Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eating spaghetti: Spoon or not?

To help your fork twirl spaghetti, do you use a spoon?

I had always been told that using a spoon is bad manner, and that Italian people would never do it. I recently discovered that my Italian friend, on the opposite, thought that only the French did not use a spoon.

I decided to do some research, and posted a questionnaire to Reddit SampleSize. 300 persons participated (you too, feel free to fill the questionnaire right now!), which makes it the largest spaghetti—spoon research ever published!

62% of the respondents have never used a spoon when eating spaghetti, while 17% ALWAYS use a spoon.

Here is a map showing countries where people sometimes use spoons, the greener the spooner:

(Maps should be taken with a grain of salt. Countries with 9 respondents or more are: Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA)

What if your neighbour uses a spoon?

Reactions range from "I don't care" and "It is normal" to "It's offensive and disgusting" and "They are filthy casual":

Northern Europe is rather spoon-tolerant, but other countries less so:

Spoon: Formal or informal?

There is an extremely surprising antagonism:
- 2% use a spoon only in informal situations,
- 9% use a spoon only in FORMAL situations!

Let's focus on the formal/informal divide. Apparently, the spoon is considered formal in Poland/Denmark, and to a certain extent in Germany and North America. It is considered rather informal in the rest of the world:

A fine Finn respondent concludes this way: "[Using a spoon] is the proper way, although knife and fork is considered normal around here." You read it right. "Knife". That might be the topic of my next article.

I have made the raw data available, public domain.

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