At an Aeolian restaurant, two Italian men share a meal with an American woman.
She says, “…Pasta is the only thing your average American male knows how to prepare on his own.…”
“Pasquale was not fooled. Maybe Americans eat pasta, he said, but they don’t eat it with real sauce. “You eat pasta with ketchup on it.” He leaned back, gleeful at having coming up with the perfect characterization of what Americans eat. He nudged Fabio. “Right?”
Fabio nodded slowly. “Could be.”
The memory of all that
No, no they can’t take
that away from me
a 1937 song written by
George Gershwin and
and introduced by
in the film Shall We Dance.
|Yes. I’m still on about spaghetti with ketchup—I really did want to like spaghetti Napolitan. I have fond memories of the summer and fall of 1974, when I shared a house with three other girls, poor students all. Almost the only times we spent together were unpredictable weekday lunches when we’d find ourselves gathered in the kitchen. We’d cook up a nice pot of macaroni stirred with butter, tomato juice, and ketchup, then sit in front of the television to watch Days of Our Lives—those were noteworthy meals. Ah. Student days…
Many Americans have heard stories about folk down on their luck in the ’30’s going to a diner to order hot water, pouring ketchup into it and making a meal of “tomato soup” with the complimentary soda crackers. For those who didn’t frequent diners, there was
“Depression Spaghetti” as described by this blogger:
Ketchup Spaghetti (AKA “Depression Spaghetti”)
“So I probably don’t have to tell you that ketchup spaghetti was born out of the Depression because all it required was spaghetti and ketchup and of course, the hillbilly requirement to any dish…BUTTER.
Times were tough, and that’s all I know. My grama used to tell me that when her family did happen to have a few extra pennies, they would fancy it up with some sugar, onion and ground beef. But most of the time, it was just simply noodles and ketchup.”
One more note: When my parents visited my uncle in Karelia (a historical province of Finland) before the Soviet Union disintegrated, his wife went to quite a lot of expense and trouble to make spaghetti for them—using Campbell’s cream of tomato and Heinz ketchup. They wanted to make the American relatives welcome.
Tess’s Japanese version of Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce
This!!! I liked.
- 6 oz. dry spaghetti (cappellini or thin spaghetti)
- 4 wiener sausages (hot dogs), sliced diagonally into ovals
- ½ pablano peppers, chopped small
- 6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Tbs. butter
- ½ medium onion, chopped finle
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup ketchup (Heinz)
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 2 Tbs. heavy cream (I used 3 Tablespoons of half and half)
- several shakes of Worcestershire Sauce
Cook the spaghetti, in salted vigorously boiling water. Drain, but leave a little of the pasta water with the noodles. Mix with 1 Tablespoon butter. Keep warm.
Add 1 Tablespoon butter to a large skillet or heavy bottomed pot. When the butter melts over medium heat, add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the peppers. Stir and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir and fry until they are soft. Add the hot dogs, ketchup, and tomato sauce. Let it get hot. Turn the heat to low, and add the cream. Stir. Then add the spaghetti. Stir to heat.
On a lighter more meditative note, eating hot dogs in Japan
An interesting video showing the various people who buy sausages from a shop on a train station platform in Osaka:
Thousands of commuters pass through Kyobashi Station in Osaka every day. For 600 of them the singular highlight is a sausage.