The 4th of January is Spaghetti Day, according to many bloggers on the Internet.
Enjoy a bowl of spaghetti; meatballs or no meatballs, it’s your choice!
You might even want to try zucchini spaghetti or spaghetti from spaghetti squash .
The Start of Spaghetti Days
Many restaurants and cafeterias have long run their own “spaghetti day” promotions, as it is a quick, filling, satisfying food to offer for cheap to people.
In 1953, an eager restaurant in Walla Walla, Washington, tried to promote every Thursday as National Spaghetti Day:
Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day
The pasta company Prince Macaroni Manufacturing Company started in the north end of Boston, and in 1939 moved to Lowell, Massachusetts and took on the name of “Prince.” (The company was bought out by Borden in 1987, and in 2001, by New World Pasta. Reidy, Chris. Prince is poised to celebrate 100 years of pasta history. Boston, MA: Boston Globe. 29 August 2013. Accessed July 2019 at https://www.boston.com/news/business/2013/08/29/prince-is-poised-to-celebrate-100-years-of-pasta-history)
At the start of the 1950s, pasta in North America had an image problem.
“…in the 1930s and ‘40s, a kid knew his father was on a losing streak at the race track when mac-and-cheese showed up on the dinner table several days in a row. In those days, spaghetti was a dish for poor immigrants and working-class folks on a tight budget.” Reidy, Chris. Prince is poised to celebrate 100 years of pasta history.
To change this, in 1950, the owner of Prince, Joseph Pelligrino, got a bunch of different competing pasta makers to meet to consider a joint promotion to sell more spaghetti.
“Thirty-five years ago , at a meeting of the long-defunct National Macaroni Institute, Joseph Pelligrino… proposed that he and his fellow independent dried pasta makers band together to promote more pasta eating among Americans… When Pelligrino made his pitch for a national spaghetti slogan back in 1950, 250 pasta companies of the old school were in operation.”
Pelligrino already had a suggestion ready to put before the meeting — to promote one day of the week as Spaghetti Day.
“Pelligrino had earlier paid a visit to an ad man at a small firm in Boston, one Jerome O’Leary, famous only as “The Voice of the Boston Braves.” O’Leary and Pelligrino had decided that the macaroni men needed to pick a day for Americans to set aside for spaghetti.”
“It couldn’t be Monday,” Pelligrino’s son, Joseph P., 46, [recounted] … “because Monday was washday traditionally, right? And it couldn’t be Tuesday, because in New England that used to be franks and beans day. Friday was out; that was fish. Sunday was chicken. So quite undramatically, by a process of elimination, Jerry O’Leary and my father chose Wednesday.”
Pelligrino took the Wednesday promotion idea to the meeting. It was rejected. There was just too much competition and distrust amongst the various pasta makers for them to agree on much.
“Pelligrino put the suggestion forth at that meeting in 1950: “Wednesday is Spaghetti Day.” They would all work together to make the slogan stick. It was simple enough; simple as spaghetti itself. The reaction? Unanimous: thumbs down.
… In those days, those guys competed at the personal level. They were furtive, patriarchal — they each had a territory that they guarded with their lives.”
Max Busetti, communications director of the present-day National Pasta Association, concurs, but in the present tense, not the past: “The industry is rather private. Tight-lipped. It goes back to the Italian ancestry. They’re suspicious of each other. They’ll fight for their group. Secretive. I can’t even get some of them to send me press releases.”
Pelligrino decided to go it on his own.
“When the pasta makers nixed the slogan for a national campaign, … Pelligrino made it Prince’s own. It’s been the company’s call for more spaghetti eating since 1951.” Schinto, Jeanne. For Prince, Today is the day. Washington, DC: Washington Post. 6 November 1985. Accessed July 2019 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/food/1985/11/06/for-prince-today-is-the-day/40532fb8-38be-4664-b925-a83259edcf5c/
Wednesday would be not just Spaghetti Day, but more specifically Prince Spaghetti Day.
As planned, the campaign centred around the slogan, “Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day.” The ads ran on radio, later moving to television as well as television became more prevalent. The campaign was a huge success. In the mindset of a generation, Wednesdays became equated with spaghetti days.
In this now-famous commercial from 1969, both Anthony Martignetti, who played Anthony, and Mary Fiumara, Anthony’s mother, were locals of North Boston, where the Prince brand of pasta was particularly popular. Roberts, Sam. Mary Fiumara, 88, Mother in Spaghetti Ad. New York: New York Times. 5 February 2016. Feb. 5, 2016, Section A, Page 19.
Many restaurants eventually jumped on the Wednesday Spaghetti Day bandwagon, except they wanted you to let them cook the spaghetti for you:
The American National Pasta Association recognizes that Pasta Month is October, and has conducted surveys connected with this time period, but say in correspondence that they don’t actually sponsor the month.
The earliest print reference that we have found so far that promotes October as a National Pasta Month dates from 1986:
“Newly formed, the Pasta Lover’s Club… anticipates boosting membership by several thousand in time for National Pasta Month in October.” Pasta fanatics stick honorary members. New Castle News. Monday, 2 June 1986, New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA. Page 13, Col. 5
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Reidy, Chris. Prince is poised to celebrate 100 years of pasta history. Boston, MA: Boston Globe. 29 August 2013. Accessed July 2019 at https://www.boston.com/news/business/2013/08/29/prince-is-poised-to-celebrate-100-years-of-pasta-history|
|2.||↑||Reidy, Chris. Prince is poised to celebrate 100 years of pasta history.|
|3.||↑||Schinto, Jeanne. For Prince, Today is the day. Washington, DC: Washington Post. 6 November 1985. Accessed July 2019 at https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/food/1985/11/06/for-prince-today-is-the-day/40532fb8-38be-4664-b925-a83259edcf5c/|
|4.||↑||Roberts, Sam. Mary Fiumara, 88, Mother in Spaghetti Ad. New York: New York Times. 5 February 2016. Feb. 5, 2016, Section A, Page 19.|
|5.||↑||Pasta fanatics stick honorary members. New Castle News. Monday, 2 June 1986, New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA. Page 13, Col. 5|