Julia Youngster Reveals Fred Rogers Find out how to Make a Fast & Scrumptious Pasta Dish (1974)

Julia Youngster and Fred Rogers had been titans of public tv, celebrated for his or her pure heat, the benefit with which they delivered necessary classes to house viewers, and, for a sure sector of the viewing public, how readily their personalities lent themself to parody.

Youngster’s cooking program, The French Chef, debuted in 1963, and Roger’s a lot beloved kids’s present, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, adopted 5 years later.

Rogers sometimes invited achieved celebrities to affix him for segments whereby they demonstrated their specific skills:

With our visitor’s assist, I've been in a position to present a large range of self-expression, the extraordinary vary of human potential. I need kids and their households to know that there are a lot of constructive methods to precise who they're and the way they really feel. 

In 1974, Youngster paid a name to the neighborhood bakery presided over by “Chef” Don Brockett  (whose later credit included a cameo as a “Pleasant Psychopath” in Silence of the Lambs…)

The simple-to-prepare pasta dish she teaches Rogers – and, by extension, his “tv pal” – to make takes a surprisingly optimistic view of the common pre-school palate.

Crimson sauce will get a tough cross, in favor of a extra subtle mix of flavors stemming from tuna, black olives, and pimentos.

Brockett offers an help with each the cooking and, extra importantly, the kid security guidelines that aren’t all the time entrance and heart with this superstar visitor.

Youngster, who had no offspring, comes off as a high-spirited, loosey-goosey, enjoyable aunt, encouraging baby viewers to toss the cooked spaghetti “pretty excessive” after including butter and oil “as a result of it’s dramatic” and speaking as in the event that they’ll be hitting the grocery store solo, a flattering notion to any tot whose chorus is “I do it mySELF!”

She properly reframes duties assigned to greater, extra skilled hand – boiling water, knife work – as much less thrilling than “the flowery enterprise on the finish”, and makes it stick by suggesting that the children “order the grown ups to do what you need completed,” a verb alternative the ever-respectful Rogers probably would have prevented.

As with The French Chef, her off-the-cuff remarks are a serious supply of pleasure.

Watching his visitor wipe a picket reducing board with olive oil, Rogers observes that a few of his pals “may do that very properly,” to which she replies:

It’s additionally good in your arms ‘coz it retains ‘em good and gentle, so rub any extra into your arms.

She shares a little bit of stage set scuttlebutt concerning a letter from “some lady” who complained that the off-camera wastebasket made it seem that Youngster was discarding peels and stems onto the ground.

She mentioned, “Do you assume it is a good method to present younger individuals prepare dinner, to throw issues on the ground!?” And I mentioned, “Nicely, I've a self cleansing flooring! …The self cleansing is me.”

(Rogers seems each amused and relieved when the last word punchline steers issues again to the realm of fine manners and private accountability.)

Transferring the slippery pre-cooked noodles from pot to serving bowl, Youngster reminisces a couple of fantastic outdated film during which somebody – “Charlie Chaplin or was it, I suppose it was, uh, it wasn’t Mickey Rooney, perhaps it was…” – eats spaghetti via a funnel.

If solely the Web had existed in 1974 so intrigued dad and mom may have Googled their method to the Noodle Break on the Bull Pup Cafe sequence from 1918’s The Cook dinner, starring Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton!

The funnel is however certainly one of many impressed silent spaghetti gags on this surefire don’t-try-this-at-home kid-pleaser.

We be taught that Youngster named her dish Spaghetti Marco Polo in a nod to a extensively circulated idea that pasta originated in China and was launched to Italy by the explorer, a little bit of lore meals author Tori Avey of The Historical past Kitchen finds tough to swallow:

A typical perception about pasta is that it was delivered to Italy from China by Marco Polo in the course of the Thirteenth century. In his e book, The Travels of Marco Polo, there's a passage that briefly mentions his introduction to a plant that produced flour (probably a breadfruit tree). The Chinese language used this plant to create a meal just like barley flour. The barley-like meal Polo talked about was used to make a number of pasta-like dishes, together with one described as lagana (lasagna). Since Polo’s unique textual content now not exists, the e book depends closely on retellings by numerous authors and consultants. This, mixed with the truth that pasta was already gaining reputation in different areas of Italy in the course of the Thirteenth-century, makes it impossible that Marco Polo was the primary to introduce pasta to Italy.

Ah properly.

We’re glad Youngster went with the China idea because it offers an excuse to eat spaghetti with chopsticks.

Nothing is extra day-making than seeing Julia Youngster pop a small bundle of spaghetti instantly into Fred Rogers’ mouth from the ideas of her chopsticks…although after utilizing the identical implements to feed some to Chef Brockett too, she realizes that this wasn’t one of the best lesson in meals hygiene.

In 2021, this kind of boo-boo would lead to an computerized reshoot.

Within the wilder, woolier 70s, a extra urgent concern, not less than so far as public tv was involved, was increasing little Individuals’ worldview, partially by exhibiting them get a commanding grip on their chopsticks. It’s by no means too late to be taught.

Bon appétit!


There are a selection of variations on-line, however this recipe, from Meals.com, hews intently to Youngster’s unique, whereas offering measurements for her eyeballed quantities.

Serves 4-6


1 lb spaghetti 

2 tablespoons butter 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 teaspoon salt black pepper 

1 6-ounce can tuna packed in oil, flaked, undrained 

2 tablespoons pimiento, diced or 2 tablespoons roasted crimson peppers, sliced into strips 

2 tablespoons inexperienced onions with tops, sliced 

2 tablespoons black olives, sliced 

2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded 

2 tablespoons recent parsley or 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Cook dinner pasta in keeping with bundle instructions. 

Drain pasta and return to pot, stirring in butter, olive oil, and salt and pepper. 

Toss with remaining substances and serve, garnished with parsley or cilantro.

Associated Content material 

Julia Youngster Reveals David Letterman Find out how to Cook dinner Meat with a Blow Torch

Watch Anthony Bourdain’s First Meals-and-Journey Sequence A Cook dinner’s Tour Free On-line (2002-03)

Tasting Historical past: A Hit YouTube Sequence Reveals Find out how to Cook dinner the Meals of Historic Greece & Rome, Medieval Europe, and Different Locations & Durations

Science & Cooking: Harvard’s Free Course on Making Muffins, Paella & Different Scrumptious Meals

MIT Teaches You Find out how to Communicate Italian & Cook dinner Italian Meals All at As soon as (Free On-line Course)


Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and creator, most not too long ago, of Inventive, Not Well-known: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Observe her @AyunHalliday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Go up