Recently this backfired on me when my husband, after buying ingredients but before cooking them, got caught up at work. I ended up with a bag of ingredients, a detailed list of instructions about what to do with them, and no Italians in sight.
So, after delaying as long as possible, my guests and I rolled up our sleeves and started following my husband's directions. "Fai un soffritto," chop this, sauté that." We thought we were doing pretty well despite measurements like "a handful" and "a big handful."
Anyway, we got done with everything and what we had was a chicken dish, a vegetable side, and a, well, mush. I was confused by the menu, which didn't seem like his usual breakdown of primo and secondo. And we were all confused about the mush.
Just then the Italian arrived. We asked him:
"What's with the mush?"
"You didn't make pasta?"
"No, you didn't say to make pasta."
"Why would I need to say to make pasta? What were we supposed to have for a primo?"