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Neman: Online spaghetti hack is appalling, just appalling
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Neman: Online spaghetti hack is appalling, just appalling

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Spaghetti and Veal Meatballs

You can make a lovely meal of spaghetti and meatballs, as in this 2015 Post-Dispatch photo, or you can smear the ingredients all over your counter and have your guests tear into them like lions devouring a downed gazelle.

I was appalled, and so was nearly everyone else.

A how-to video went viral last week, and it was received with universal derision and scorn. On the other hand, it has been watched by more than 30 million people, so I suppose that’s a victory for the woman who made it.

I am speaking of the Ultimate Spaghetti Trick, which was created for the Facebook page of Josh and Lisa. In the video, a woman — I’m guessing she is Lisa — shows what she calls “the easiest way to make spaghetti for a crowd.”

First, she pours two large jars of Prego spaghetti sauce up and down the length of what appears to be a 6-foot island countertop. Then, she pours more than 100 meatballs on top of the sauce which, if I haven’t made clear, is directly on top of her counter.

I have no way of knowing this, but I imagine the meatballs — or “meat-a balls-a,” as she calls them in an embarrassing attempt at an Italian accent — came frozen.

Next, she pours at least half of a 16-ounce jar of Market Pantry Parmesan cheese over the meatballs and the sauce, which, I probably no longer have to emphasize, are splattered across her counter.

And then she adds — with her hands, incidentally — what appears to be two pounds of cooked, steaming spaghetti. Finally, she swirls it all together, still on the counter, adding lettuce on one side and split loaves of bread on the other.

“I’m Italian, and real Italians — this is how you make spaghetti,” she says.

No it isn’t.

“This is the definition of family style,” she says.

No it isn’t.

I was appalled, and still am. I saw it after it was reposted by a friend and colleague, who was also appalled. But we are appalled for different reasons.

My friend and colleague is appalled because she sees it as an unconscionable waste of food for the sake of clicks and views. She does not believe the woman’s statement at the beginning that “all my friends are coming over,” and neither do I.

Most people who have seen the video seem to be appalled because it is all done on a counter, which they think is inherently unsanitary. I am willing to give the woman the benefit of a doubt: Perhaps the counter was impeccably clean and sanitized immediately before she began, and we just don’t happen to see her wash her hands before using them as a food-grade pasta server.

What gets me most about the video is the quality of the food being served. She is having a big party, allegedly, and all of her friends are coming over, and she serves them room-temperature spaghetti sauce from a jar, tepid meatballs from a bag, cheap Parmesan cheese from a plastic jar and spaghetti that will soon be cold because it is spread out over a counter.

Can you imagine being a guest at that party? “Oh, you shouldn’t have gone to all the trouble.”

I have nothing against Prego, per se, unless they paid to have their product so prominently displayed in this video, in which case I hope they have a botulism scare. But come on, Josh and Lisa. It’s a party. Make your own spaghetti sauce. Even with as large an amount as this, it will take you an hour or less.

And with everything confined to pots and pans, you won’t have to clean and scrub your island counter.

Actually, that’s my favorite part of the whole 3-minute video: At the beginning, she says, “You don’t have to worry about a mess.”

The Josh and Lisa Facebook page presents some videos that are supposed to be funny (she washes chicken breasts in dish soap with an electric toothbrush) and some that are serious (or are they?).

Many of the serious videos involve preparing large amounts of food on the counter — macaroni and nacho cheese, salsa dip, spaghetti and meatballs.

The Josh and Lisa Facebook page has 45,498 followers.

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