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September 10, 2017

How to Eat Spaghetti Like a Lady in the 1940s. (Note: Slurping Is Totally Acceptable)

Spaghetti-eating protocols have long been debated at the dinner table. Must one cut the pasta with a knife? Is it best to use a spoon to aid the noodle-winding process? And is slurping ever acceptable?

In 1942 LIFE magazine published a series of photographs by Alfred Eisenstaedt as a tutorial for women, teaching how to elegantly consume spaghetti “like a lady”. The step-by-step guide featured portraits of a coiffured model determinedly twirling the strands of pasta on her spoon and, eventually, eating it in a dignified fashion.


The first step, LIFE wrote, is to use one's fork to separate a very specific four strands from the heap of pasta on one's plate. Next, the spoon should be wielded to achieve a controlled twirl of said strands around one's fork. Once twirled, the forkful should be eaten (a "ladylike" amount) in its entirety ("nibbling is out"). The final word on slurping? Acceptable, more or less: "Truant strands require patience, lip facility, suck power."

1. Spaghetti is prepared to be served.



2. Spaghetti is served.



3. Four strands of spaghetti should be segregated from the pile.



4. With soup spoon as prop, twirl fork and spaghetti gently.



5. A ladylike mouthful of spaghetti is ready for consumption.



6. Full forkful should be consumed in entirety. Nibbling is out.



7. Truant strands require patience, lip facility, suck-power.



8. With end in sight, diner has consumed 160 in. of spaghetti.


(Photos: Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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