Italy is, there are a lot of random rules that all have a basis in the same process: digestion. Cappuccino is a breakfast beverage, meant to only be enjoyed with some fruit or a pastry, with all that warm milk meant to fill you up and dilute some of the coffee’s early morning acid.
But after eating a meal, DEAR GOD NO! According to Italians, the WORST thing you can do to your body is chug a large cup of warm milk after eating, what are you trying to get indigestion!? Everything has it’s right place on the Italian table, and cappuccino just has no business in anyone’s world after 11am. Now I know what you’re thinking, what about cheese? Lots of Europeans have cheese as a dessert. Or gelato, isn’t it common to finish a meal with gelato in Italy? The answer is yes, for some reason, these dairy products are perfectly acceptable. Yet somehow, once warm milk gets involved, tempers go a-flaring and things go from jovial to judgemental faster than a hiccup.
Don’t believe me? Just try it. Reactions will range from rolled eyes and a sneer and to an outright no and full-out parent chiding your ignorance of the human digestive system. So, if you’re not prepared for a lecture in proper beverage etiquette from the priveliged foodie elite, free yourself from the hassle and get a macchiato (somehow foam doesn’t count?) or a regular espresso: you’ll save the blood pressure of all those around you.