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  • Writer's pictureAnne Marie Ahm

The Great Spaghetti Debate

Did you know that there is a National Spaghetti Day?

Apparently, it’s a thing, and it comes around every January 4th.

I decided it would be a good time to bring up Spaghetti Eating Etiquette.

There are two approaches on how to twirl your spaghetti onto your fork, and the proponents of each are very passionate about their way being the “right way”. Even two of the “great dames” of etiquette do not agree on the subject!

What are the two approaches you ask?


Using your spoon to twirl your spaghetti and using your plate to twirl your spaghetti.

Amy Vanderbilt, in her 1952 “Complete Book of Etiquette”, gave the following advice: “The spoon is placed in the left hand, assuming the subject is right-handed, more or less upright in the plate of spaghetti. The right hand uses the fork with the tip of the prongs against the spoon to wind the spaghetti into a manageable mouthful. It should not drip off the fork. The forkful of spaghetti is then conveyed into the mouth while the spoon remains in the hand and on the plate.”

It is important to note that the bowl of the spoon never leaves the plate, and the spoon is not lifted into the air.

Judith Martin, of Miss Manners, recommends the not using a spoon:

“The fork should be planted, tines down, against the plate, and rotated so that the spaghetti is wound around it. Those pesky strands that refuse to wind can be cut with the side of the fork.”

Take two or three strands of spaghetti from the edge of the dish. Then use the edge or bottom of the plate to support the tines of your fork as your twirl it clockwise. Continue twirling until you have it wrapped up in a neat (and small) bite. Take the fork to your mouth, not your mouth to the plate.

The Great Spaghetti Debate seems to be regional, although most agree that “no spoon” is the correct way. Whatever way you chose to go (I, personally, am a no spoon spaghetti eater) remember these tips:

- No slurping spaghetti

- Do not bite off leftover strands

- Take two or three pieces of spaghetti to twirl

- If you are for spoons and no spoon is offered, do not ask for one.

- Practice, practice, practice.

- And when in doubt, or trying to impress someone, maybe order a different kind of pasta.

I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, or if you have any other etiquette question you would like to know more about, please let me know.

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