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And Called it Macaroni . . .

Journal des dames et des modes Journal des dames et des modes, 1914Journal des dames et des modes, 1914

It's Macaroni Day, but instead of mostaccioli rigati or fettucine or soba noodles, a different little ditty comes to mind:

Yankee Doodle went to town,

A-riding on a pony;

He stuck a feather in his hat,

And called it macaroni

I used to think that the macaroni in the song referred to the feather itself, but it was actually a pejorative term for an over-the-top dandy, from the Italian word maccherone, which meant "blockhead."

It pre-dates the Revolution, supposedly French and Indian war era, coming from the British mocking their less stylish Yankee counterparts.

But Yankees adopt all things, positive and negative, and absorb them into their culture, as this song is now synonymous with America and a patriotic spirit.

So go ahead and stick that feather in your hat, Signore Maccherone.

—Elizabeth Periale

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