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View Poll Results: Do you break your spaghetti/linguine prior to cooking?
Yes, almost always or always 27 35.06%
No, never or barely ever 41 53.25%
Less than 50% of the time 6 7.79%
More than 50% of the time 3 3.90%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-01-2013, 11:59 AM   #141
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old thread alert, hello! to break pasta before cooking spaghetti or to leave it whole--this was the question at hand. it was an interesting topic with many interesting and divergent views being expressed. i came away from this discussion with one lingering question still on my mind, still begging for resolution.

my question is this: what is at the core of the question of broken vs. unbroken pasta that makes it such a vital and emotionally divisive matter? why is the practice of breaking pasta into one, two, or many pieces seen by some an almost blasphemous act--described variously as ignorant, contemptible, boorish, disrespectful, etc., etc...

i fully expected people to be all over the place on this topic, for a myriad of reasons, as we usually tend to be. what i wasn't at all prepared for, however, was the intensity of the objections to pasta breaking expressed in many cases, and the unexpected forceful push back at what seemed to me a simple matter of a rather innocuous personal preference.

i am seriously looking for answers, here. i am not looking for another battle over which way pasta should be cooked or consumed. i welcome all of your thoughts....

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:29 PM   #142
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In my opinion, which is how every post here should begin, the reason for the debate is "That's the way the do it in Italy".

...or "That's the way my mama did it."

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Old 05-01-2013, 01:01 PM   #143
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i agree that on some level culture is at the basis of most of the preferences we form through life. we are all steeped in our cultures. but, i don't feel the need to insist that pirogies be made my way only, or that pirogies made by other people in different countries from mine are therefore unauthentic, undesirable or somehow inferior to mine.:)
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:25 PM   #144
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Unforunately, TV chefs have had a major influence on our choice of cooking ethnic foods. You often will here statements saying " In Italy, they never ...." "In France they always ...." They make it sound that if you don't do it 'that' way, you dish will fail. Which ever way the individual does it, is the right way. If you are allergic to one of the ingredients, you omit it. That doesn't make the dish the wrong way to make it. It is just your way. We see there dish come out perfect. What we forget is that in spite of the fact that the show is only 30 minutes long, they swap out foods that take longer than the show allows. So we expect the recipe that we have followed faithfully, to come out the same way in the same time.

Some pastas take longer to cook than others. Angel Hair cooks in just a matter of a couple of minutes. Whereas bucatinni can take as long as twenty minutes. So if breaking it up makes it cook quicker, we break it up. That doesn't make it wrong, just different.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:34 PM   #145
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Some believe their "Authenticity" is the only way to go and they are going to defend it, no matter what.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:46 PM   #146
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I grew up eating unbroken spaghetti. Even the spaghetti I ordered in a restaurant was never broken. I would then make two or three cuts with a knife through it. Obviously it could never be broken when cooking, even by me, because then my habitual 2-3 slices through the pile of pasta would render it too small.

I have since outgrown that. Now I twirl the pieces whole, in their entirety. Now I will drag out one of my large pots just to be able to cook it whole and not have to stand there and wait for the bottom to soften so I can push the rest in.

Maybe I should post this under quirks, too.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:30 PM   #147
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However it fits in the pot is how it is in our kitchen since the cook is the boss.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:01 AM   #148
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You're right Oldvine, the cook IS the boss!

The "right" way is YOUR way no matter who YOU are. You shouldn't worry about what a TV Chef or a restaurant chef or a social forum chef tells you is right or wrong, what works in your kitchen and for your family is what is important. I like wider pastas because they collect more sauce, pappardelle being my favorite. Pappardelle tends to be shorter so they don't get broken. That doesn't mean I'm above cooking farfalle or rotini to catch even more sauce, it just means that I want to collect more sauce! And believe me, you don't need to break farfalle or rotini! Plus, any extra of either of those can be set aside for a "macaroni" salad. Come to think of it, I never use macaroni in a macaroni salad...
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:32 AM   #149
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for me, it's the size of the pot that i grab.

when time allows, i'll go for a pot big enough to accomodate enough water for long pasta.

i rarely have such a luxury with time.

so, long pasta gets cracked in half more often than not.

in volume on a plate and on a fork, there's so little difference that it almost couldn't matter any less.

who the hell eats only a couple of strands of pasta to really care?
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:23 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
Although I don't condone curling spaghetti with fork and spoon, you hold your fork in your dominant hand and spoon in subdominent hand. There is no problem with the knife because you don't need it when eating spaghetti.

Yet that was part of my post above. If the meatballs are too large you need to use knife and fork to cut them into bite size. Then you shift the fork from subdominant hand to dominant hand to pick up spaghetti and meatball and consume it. Much easier if there is no knife required and then your dominant hand can handle all the action forking the meatball and spaghetti into your mouth.

Your subdominant hand can be used for gesturing or guzzling.

I am reviving an old thread and I have a question for you. When I get meatballs that are too big for one bite I just cut them with my fork. Is that wrong? They aren't so hard that you actually need a knife, but maybe cutting with a fork is bad manners. I like to cut all meatballs at least in half, even the little ones. Then I twirl some spaghetti around my fork, stick the tines of the fork in a piece of meatball, and get spaghetti and meatball in one bite.

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