Health & Medical Eating & Food

This is Wrong

This is Wrong

Italians grow up learning how to twirl spaghetti, fettuccine, and other long stranded pasta around the tines of their forks with repeated flicks of the wrist and fingers, and though I am not Italian I did spend enough time in Italy when I was quite small that doing so has always seemed completely natural to me.

Because of this, spaghetti days at my elementary school outside Philadelphia were always a source of wonder.

First of all there was the sauce, which was tomato based with huge meatballs -- far removed from the Bolognese sauce we had on Sundays in Tuscany, and even further from the tomatoey pomarola that was the standard daily summer sauce.

And then there was how everyone else ate the stuff: Most of the kids simply speared the spaghetti with their forks, lifted it to their mouths, and stuffed it in, and many ended up wearing quite a bit home on their shirts. Others, especially the girls, instead cut the spaghetti crosswise with their knives and forks to reduce the strands to (roughly) bite-sized pieces, and while the end result was much neater, it seemed like a great deal of work to me.

I simply ate the spaghetti as I always had, and though a few of my classmates noted that I was eating it differently, nobody imitated me.

What You'll Need

The standard Italian place setting has two plates, a flat one called a piatto piano, which is destined to the second course, and a deep dish bowl called a piatto fondo, which is destined to the first course.

While one might think the piatto fondo an absolute necessity if the first course is a soup and an option otherwise, it's just as important for pasta, especially long strands such as spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle, because it offers a curved surface against which to press the tines of the fork when one is twirling the strands onto them.

Start by spearing, some -- not too many -- stands against the side of the bowl

Flick your Wrist While Moving Your Fingers

Flick your wrist and move your fingers to rotate the shaft of the fork, twining the strands of pasta around the tines.

A Side View

The fingers and wrist when the shaft of the fork has rotated a quarter turn.

A Last Time Around

The fork has come around again, and the spaghetti strands are wrapping nicely around the tines.

When you have wrapped the spaghetti around the tines of the fork, begin to lift it.

And there you have it, spaghetti perfectly wrapped around the tines of your fork. No mess and much enjoyment.

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