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RISMEDIA, July 20, 2010—Americans are busier than ever; between school, work, sports and after-school activities, families barely get to see each other throughout the week and rarely have time to sit down for a family meal. A new survey from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that while 87% of Americans count “eating meals as a family” among their most cherished family memories, over half (53%) wish they had more time to have family meals. Across the country Americans are seeking ways to share more experiences with their families and friends and make those moments they get to share as meaningful as possible.

Carrabba’s, along with Fabio Viviani, celebrated chef and Top Chef contestant, are drawing from their Italian heritage for inspiration and ideas on how to live life to the fullest with family and friends. This tradition is about making the most of each delicious moment and seeking out activities that bring people together over rich experiences. The Italian lifestyle is one of passion and flair for life. For this reason, people around the world have taken cues from Italian culture for centuries.

Carrabba’s and Viviani have come together to create the following simple tips gleaned from their collective Italian traditions on how to bring a bit of Italy into everyday American life.

1. Enjoy the Italian tradition of ‘passeggiata’
Take part in your own “passeggiata” with family and friends and use it as an opportunity to unwind from your day, engage in lively conversation and discover things you never knew about your area.

2. Cooking is an art – learn simple cooking techniques
Italian recipes feature poultry, meats and seafood prepared in a wide range of techniques from simply grilled, roasted or poached with extra virgin olive oil and garlic to more complicated sautéing, filleting and creation of elaborate sauces including tomatoes, cream and a variety of herbs and spices. It’s no wonder that more Americans (58%) would rather have a family member who makes great Italian meals rather than a family member who makes amazing desserts.

3. Enjoy a special meal with the family – and don’t rush
In Italy, dinner is a big event that is more about being with loved ones uniting in rich conversation than it is about eating.

4. Italian culture is steeped in tradition – embrace old traditions and start new ones with your family
Everyone has a history and traditions—88% of Americans have family recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next and nearly half (45%) of families celebrate traditions that began three or more generations ago.

5. Italians culture is supported by “ars vivendi,” the art of living and enjoying life – live your life with passion
Italians are known for being passionate people who embrace the joys of life and aim to live it to the fullest. This passion is just what Americans are missing out on–3 in 10 are not living life to the fullest (29%). You can find passion and happiness all around you. Happiness can be as simple as an evening spent with family, adventures with friends, a beautiful day outside, or finding the perfect glass of wine or bowl of pasta.

6. Beauty is everywhere – show an appreciation for the arts and music
An appreciation for the world and all its wonders is an inherently Italian way of thinking. They notice the beauty that exists in people, places and things, in both manmade and natural occurrences and have their own style when embracing life. Take a look around your world; look at the people around you, the places you go and look for the beauty in them. Spice up your style by putting your own finesse on a new dish by adding fresh herbs or creating a memorable tablescape for a dinner party.

7. Simple is delicious – fresh ingredients prepared simply make the biggest impact
In Italy, most fish and meat are purchased the same day they will be cooked to ensure they are as fresh as possible. This is based upon the Italian belief that using the freshest ingredients can elevate any meal. Use the ingredients of the season and prepare them simply to let their true flavors shine. To be Italian is to take fresh, flavorsome food, prepare it with love and enjoy it with family and friends. No matter what, the basis for any great Italian meal is top quality, fresh ingredients.

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