Here’s something fun and mildly pointless. Spaghetti's having quite a field day on Twitter—first, when a moviegoer admitted that she brings bagfuls of spaghetti with her to movie theaters, a move so brash and subversive that it's become the stuff of Refinery29 articles.
And last Thursday, one Boston resident, tweeting under the handle @caroramsey, discovered the singular word for spaghetti: “spaghetto.” It sent Twitter into overdrive—look at those metrics, likes and favorites in the tens of thousands, climbing as I type!
This isn't a doctored image. It's indeed right there in Wiktionary, explaining this word's Italian origins. It upends common usage of the word spaghetto. “Spaghetti made with ramen noodles and ketchup,” according to Urban Dictionary. Wrong, Urban Dictionary, as you often are. Spaghetto is a solitary, stringy strand of spaghetti, just as a panino is a lone panini.
Meaningless fact? Sure, I guess, you miser. Chide us for devoting a whole blog post to this quirk of language, unbeknownst to a good chunk of Twitter—and, perhaps, to you. There’s a red, squiggly line forming beneath the word "spaghetto" each time I type it, a prompt from my computer to make sure I don’t mean "spaghetti." Nope! I mean spaghetto.
At the very least, maybe you’ve learned something new today. So go ahead: Amend your recipe instructions. Lessen your character counts. “A single strand of spaghetti” eats up way more real estate than the word “spaghetto.” Gently ease it into your lexicon: spaghetto. It’s a good word.
Any other food words you didn't know? Let us know in the comments.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.