No matter how often or persistently we Italian food purists try to separate them, put them on separate plates, offer them at separate courses, Americans want spaghetti and meatballs. Together, in one giant heap spilling out over the sides of one dish. It’s a cultural thing — like peanut butter and jelly, a burger and fries, popcorn and the movies.
In yesterday’s NYTimes article, Alex Witchel recounts a visit to an Olive Garden in midtown Manhattan stuffed with tourists ordering that All-American Italian comfort food.
How they eat in Italy has nothing to do with it. Americans own this dish. We invented it, we love it, and, by golly, we’ll go to New York where there are more authentically Italian restaurants than anywhere on this side of the Atlantic, and we’ll order it.
I’ll still have my meatballs on the side. And hold the spaghetti.