It is national Spaghetti day. Who decides these things, we do not know, but it does give us a good excuse to discuss a very important topic. Be forewarned that we by no means claim to have all the answers, nor do we care whether we do or not, and neither should you.
Spaghetti, when you think of it, is a tangled mess of stringy knots and so is the topic of deciding the proper way to retrieve it from the plate and bring it to one’s mouth with decorum. You either master the art, or do your best and have a good laugh if you make a mess. We are much in favor of the latter. We hope you are too.
Spaghetti is one of those foods that inspire children to make funny faces and challenge each other to make the most theatrical slurp. Adults like control. There is a time for play and a time to be serious. We need to loosen up, put on a bib and allow a little mess now and again, at least at home.
When dining out, however, or visiting someone else’s table, we must appear civilized. Ever wonder how much fun we miss in our lives just for acting properly?
Then again, acting properly is a worthy endeavor and an art. It can be quite rewarding. We feel good about ourselves when we dress up and we should feel good when we behave with dignity. At the very least, this ensures we will be invited out again.
If spaghetti is served and you do not have a choice about it, and you feel that your host may have selected an easier fair, keep quiet about it and impress the living daylights out of them with your mastery of the dish. If your children can emulate your perfect style, all the more glory to you. In a restaurant, you have other options, but if you do enjoy spaghetti knowing how to handle it means you do not have to bypass a favorite dish. We are in luck. The ultimate etiquette expert, Emily Post, has inspired what follows.
”Most restaurants (and hostesses) that feature pasta provide guests with a large spoon as well as the knife and fork. The fork is used to spear a few strands of spaghetti, the tips are placed against the spoon, which is held on its side, in the left hand, and the fork is twirled, wrapping the spaghetti around itself as it turns. If no spoon is provided, the tips of the fork may be rested against the curve of the plate.” – Source: The New Emily Post’s Etiquette. Published: 1975.
Some people might argue that spoons are for soup and children. As much as we have taken our time to get to this point in the present article, we’ll cut straight to the chase here: nonsense.
Spaghetti twirling, like pizza throwing, requires practice. Here, too, you have a choice. You can spend hours practicing alone in your kitchen just in case it might come in handy, or make every actual meal your practice. A good trick is to watch what others around the table are doing. This can be done fairly easily during conversation. Find a short, interesting story to tell. While you speak, watch how your dining companions handle their spaghetti. Identify the person who seems to have the most efficient technique and emulate it. A word of caution: You must approach this task with great confidence so that it appears as though you have eaten your spaghetti this way for years.
When all else fails, be the unique person that you are, quirks and all, and just cut your spaghetti, a little at a time, and then eat a few bites before cutting some more. You may raise some eyebrows, but you will not make a mess and you will also demonstrate the great character of one who honors personal style.