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Eat Spaghetti Without Making A Mess

Nowadays there is a certain degree of snobbery about this method. Today those in the know prefer to use just a fork alone and deride those who use the spoon as well.

The reason for the change in spaghetti eating etiquette is that the wide bowls that are now commonly used were once a rarity in both restaurants and homes outside Italy. Pasta was frequently served on a flat plate which made the spoon essential for spaghetti.

With a bowl there is no need for a spoon. You can wind the pasta against the edge of the bowl.

The idea is to use the edge of the bowl to allow you to twirl the spaghetti around your fork. That’s fine if your pasta is served on a bowl rather than a plate.

Even so it takes some practice. The key thing is not to get too much spaghetti on your fork in one go. Just a few strands are enough.

Twirl your fork around until the whole length of the spaghetti is gathered up, then bring it up to your mouth. If you notice that there is too much spaghetti on your fork or the ends are dangling then lower your fork and start again.

You will only get into a mess with spaghetti if you leave those ends dangling. If you try to suck them up like the dogs in The Lady and the Tramp you will splatter sauce all over yourself. Oriental noodles are made to slurp and are served in a bowl that you can pick up for that reason, spaghetti is not.

In Italy spaghetti used to be sold in metre lengths. It was kept in a drawer and the shopkeeper would break it in two so that it could be carried home more easily. Today in Italy, spaghetti is sold in shorter lengths as it is everywhere in the world so there is no need to break it up before cooking.

If spaghetti is cooked correctly it should wrap around your fork easily. If it is overcooked it is more likely to slide off the fork or refuse to stay wrapped around it. This is why spaghetti is often difficult to eat when it is served outside Italy.

So spaghetti should be eaten with a fork. However, a spoon may be provided even in Italy. This is not like the fork that is provided in Oriental restaurants a concession to foreign ineptitude. The spoon is to allow you to toss the spaghetti in its sauce and to scoop up every last drop of that sauce.

Opinions differ on whether it is correct to use bread to mop up the sauce. Some authorities regard serving bread as a feature of impoverished households, others accept that today it is normal in restaurants. When the bread if a good quality ciabatta or focaccia it would be shame to pass up the opportunity of enjoying it with the sauce in the name of out moded etiquette.