The spaghetti cone, created by chef Emanuele Attala which is now available at his new restaurant, the Spaghetti Incident, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, has taken the streets by storm. It is, after all, a ridiculous-sounding idea. Why would anyone want to eat spaghetti out of a cone?!
But however frivolous and gimmicky it might seem, the spaghetti cone is a highly utilitarian innovation. A cardboard cone, it turns out, is an ideal delivery system for spaghetti.
Spaghetti is a surprisingly satisfying food to eat while walking around city streets, especially coated with Attala’s delicious sauces. There are eight “cone” varieties, ranging in price from $8 to $12.
An Italian Reminiscent
Attala, 53, came up with the idea for the spaghetti cone after looking at old photos of his hometown, Rimini, on Italy’s Adriatic coast. In the 1950s, when the city was recovering from the destruction of the Second World War, locals began throwing beach festivals to draw visitors and spur the economy. Vendors set up booths on the sand, there were bonfires and concerts, and the butchers and fishmongers would rip sheets of wax paper off their rolls, curl them into a cone, and serve food out of them like a bowl. Strolling partiers took their meals to go.
The Lower East Side at night-time is similar to that age-old Italy. The sidewalks are as crowded as the bars. New York City, like much of the world, is besotted by food-on-the-go. Food trucks abound, and people walk and eat as if tables had never been invented.
Is It Feasible?
According to a review by The Guardian, eating spaghetti out of a cone is, oddly, easier than eating it from a plate. This is because of the well-known “twirl method” that sophisticated humans have learned to use to eat pasta. The cone shape facilitates the trick by giving natural purchase to the tines of the fork as they twist. The curved sides of the cone help guide the strands of spaghetti into a ball around the fork. The twirl excludes the need for spearing any bit of food with the fork.
Attala also experimented with serving penne and gnocchi, out of the cone but it didn’t work because there is no flat surface against which to pin your target. Nothing else eats so easily out of a cone. Basically, the spaghetti cone is a miracle of physics.
The cone also provides advantages in maneuverability. The pointy end serves as a handle for a bowl. You can hold it right under your fork as you lift each bite to your lips, so as not to lose a single caper to the sidewalk. It makes for remarkably neat, spill-free eating.
The Flip Side
The cone does have some shortcomings. Eating spaghetti from a cone is a two-hand job. It cannot match the convenience of a folded slice of pizza or a reasonably sized hot dog. You can eat a slice of pizza and stare at your phone screen while you walk out into traffic and get hit by a car. The spaghetti cone requires slightly more focus, and one more hand. But that’s ok because hey spaghetti in a cone, people!!