I’m Eating a Panino! We are Eating Panini! Regardless, in Italy, it’s Always an Experience!
I have been working on my Italian lately and I learned some things that now bother me more than they probably should. My problem with learning languages is that when I learn about the proper use of a term that people use the wrong way in English, I start using the word the correct way and when I hear people using it the wrong way I cringe a little and I end up biting my tongue to stop myself from correcting them. The word Panini is now one of those words. Panini is actually a plural in Italian. It means “small breads”. The singular form is Panino. That means “small bread”. Both of those words are diminutives of the Italian word Pane which simply means “bread”. So, when you say the phrase “I’m eating a panini” what you are actually saying is “I’m eating a small breads”. *cringe* That sounds horrible! What sounds worse is “We’re eating Paninis” and that means “We’re eating small breadses”. *screams in anger* Use the right words!!! Learn about the words you are borrowing from other languages! Don’t sound like Gollum.
So, now that we all know how to use the word correctly, what is a panino exactly? Panini usually refers to sandwiches. No surprise there since that is how that words is used in both English and Italian. These sandwiches are usually served hot or warm. They are fantastic on cold days or if you just like warm sandwiches. Most of the time they are served on toasted ciabatta or michetta. Both ciabatta and michetta are soft on the inside and feature a delightfully crispy outside. Ciabatta is usually the preferred bread to use. Keep in mind that when you make this bread or get it from your local bakery that this bread must be refrigerator or the freezer because it has no sugar and that means that it will start to go bad quickly if you don’t.
The outside of the panini is important, but it is the inside that makes it fantastic. Like a lot of Italian sandwich-like dishes, the main meats are mortadella, ham, and salami. More fun facts time! Salami is also the plural form of an Italian word. The singular form is salame. The words are used in reference to salted meats and the root of the word is sale which means “salt”. Pepperoni is a type of salame! That particular word is a funky corruption of the plural peperoni of which the singular is peperone. Those mean “bell pepper”. It wouldn’t be a sandwich without cheese of some sort and this sandwich is no exception. Hard cheeses are preferred when making them since you are going to be putting them in a panini press. Hard Cheeses take longer to melt and since you want the cheese to be warm or slightly melted rather than burn-your-mouth-as-you-eat-it hot. Italy has a plethora of cheeses to choose from. I personally prefer to use Asiago, Provolone Siciliano, and Pecrino Romano. My favorite cheese is actually Pecrino Romano and I could eat that stuff on pretty much anything. Parmigiano-Reggiano is pretty awesome tasting on panini. Some people put mozzarella on their panini, but it is not my favourite since I prefer to eat it by itself. Other toppings include fresh tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and various other Italian spices.
Italian food is great and, like other foods from the area around the Mediterranean Sea, it is surprisingly good for you! The reason for that is because the main dishes are relatively low in sugar and they are full of fresh fruits and vegetables. They also use lots of olive oil which is also good for you. In terms of deserts, they also use a lot of fresh ingredients. The chocolate that they use is usually dark chocolate which is amazing for you in so many ways! It is also great food to enjoy with your friends and family. Eating in Italy, regardless of what you are eating, is always a big deal and should be enjoyed with good company. Those pictures over there are some picture of my friends an I when we went to Italy a few years back experiencing the awesomeness that is Italian dining. I’m not joking, it really is an experience! If you ever go to Italy take a group of friends or go with your family because it really is an experience to go out to eat.