53 Comments

  1. I have always wondered (humorously) whether the anti-pasto and pasta courses canceled each other out.
    Love the squirrel slurping the other end of the dish – wonder if they’re going to eventually meet “Lady and the Tramp”-style?

  2. The way I see it, it’s the eating character who doesn’t know the word, the woman and the cartoonist do know it; don’t know ’bout the squirrel, tho.

  3. Before explaining to Andréa why the cartoonist has no idea what antipasto is, I thought I should look up antipasto jar. Sure enough, I found “gourmet antipasto” for sale in a 250g (~8.8 oz) jar. (the advertisement showed it on a cracker; so they may be missing the point). I also found a much greater variety of authentic antipasto forms than I thought possible.

  4. Oh, I hadn’t seen the jar. That is … weird.

    Then again I’ve seen a jarred Tapanade spread described as antipasto. Which it is.

  5. I speculate that the cartoonist does know what antipasto is, and that it was easier to draw a jar and write “antipasto” on it (which, as Kevin and woozy pointed out, is not wrong), than to draw the antipasto in a more common form, on a plate, because it would be hard to make clear to the reader what was on the plate.

  6. He might know what it is: I’ve made a similar joke. (“Why does the menu say ‘Antipasto’? Shouldn’t an Italian restaurant be PRO pasta?”)

  7. Given this artist’s tendency to overexplain a joke, I’m going to guess that he knows what antipasto looks like, but he wanted something to put a label on to make sure we get the joke.

  8. Given which strip this is, it might have been more expected to show a dish of antipasto and have the squirrel explain what it is.

  9. I thought that antipasto was a generic term, like hors d’oeuvres. Whatever goes out before the pasta. So you can buy a jar of antipasto? Like in Repo Man, where you buy a can labeled FOOD?

    Anyway, writing a pun doesn’t mean you don’t know what the word means.

  10. Mark in Boston – Antipasto is indeed the course before pasta course. Having had same both in “real” Italian restaurants (per my husband – his family only ate in certain restaurants because they were real Italian restaurants) and with his family at their homes for Christmas Day – it is a fancy cold cut course, with “sausage bread”, (Italian) bread, bread sticks. pickled/in oil vegetables (egg plant, peppers…), chick peas and the like. It is eaten as the first course – before the pasta course.

    The pasta course can be any kind of pasta – for Christmas they always have (cheese) ravioli with tomato gravy from the same store that they get the antipasto items from.

    This is followed by the main course which used to be ham (bought already cooked and when SIL started making the dinner it was left overnight in her car trunk because someone told her that a car trunk is cold enough for cooked ham). They would serve the not Italian dishes of mashed sweet potatoes and green bean casserole with it. SIL has dropped this course as she is too full for it – even with at least an hour between courses “to digest”.

    This is followed by the dessert course of Italian pastries, cookies, and other desserts – one of which is the same as a dessert from the Jewish High Holy Days – consisting of small balls of fried dough stacked in a rounded pyramid shape and covered in honey.

    They are not a coffee drinking family, so it is not served at their home. When we first restaurant I drank black coffee. Robert explained not to order “black coffee” as that would be espresso. I had to order “American coffee, no milk or cream”.

    I have to tell Robert that there is a jarred product with the same name.

  11. As kids, we saw the “spaghetti slurping” trick in any number of cartoons, but my parents were always decidedly against trying it out at the dinner table. Later tests revealed that it requires a good amount of lubricating agent (tomato sauce or butter) to make the trick work, which then results in a ugly mess on the experimenter’s face. The main problem is that “real” noodles are only a foot long, as opposed to “cartoon” noodles, for which the entire dish could be filled by a single strand of spaghetti.
    P.S. Perhaps everyone here already knows this, but nevertheless: <grammar nerd ON> The pun is derived from a conflation of the two prefixes “anti-” (against) and “ante-” (before). </grammar nerd OFF>

  12. Mark in Boston, you’re not wrong about the generic usage, whatever we learn about these specific products. Except – – it’s whatever comes before the meal (repast) not specifically pasta.

  13. Golly, lost a comment I drafted. This may have been covered in the meantime, but MiB and some subsequent commenters are quite correct about the generic use, despite the packaged specific products. Except – – it’s not whatever comes before the pasta necessarily, but just whatever comes before the meal, the main meal – – the repast.

  14. (Well lo and behold, it only was playing lost to fool me.)

    BTW, Meryl’s description as ” it is a fancy cold cut course” is exactly what I am familiar with as antipasto at restaurants.

    Kilby, point well taken about these prefixes … in English, or harking back to Latin. But from what I was able to glean from the etymologies in a couple dictionaries online, the Italian form was with anti- which seems to be how Italian took on Latin ante-.

