Whether you're trying to make spaghetti easier for a kid to eat or you just prefer chowing down on bite-size food, it's pretty common for us to cut our noodles here in the U.S. But just like ordering fettuccine Alfredo or getting a cappuccino in the afternoon, slicing your spaghetti with a knife and fork is one of those habits that's decidedly American. Dine at an authentic Italian restaurant or take a trip to Italy, and you'll find that cutting your spaghetti is a serious etiquette faux pas.
Why is it such a big no-no? As many Italians believe, the whole point of eating long noodles is to enjoy them as-is. If you want bite-sized pasta, order a shorter type like ziti or orecchiette. There is one caveat to this unofficial rule, however: Italians may not mind if you cut your noodles to make them easier for small children to eat. As Pasta Evangelists' Head Chef Roberta D'Elia explained, "The only people who are allowed to cut spaghetti are two-year olds! I remember my mamma doing spaghetti-twirling 'training' with us when [we were] about three years old. After that, we saw cutting spaghetti as something 'babies' did." It's not just spaghetti that Italians believe shouldn't be cut; this mantra applies to other types of long noodles too, such as fettuccine.
How To Properly Eat Spaghetti At An Italian Restaurant
So now we know that it's generally frowned upon to cut your spaghetti at an Italian restaurant, but what is the socially acceptable way to eat your noodles here? As you can probably guess, you're supposed to twirl them with your fork. This can get a little tricky sometimes (there's a reason some of us resort to cutting our noodles, after all), but the Italians have a few tips for this as well. Start off by picking out just a few pieces of pasta, then twirl them around your fork. Make sure everything is held together in a compact bite when you go to move the pasta towards your mouth, as dangling strands can make the whole thing more difficult to accomplish.
As for using your spoon to anchor your fork as you twirl, that's another no-no. Instead, the Italian way is to swirl your fork against your plate. This way, the whole process can be done with only one hand, and your pasta should be ready to go by the time you lift it to take a bite. Of course, these tips only apply if you're trying to avoid an etiquette faux pas at an Italian restaurant. If you're at home, feel free to eat in the way that's most comfortable to you.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.