Has This Pasta 'Hack' Gone Too Far?

The internet has spoken, and it hasn't had many nice things to say.

May 13, 2021

Spaghetti can be a divisive food. Just ask Italians. Every once in a while, a recipe comes along that causes traditionalists to bristle, to seethe at unwarranted alterations. To some the inclusion of ham in a spaghetti carbonara may seem mundane, to others it’s downright apocalyptic.

There is, however, a new spaghetti trick causing more mayhem than usual. It appears in a video that began making the rounds first on Facebook and then on Twitter where it caused quite the stir. Let’s break it down.

Facebook users Josh and Lisa first posted the video on their Facebook page on April 22. In it, a woman, Lisa of Josh and Lisa fame, narrates as she prepares a spaghetti dinner for some friends. First she pours cold tomato sauce onto a clean white marble countertop, then layers it with meatballs, grated parmesan cheese and cooked spaghetti. Yes, all that food gets poured directly onto the countertop (isn’t the marble cold?). Then, she mixes it all together. In theory, it's not that weird: It’s essentially just pasta, sauce, cheese and meatballs getting tossed together, but the way it happens sans-vessel, red sauce flecked across the counter is slightly goosebump inducing. She follows it up by stacking chopped romaine on the counter, drizzling it with dressing, and topping it all off with garlic bread. “We do this all the time,” she tells the camera.

The video took off on Facebook but eventually made the rounds on Twitter when user @jarvis tweeted it. The internet, obviously, had a field day with it. Here are some of my favorite responses:

Of course, what people do in the privacy of their own homes is always their own business, but once it gets uploaded onto the internet it’s fair game! I’m all for a communal eating experience—it’s a fun way to make food feel interactive—but something about this video is particularly uncanny. It's gotta be a joke, right? I'm honestly not sure.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein”
— AntoniaJames

The person behind the camera summed up my reaction the best: “But it’s all over the counter…” Yes, yes it is.

More Pasta Tricks

Would you try counter spaghetti? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • j7n
  • Billie Lee Crane
    Billie Lee Crane
  • BeckinBigD
  • Peggy Shryne
    Peggy Shryne
  • mdavanis
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


j7n August 7, 2021
I have no problems eating something accidentally spilled off the counter. But there is no efficient way to collect liquid off a flat, rough surface. I doubt they used heaps of bread. It's a pointless waste of food and time for cleanup.
Billie L. May 24, 2021
I saw that video and my first thought was that it was the stupidest, most unsaniarty thing I have ever seen
BeckinBigD May 21, 2021
I couldn't resist...I visited their Facebook page. That was a waste of 3 minutes of my life. "Punk'd" crashed and burned decades ago. Parody? How about stupid! I really hope that no one actually poured Dawn dish soap all over their chicken before cooking. It's sad that F52 gave them props when there are so many intelligent and innovative food creators in the world. Oh well....
Peggy S. May 20, 2021
Stupidest thing ever!!
mdavanis May 20, 2021
I am no germophobic, but the problem with this hack is contamination. Did we do chicken last night and not sanitize the countertop and bacteria has been growing for a day or two? Did someone touch the countertop with very dirty hands? What's is wrong with a sheet pan?
witloof May 18, 2021
I looked at the Josh and Lisa page on Facebook and they have the exact same oblique disclaimer on every single video. Does no one see that their feed is tongue in cheek and meant to be funny?
HalfPint May 19, 2021
So hard these days to know if it's satire or real.
Linda May 15, 2021
I think this is awful although my father did talk about having polenta as explained below when he was a child, My thought was didn''t the sauce stain the marble. And if it was sealed with some chemical that would be yuck with all that hot stuff
This isn't a "hack." It's an inefficient, unhygienic, and unappetizing way to make dinner! No, thanks!
AntoniaJames May 14, 2021
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein
Smaug May 14, 2021
As far as I can tell, everyone in America who doesn't sell telephones for a living works in the food industry in one way or another; no surprise they're getting desperate for ways to catch your attention.
tortello May 14, 2021
Italians have been doing this with polenta since before plates were a thing. Cook a giant pot of polenta. Wipe off table top, or put a large clean board on table. Pour polenta in middle. Add sauce or other accompaniment. Eat.

polenta alla spianatora
Hannah May 23, 2021
Yes, but they used a clean board and did not stain the counter tops. Since it’s acidic, tomato sauce can definitely be a problem for marble of a lighter hue.
davidhard May 14, 2021
I am honestly disappointed that Food52 is giving this any attention at all. Very disappointed. You’ve just lost all credibility with one post.
rainbow G. May 13, 2021
I don't think I could, either way, but this article does not address a salient point: Do they own a cat?
HalfPint May 13, 2021

I am not a germaphobe, but even I squirmed when she splashed that sauce on the counter. After the year and a half of a pandemic, I don't think I love or trust anyone enough to partake in this style of serving & eating.

Alexis M. May 13, 2021
It's more Rick Lax clickbait.