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Oct 6, 2007 09:23 PM

Italian Question

I am Italian and when I was a kid visiting my family in Italy, I was taught to eat long shaped pasta with a fork and a large spoon, so as to grab the spagetti with your fork and roll the pasta in the spoon for maximum efficiency. I have always lived by it, and even in places like Babbo in NY, the practice seem to be commonplace. However, I notice it's not done in Los Angeles, even at the best of Italian restaurants. My question is this: Is eating spaghetti, linguine, fettucini, etc. with a fork and SPOON against etiquitte? I've always insisted that using the large spoon for long pasta is the Italian way because of my family in southern and even northern italy, but I could be wrong. This could be just a small town italian thing. I'm out to lose a bet here, any thoughts? Any Italians out there who can relate to my spoon necessity.

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  1. Third generation Sicilian and we eat it with a spoon and fork. I find that some restaurants in LA either provide a spoon when the pasta is served or more frequently inquire if I want a spoon. Otherwise, I ask for one. I LOVE eating pasta this way. I think it reminds me of my childhood and the pasta tastes better to me.

    1. This post will probably get moved to general food topics, but I would say you are not out of place eating pasta with a fork swirled in a spoon, although I've more commonly seen it swirled on a fork against the plate directly. It could be that people in LA don't know how to properly eat pasta. I myself, who grew up here, was taught to CUT my spaghetti as a kid -- it wasn't until I went to NYC and Italy itself that I learned to swirl the spaghetti around the fork on the plate (or against a spoon), as an alternative to cutting the pasta.

      1. ??

        I spent a couple years in the North of Italy in the Lakes region. I was taught there that while in the US it's common to use a spoon that it was not done in Italy. During the time I was there I was never offered one nor saw a table set with one for pasta.

        I grew up in Los Angeles however and do remember seeing spoons being used at neighborhood red sauce Italian restaurants. I moved away before I could afford any of the higher end restaurants in the city so don't know what the norm there is.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ziggylu

          I learned this as a 14 years old in Pacentro, Italy, which is a small town in Abruzzo just a few minutes outside Sulmona. The best carbonara I have had in my life was served and they were truly offended if you tried to eat it without a spoon. Maybe it's just a question of family tradition if you had that experience in the north.

        2. Here's some Italians who have replied to a thread regarding the aforementioned topic...

          'Secondo il galateo è corretto mangiare gli spaghetti con forchetta e cucchiaio?'

          The consensus is a resounding ... YES! is AGAINST etiquette (galateo) to use a spoon.


          I use a fork and spoon to eat long stringy pasta. So there. I've broken a rule of "galateo". Personally, I think it looks less beastly that way, than to hover over a dish with just a fork in one's hands. I suppose it's fine if you're wearing an animal skin.

          1. Swirling the spaghetti onto the fork is intended to round-up those long noodles so that they don’t dangle down from the fork and go flip-fam-floom all over your face and shirt/blouse. I recall eating at Vinces out in Onterio and in Torrance when I moved there. A big spoon was provided with the order of Spaghetti. A Spaghetti bib would also quickly be provided upon request.

            Below is a link to some junk by Anna Maria saying that using a spoon is “bad form.” I guess she would not approve of my bib either. Anna fails to mention that splattered spaghetti sauce all over my white shirt and tie is Waaaaay UnCool and that is worst than “bad form” – it shows that I am a slob.

            But times they are a-changin'. In the SGV here in L.A. I have noticed some Asian Americans forgoing any attempt to swirl the spaghetti “noodles”onto the fork whatsoever. I have seen some good people simply tilting the head directly over the plate and using the fork to gracefully shovel the spaghetti into the mouth and then eat it ramen style. That seems to me to be the best way to keep your shirt clean and to really enjoy your Spaghetti. Now, can you guess why I get my Spaghetti to go?

            Vince's Spaghetti
            1206 W Holt Blvd
            Ontario, CA 91762
            (909) 986-7074




            How to eat Ramen

            1 Reply
            1. re: JeetJet

              Very Funny! It reminded me that when we were kids (9 of us) we went to Grandma's house on Sundays after church for big Italian dinners and my mother would make us eat in our undershirts and slips.