01 of 07
This is Wrong
Italians grow up learning how to twirl spaghetti, fettuccine, and other long stranded pasta around the tines of their forks with repeated flicks of the wrist and fingers, and though I am not Italian, I did spend enough time in Italy when I was quite small that doing so has always seemed completely natural to me.
Because of this, spaghetti days at my elementary school outside Philadelphia were always a source of wonder.
First of all, there was the sauce, tomato-based with huge meatballs -- far removed from the Bolognese sauce we had on Sundays, and even further from the tomatoey pomarola that was the standard daily summer sauce.
And then there was the way everyone else ate their spaghetti: Most of the kids simply speared the pasta with their forks, lifted it to their mouths, and stuffed it in, and many ended up wearing quite a bit home on their shirts. Others, especially the girls, instead cut the spaghetti with knives and forks into roughly bite-sized pieces, and while the end result was much neater, it seemed like a great deal of work to me.
I simply ate the spaghetti as I always had, and though a few of my classmates noted that I was eating it differently, nobody imitated me.
[Edited by Danette St. Onge]Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
What You'll Need
The standard Italian place setting has two plates, a flat one called a piatto piano, which is destined for the second course (secondo), and a shallow bowl called a piatto fondo, which is for the primo, or first course, which is usually either a soup or a pasta dish.
While one might think the piatto fondo an absolute necessity for soup and an option otherwise, it's just as important for pasta, especially long strands such as spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle, because it offers a curved surface against which to press the tines of the fork when one is twirling the strands onto them.
Start by spearing, some -- not too many -- strands against the side of the bowlContinue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Flick your Wrist While Moving Your Fingers
Flick your wrist and move your fingers to rotate the shaft of the fork, twining the strands of pasta around the tines.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
A Last Time Around
The fork has come around again, and the spaghetti strands are wrapping nicely around the tines.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
Start Lifting Your Fork
When you have wrapped the spaghetti around the tines of the fork, begin to lift it.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07