Italy—as seen from the shores of America

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, you can learn a lot about the world. You can order a caffe latte. Your drinking experience will act as a tiny window into Italian culture. You can also enjoy a breve latte. This is a coffee drink prepared by mixing an espresso shot with steamed “Half & Half” (an American dairy product containing 18% fat, compare: kaffegrädde). The breve latte is always ordered in the largest available size and usually contains more than 3000 calories.

It has an Italian name (breve is Italian for ‘short’), but is this popular drink really a window into Italian culture? No. It was invented by the Americans. It has nothing to do with Italy. The American inventors—their creativity rivaled only by their dishonesty—knew that this drink was a bad idea and therefore blamed it on the Italians. As if to say: “Drinking a very large cup of straight cream seems excessive, but the Europeans are doing it so it must be OK.”

This drink is not a window. It is a mirror. When you look down at the frothy surface of a breve latte, you can see the entirety of American society reflected back at you.

Similarly, the Americans have something called an ‘Italian Soda’: Take a large glass and fill it with approximately 6000 calories of this aforementioned “Half & Half”. Add carbonated water and flavored syrup. Top with whipped creamed and a cherry.

When drinking an Italian soda, you can learn a lot about yourself and about America.


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