A 1942 Guide to Spaghetti-Eating Etiquette

Caitlin Schneider

Spaghetti can be a tricky dish to consume in an elegant manner. How, exactly, to eat it in public is a problem that has been perplexing diners for decades. Not for lack of trying though. In 1942, Life magazine offered some help with this step-by-step photo guide featuring a very determined young woman, seated in a corner booth, ready to tuck into a hefty plate of noodles.

The tutorial doesn’t break new ground on the art of eating—the old soup spoon twirl is the crux of the method—but in case there was any doubt, forkfuls should be “ladylike” (they suggest four noodles at a time), and the entirety of what’s on the utensil should be consumed at once, as “nibbling is out.” The captions also offer a bit of encouragement: “Truant strands require patience, lip facility, suck-power.” There you have it.

To learn how to mind your manners while eating noodles, check out the full gallery over at Time.