It started with a simple request: “I want spaghetti tonight.” I didn’t have any sauce precooked, and the thought of pasta sauce in a jar? No way. I refuse to use those from the grocery shelf since my first taste back in college. What spaghetti dish could I make with limited time and ingredients? The answer? Spaghetti Napolitan!
“Napolitan” sounds Italian, doesn’t it? Then why you haven’t heard of it? Because it isn’t real Italian, that’s why. (Spaghetti) Napolitan is a Japanese kids’ favorite that you can find on the menu at most of Japanese cafes. It’s spaghetti with onion, green pepper and mushroom with some kind of processed meat (such as bacon or ham) and ketchup. The Japanese created this dish after World War II. Japanese chefs at the Hotel New Grand, which GHQ requisitioned for a while, got the idea from observing American soldiers eating spaghetti with ketchup as their regular meal. So those hotel chefs probably thought why not, right? My exact thoughts: my husband loves ketchup, he puts that on everything, so why not?
I was so wrong. My husband said he didn’t like spaghetti with the flavor of ketchup. “But”, I said, “You like ketchup!” “Not with pasta!” But again, I said, “This is almost like omerice that you like.” Instead of answering, he quoted GoodFellas. “I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup.” *Sigh* I can’t argue with one of the greatest movies ever, but still, all these Japanese kids grow up eating it and loving it! Are they schnooks? Why doesn’t my ketchup loving husband like it?
Adding insult to injury, he even said he’d rather have spaghetti with sauce from a jar. Although I doubt he’ll eat jarred pasta sauce, I guess he was expecting “real Italian” spaghetti, so receiving “ketchup” tasting pasta was disappointing. I thought this was ironic because ketchup was invented by Americans, and Napolitan was invented by the Japanese, so in theory, it’s a perfect “fusion” dish, right? Oh well, cook and learn!
P.S. He didn’t hate it; he finished the plate.