In most casual dining and fine dining restaurants, such as San Carlo, spaghetti with meatballs are still among the most popular Italian dishes. This isn’t surprising considering that it’s a complete dish with carbohydrates, protein and fat, aside from being a delicious dish that can be served every day, in different versions to add variety.
But spaghetti with meatballs can be a messy meal especially when there are children sharing the meal. Plus, it can also be tricky dish to eat in a restaurant since there are dining etiquette involved in it – to cut or not to cut, to twirl or not to twirl, to use a spoon or not to use a spoon, among others. Here are a few pointers to enjoy spaghetti with meatballs without making a mess, both in the eating and etiquette departments.
Even among Italians, there’s a debate going on about the appropriateness of using a spoon to eat spaghetti with meatballs. Think of it as a Southern Italy versus Northern Italy type of thing where one region frowns on the use of a spoon while the other region requires it.
The rule of thumb: If a spoon is provided with your spaghetti and meatballs dish, then you can use it to eat the entire plate. If it’s not included, then you shouldn’t ask for one since you don’t want to look like a redneck.
Use a Fork Instead
In many restaurants, a fork is provided with the dish instead. You may have to master the use of a fork but it should be easy considering that it can be used to separate and twirl the spaghetti. A few tips to remember:
- Use your fork to separate a few strands of the pasta from the rest. Just separate a small amount that can fit in your mouth without opening it too wide.
- Twirl the strands around your fork. Be sure to check that there are no strands of spaghetti dangling from your fork as you put it into your mouth.
- Avoid cutting the spaghetti with your fork, if possible. But if you have to, then cut away but make sure not to cut the strands into baby-sized bites either.
As for the meatball, you can cut it with your fork if it’s on the small side. For larger meatballs, you have to use your fork and knife – spear the meatball with the fork and use the knife to cut a piece for each bite. Be sure to spear the cut meatball with your fork as you don’t want it to roll around into your shirt or on other people’s clothes.