True Facts about Spaghetti

During the years I lived in Seelisberg on Lake Lucerne (aka Lac des Quatre Cantons / Fierwaldstattersee) we often joined in the feast after a long afternoon watching the Swiss farmers (usually a mom and pop) harvesting. Curiously, the Swiss eschew tomato sauce (“gravy” as it is called in New Jersey) in favor of a thin glaze of sour cream. On the mountain-sides around Lucerne, and concentrating mostly near sunny Zug, the spaghetti trees produce a much broader fruit, which is rolled to remove the pith. The pith is sun dried and packaged as vermicelli, loved the world over for its delicate al dente texture; the left-over hollow portion of the fruit is then wound around long wooden dowels and sliced down the length of the dowel, producing the curved macaroni we all know so well. In Basel, of course, during Fussnacht when the fern blows up from the deserts of North Africa, those wacky Baselers are known to do much less gentille things with the long fruit of the spaghetti tree, where the fatter, firmer Lucerne variety knows a special popularity. Occasionally, Italian workers from Torino will join in the fun, shouting out their plaintive lament, “E pericoloso sporgersi!

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