Spaghetti tacos — it’s all the kids want these days, The New York Times reports. The new food creation is exactly what you think it is: sauce-slathered noodles scooped liberally into hard taco shells. The Times story alleges that this new culinary phenomenon is “all the rage” in suburban kitchens from Secaucus, New Jersey to Lincoln, Nebraska, citing the spaghetti taco-related write-ups on “mom blogs” and the long list of recipes on the shockingly real spaghettitacos.com.
Wedged between true-life confessions from spaghetti taco aficionados and the mothers who abet this gastronomical blasphemy, however, is commentary from Robert Thompson, a popular culture professor at Syracuse University. He may be a few years too late for the spaghetti taco zeitgeist, but as a cultural thing, Thompson loves the stuff.
“This combination seems to be an inevitability, sort of like chocolate and peanut butter running into each other on that Reese’s commercial,” he said. “The amazement should be only that it took ‘iCarly’ to bring it into our melting pot of a culture.”
“Spaghetti tacos has made it possible to eat spaghetti in your car,” he said. “It’s a very important technological development. You don’t even need a plate.”
But who is this man praising the vehicular portability of our ungodly Italian-Mexican mashup? Over at NYTPicker there’s a muckraking look into his past cooperation with Times stories, and there’s some serious history there. Helene Stapinski, the scribe behind “Spaghetti Tacos: Silly Enough for Young Eaters,” is the 78th Times reporter to reach out to Thompson for comment. Over the past 20 years he’s been mentioned in 150 different stories.
He last popped in to discuss one Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, “Jersey Shore” star and author of a forthcoming memoir, in Cathy Horyn’s much-maligned Times story last July. Horyn calls Thompson an “avid fan” of the show. “‘Jersey Shore’ is brilliantly cast and, of course, Snooki is the star,” he said in the Times piece. “The name doesn’t hurt for a start.”
The fact that America’s paper of record reaches out to Thompson on topics as disparate as Spaghetti Tacos and Snooki indicates that either a) the man is an indisputable maven of pop culture ephemera or b) the Times is getting a tad lazy. Regardless, we think perhaps its high time for Thompson to get his own Times profile. And we have the perfect man to call for quotes.