  15. I remember making a similar anti-pasta joke when I was 7 or so. At that age I also thought it was hysterical to say I was too hungry for wonton soup so I wanted twoton soup.

    And now I’m imagining the squirrel in the corner saying “I want won from column A!”

  16. “What spaghetti slurping trick?”

    The one where you start at one end of the spaghetti noodle, and suck the rest of the noodle up. “Lady and the Tramp” was but a variation on a well-established cartoon trope.

  17. “Any way you look at it, antipasto doesn’t come in a mustard jar to be applied with a spoon.”

    That could be a fork for spearing. And we’ve shown many times it *does* come in jars (what make this a mustard jar is a bit beyond me.

    “Kilby, Lady and the Tramp ruined our understanding of Spaghetti.”

    What are you two talking about? We always sucked up spaghetti by the strand until we discovered it was more effecient to eat it by the mouthful. And the plate in L and the T was not a single strand. They merely stumbled upon both eating the same strand. It can happen.

  18. I don’t know, it just said “mustard jar” to me:

    And it’s my recollection that Lady and the Tramp were sharing an unnaturally long strand of spaghetti

  19. “And it’s my recollection that Lady and the Tramp were sharing an unnaturally long strand of spaghetti”

    But it wasn’t the only one on the plate. And it was only about three feet long. There are probably about twenty strands between 1 to 3 feet and you each eat a few the probability you both start to eat the same strand is pretty good.

    .

  20. “Kilby, Lady and the Tramp ruined our understanding of Spaghetti.”

    Which is, that if you have a plate of spaghetti in front of you, you should share it with the nearest dog?

    I never understood that, myself, but then I rather like spaghetti and don’t have a dog, so I’m not the target audience for that secret law of slurpitude. (If anyone ever tried to make me eat fish, though, I’d be happy to share it, in the sense of ‘give all of it,’ to my cat.)

  21. @Kilby @Mitch4 Maybe your gogking got you this far, but for the sake at least of those reading: the Latin “ante” whence English “antebellum” and Italian “antipasto” is different from the “anti” whence “anti-freeze,” because the latter is Greek, so while the prefixes are the same in expression they are genuinely different in use. But then going back further to Indo-European Wiktionary says with good reason that it is likely exactly the same word originally, so make of that what you will.

  22. On the other hand, he and the squirrel will likely get few calories from the spaghetti to begin with, because the noodles seem to be empty silhouettes made of colourless space.

  23. @ woozy – A small cartoon character (such as Jerry or more likely his perpetually hungry nephew Nibbles) gets one end of a noodle in his mouth, starts on it, and “presto!” the entire plate of spaghetti disappears after one long slurp. In another instance it was used as an elevator: slurping the spaghetti raised the character from floor to table level.

  24. I didn’t know there was an Italian word for “meal” that was a cognate with “repast”, but then the only Italian I know is from listening to opera, and a few words from Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

    I find it interesting that one word has three entirely different meanings depending on whether we say it in Italian, French or English:

    pasta — delicious food vegetarians can eat.

    paté — delicious food vegetarians cannot eat

    paste — not delicious, not food, eaten by kindergarten kinder.

  25. And here’s the requisite Bizarro cartoon by Dan Piraro:

    (For those of you in the future who can’t see the cartoon because the link is stale, it’s the Bizarro cartoon from July 19th, 2011. It shows two distrusting people holding picket signs. One sign reads “Pro volone”; the other reads “Anti pasto.”)

  26. But why are the protesters upset with each other? The two aren’t necessarily incompatible. 🙂

  27. Grawlix @5:17 PM: Congratulations, you’ve made it to the future!

    Oh, shoot, it’s not the future, it’s just the present. My mistake.

  28. MiB: the French word you want is “pâte”(=noodle, pasta), not “pâté”(=pastry with meat and fish inside); they have the same etymology, though (latin “pasta”=paste).

  29. @Winter Wallaby: “Oh, shoot, it’s not the future, it’s just the present. My mistake.”

    No; it’s not the present, it’s the past (take a look at your date stamp). Maybe all that time travel has addled you?

    Do you have any interesting stories about the past? Present-day historians (up here in the present, though admittedly right on the very edge of the future) might be interested. What was it really like to be living back in “yesterday”?

  30. “Do you have any interesting stories about the past?”

    The past is pretty different, in ways that you in the present might find hard to understand. For example, here in the past it’s Jan 10, 2019, 2:13 PM EST, so that’s pretty different. Also, back here in the past I’m writing a comment on a blog, but from what I’ve heard, in the present you’re reading a comment on a blog.

  31. It also produces its own force field which prevents it from going through the ground.

    Is that normal?

  32. “Is that normal?”

    It conforms to all the latest laws and standards of physics *and* every other sciences, even those yet to be developed.

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