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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 09-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #151
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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.
If you need a knife to cut a meatball, I'd be worried for my teeth eating said meatball. Besides, I think most Italians would serve the pasta and sauce as a separate course from the meatballs.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by CarolPa View Post
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.
If you are at home without an audience and if your partner doesn't mind you can eat your spaghetti and meat balls with your fingers if you like. If you're in a restaurant it's unlikely you'll have a knife for the pasta course but in any case (on my side of the pond, at least) so it's considered perfectly good manners to cut your meat ball with your fork. In Italian restaurants over here, in my experience, the waiter often takes away the knife and leaves you a spoon and fork if you choose pasta.

Am I right in thinking that in America you cut up your food and then transfer fork to right hand and scoop? (Source=Old black and white film where the American secret agent in France was given away because the Gestapo saw him do this) whereas we cut as we go so have knife in right hand and fork in left with points pointing down throughout the meal. Would a Brit in America be considered uncouth for doing it like this?

Aren't good manners and perceptions thereof odd.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:08 PM   #153
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If you need a knife to cut a meatball, I'd be worried for my teeth eating said meatball. Besides, I think most Italians would serve the pasta and sauce as a separate course from the meatballs.
Really? My elderly Italian neighbour at my old house used to serve the lot together.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:21 PM   #154
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Really? My elderly Italian neighbour at my old house used to serve the lot together.
We were always served the meat and pasta courses separately during our meals in Italy. The exception seemed to be seafood pasta and pasta that had pancetta or guanciale in them.

Most Sunday Gravy is served with the sauce and pasta as a separate course from the meats cooked in the gravy. The sausages, meatballs and braciole and/or pork were removed from the gravy and served.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:28 PM   #155
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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....
I haven't read the whole thread as I was losing the will to live but doesn't it depend on how small you are breaking it? If it's the 3 foot long sort of spaghetti I break it in half, purely for practical reasons but if you chop it up into very short pieces it falls of your fork.

Anyway, isn't it good for children to learn to eat like grown ups? Why let them learn one way and then have to unlearn it later. IIRC, as a little girl I learned to twirl spag with a spoon and fork at an early age then when I'd mastered that I graduated to using just a fork against the curve of the dishor plate, which is what I do now. Is it "correct"? No idea but it works.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:30 PM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPa View Post
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.
I don't think there's anything wrong or impolite about doing that, and not just because I do it Miss Manners would say that anyone who said something to you about it was displaying bad manners by making you feel bad.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:31 PM   #157
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We were always served the meat and pasta courses separately during our meals in Italy. The exception seemed to be seafood pasta and pasta that had pancetta or guanciale in them.

Most Sunday Gravy is served with the sauce and pasta as a separate course from the meats cooked in the gravy. The sausages, meatballs and braciole and/or pork were removed from the gravy and served.
Mrs Susca was quite old and had lived here since 1946 so probably she had let things slide
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:32 PM   #158
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I don't think there's anything wrong or impolite about doing that, and not just because I do it Miss Manners would say that anyone who said something to you about it was displaying bad manners by making you feel bad.
Exactly so.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:37 PM   #159
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Am I right in thinking that in America you cut up your food and then transfer fork to right hand and scoop? (Source=Old black and white film where the American secret agent in France was given away because the Gestapo saw him do this) whereas we cut as we go so have knife in right hand and fork in left with points pointing down throughout the meal. Would a Brit in America be considered uncouth for doing it like this?

Aren't good manners and perceptions thereof odd.
I'm left-handed and I don't really pay attention to how others eat unless it's something really unusual. I remember my mom saying that the Continental way of eating is much more efficient because you're not constantly switching utensils around (she and my dad lived in Germany for 2 years when I was a small child). From that, I started using my knife more to help pick up the food. A lot of Americans use a finger to hold food that is pushed to the side of the plate; I find that a bit uncouth.

We had a Danish exchange student once who I think was a little OCD about it. I noticed that he would cut and shape his food into little rectangles that fit perfectly on the fork. He even ate a burger with a knife and fork.
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:40 PM   #160
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Going off at a tangent - when boiling pasta do you add oil to the cooking water or not.

I always used to because the books I'd read and the odd television programme said I should but the aforementioned Mrs Susca laughed at me when she came into my kitchen and caught me at it. Her theory was that if you have a goodly supply of boiling water in the pan in the first place you don't need oil. I tried it without found she was right so haven't done it since but there have been a number of times on FN lately when the demonstrators have insisted that with oil is the only way to go.
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