American Spaghetti

The thing about spaghetti is, that it’s not Italian. It’s completely, unilaterally, and unequivocally American. It’s as american as apple pie, which, incidentally, was invented by the English in 1381 (Eschner 1). The recipe called for figs, raisins, pears, saffron, and apples. The English were healthy once, but now 26.9 percent of them are obese, making England the fattest country in western Europe (Siddique 1).

Every bite I take of spaghetti reminds me of childhood, probably because spaghetti is a kid’s food, but at the same time a uniquely American food. The Italian’s favorite food is, unsurprisingly, pizza. But they prefer pizza margareti, which in America, is something only your wafer thin, childless and barren aunt Julie would ever eat: a thin crust similar to Pita, baked and usually spread with (if you’re in America) toppings we would consider fundamentally unamerican: Mozzarella, tomatoes, and the most seditious of all: basil.

Tomato sauce is the lifeblood of the spaghetti, the ingredient which gives the dish it’s entire constitution and the ground upon which it stands. You might think spaghetti is based on, well, spaghetti, I.E. the noodle, but you’d be dead fucking wrong. No, it’s the tomato sauce: the thing which gives spaghetti that child-mouthrim-reddening constitution it’s so famous for. If your spaghetti doesn’t have tomato sauce, you might be in the wrong country. You might need to go back to whatever shithole you crawled out of.

When I am eating my spaghetti and chewing my chicken (because spaghetti, believe it or not, can be made with chicken, not because it’s unamerican (because chicken-spaghetti is fundamentally unamerican), but because it’s your choice to be unamerican which makes you most american, and without delineating some point at which you cease to be american and have already become unamerican) I find myself wondering: If Caesar knew that his culinary legacy would be converted into a menu item which, in a revolving door policy on various salads, is currently off the menu at any given American McDonalds, then would Caesar not have upon knowing this instantly change his name to ‘Gaius Julius Spaghetti’?

There’s something about finishing the last bite of a plate of spaghetti which is inherently greedy, by its very nature. If you say to yourself “oh god, I can’t eat another bite” because you’re at some shitty ‘Italian’ restaurant (if it’s not owned or at least operated by someone with some majorly Italian heritage, can you really call it ‘Italian’? Or is it simply a restaurant which serves food which some may, and others definitely don’t consider Italian?) and then you find yourself, your fat fucking self, greedily stuffing that last little bit of meatball on the end of your fork, which is itself wrapped around a tight spindle of the actual noodle, the actual spaghetti?

We’re so quick to label everyone else a cultural appropriator, a patriarchal macho-fascist, that we forget if we held everyone to our standard of cultural appropriation all the time, there could be no cross-cultural mixtures of any kind. We’d have to conclude the white person in every interracial relationship is essentially some sort of race-plunderer (even though race is a social construct, and there’s more genetic difference within a given racial group than genetic difference between people of two races, I.E. if you’re white, you’re more similar to a black person than you are different from your fellow white people), and we’d also have to conclude that anyone who isn’t eating the food of their own race, group, culture, enclave, and then hamlet is essentially some sort of cross-cultural pirate, raping and pillaging their way across the seven seas in an effort to take-take-take everything humanly possible in some sort of capitalistic ‘have more than the other guy just because I’m terrified by the idea of not, which sickeningly enough, is still the basis for a series of E-Trade commercials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts0OHsQirts

My point is this: America is about culture. Culture will always be defined by ideas, the things we like, dislike, and the values we stand for. Now that we’ve started to change that culture, let’s solidify our ideas into law and policy before the laws and policy start to dictate the culture we’ve fought so hard for. They say white people will be a minority by 2050. Well you know what? I’m fucking sick of spaghetti. But white people being the majority or minority has nothing to do with that! What we need to do is change culture and policy, because the America I’m living in is fundamentally opposed to the ideas that made us great in the first place. And by the way, you don’t have to make America great ‘again’, because it’s already the greatest fucking country on earth.

Works cited

Eschner, Kat. “Apple Pie Is Not All That American”. smithsonian.org, Smithsonian Institution, 12 May 2017, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-apple-pie-linked-america-180963157/.

Siddique, Haroon. “UK is most obese country in western Europe, OECD finds”. theguardian.com, Guardian News Media and Media Limited, 11 Nov. 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/10/uk-most-obese-country-in-western-europe-oecd-report-finds.

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