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How to Eat Spaghetti

I don’t remember how old I was, but as some point in my childhood I remember eating dinner at my grandma‘s house. She cooked spaghetti for me and my brother and served it with a spoon. I obviously can’t recall the scenario verbatim, but I imagine it went something like this: 

I sat down at the table and immediately dug into the mound of spaghetti on my plate by twisting and twirling my fork around the noodles. Of course, several strands of pasta escaped the prongs and the time it reached my mouth, half the pasta and sauce splattered all over my face, leaving traces of red dots all over my skin.

While I attempted to get those rogue noodles back into my mouth, my grandma interrupted me by calmly—but very noticeably—putting her utensils down on the table. With her eyes locked on me I sucked up the last spaghetti strand and started cleaning off my chin and cheeks.

“Jessica,” she said in a very authoritative grandmotherly tone. “You have a spoon next to your plate for a reason, you know.”

I looked at her, laughed, and asked her why on Earth I would need a spoon for spaghetti. Clearly she was from another planet, because the best part of having spaghetti was pretending you were playing with your food. Twirling spaghetti on a fork was so much fun and having to scoop it up with a spoon would absolutely put a damper on the entire meal.

That’s when she told me something life changing. Even at the tender age of—oh, I don’t know, let’s say seven—I knew it was something I should remember.

One of the best meals I’ve had since living in Italy.

She said, “When you’re a grown up you’re going to eat at a restaurant where they’ll give you a spoon to go with your pasta. The spoon is there to help you eat the spaghetti so you don’t slurp your meal and make a mess. You’re eating pasta, not soup.” She then proceeded to show me how to use my spoon to help me eat pasta.

It was one of those lessons that didn’t mean a thing at the time, but here I am, at least two decades later, recalling a conversation I had in my grandma’s house. Life changing, I tell ya!

A noodle escaped! Whoops!

Grandma, thanks for teaching me how to properly eat spaghetti. I’ve used spoons to eat my pasta several times since then, but for some reason your lesson came to mind again when I ate the delicious spaghetti ai frutti di mare (mixed seafood pasta) at La Capannina Ristorante in Aquileia. The consistency of the noodle-to-seafood ratio wouldn’t let me just twirl with a fork, so I had to use the spoon to get it all in the same bite. You’ll be happy to know that using a spoon worked like a charm and made a great meal into a fantastic meal.

Actually, several restaurants we’ve eaten at since we’ve been out here ask if we’d like a cucchiaio (coo-chia-yo = spoon) with our meal! Who knew that spaghetti and spoons could work so well together?!

Do you eat your spaghetti with a spoon? 


  1. That spaghetti looks mighty tasty, as does the picture of the gnocchi dish you posted in your restaurant review — I'm currently obsessed with gnocchi! I would very much love to eat my way through Italy one day!

  2. What a fun story! When I order pasta at a restaurant I'll usually use the spoon provided. My sister-in-law and father-in-law both…wait for it…CUT their spaghetti into little bite-sized pieces with a knife and fork. Blasphemy, in my opinion.

    And now I want pasta.

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