Friday, April 1, 2011

Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

In 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that harvestingthanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. The story was accompanied with footage of  people pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees.

The program, narrated by Richard Dimbleby, a distinguished harvest3broadcaster, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest.  It showed women plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.

Spaghetti is not a widely-eaten food in the UK and is considered by many as an exotic delicacy. Dimbleby noted that the end of March each year is a very anxious time for spaghetti harvesters all over Europe as severe frost can impair the flavor of the spaghetti. He also explained how each strand of spaghetti grows to the same length thanks to years of hard work by generations of growers. harvest4

Some viewers failed to see the humor and criticized the BBC for airing the hoax. Others wanted to find out how they could grow (or purchase) a spaghetti bush to which the BBC responded: “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” This is believed to be one of the first times that TV was been used to stage an April Fools hoax. Curious? Watch it here.

What’s the craziest April Fool’s hoax you ever pulled on someone?

Here’s mine – my father enjoyed eating peanuts out of the shell. He would sit at the table cracking and eating them. I got the bag before him, carefully opened some of the peanut shells, ate the contents, then glued the empty shells together. On ne April 1 night, my father went for a snack. He started cracking shells only to find every other one empty. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud each time, before telling him that he didn’t have a bag of “duds.”

Your turn.


Elaine said...

I love the BBC story!! When my kids were little I told them that spagetti grew in fields, but my version had the spagetti as the center of macaroni. I'm not sure but I don't think the kids have forgiven me for that little story yet, and my oldest son is 45. It wasn't an April Fool's Day story though, just an everyday day kind of fable.

possum said...

As a school teacher, April 1st was always an interesting day. Fortunately, I was able to maintain my sense of humor - it was often needed! There were always the usual rubber snakes and plastic spiders showing up here and there around my room.

Daisy said...

HA! It must have been fun to stage that spaghetti story. :-) I can't remember any spectacular April Fool's jokes that I've pulled. Most have been rather common things like saying, "Hold still there's a big spider on your back!" when there wasn't one there, of course, and so on.

Snapper II said...

You're not going to believe this but it snowed in savannah Georgia last night and we woke up to 3" on the ground.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Elaine, I think I may have heard the BBC story, but only in later years because of course I was much too young to remember it firsthand :-) Great story about what you told your kids!

Possum, bet you could tell some good stories!

Daisy, same here, as I am not a good (or believable) prankter

Hey Pat (SnapperII) you are right in that I DON'T believe you :-)

Out on the prairie said...

A fun post!I put a load in my dads cigar only to be horrified when he hadn't lit it up and got in his new car. He got down the street and I heard a screech of tires, watching him get out and dust off the ashes all over him.Peeling rubber he returned back to the house and saw me running through the back field .Giving chase he caught me and I decided not to to ever do that again, at least to him.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

You had me for a split second there, my brain is slow these days...spaghetti growing.

That is too cute what you did to your father, what did he say when he found out?

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

Forgot... My brother and I while at our aunt and uncle's house; found in the basement a fake bottle of ink and spill. We laid the bottle over on its side and placed the fake spill right up to the mouth of the bottle on their new carpeted steps leading into the basement. We started to cry (laughing on the inside)and that got our uncle's attention, he came running and we showed him what happen. He got some paper and was trying to scoop up the spill and that is when he found out it was fake. we all had a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

That is probably the best April fools ever done :-) :-) :-) The best we´ve ever had here in Sweden was back in the days when people only had black and white tv´s. A very famous person known for his lack of humor showed people how they could get a color tv very cheap, just by cutting some nylon stockings and put them in front of the tv screen. It was so fun because despite everyone saw this in black and white he seriously said: As You can see the colors are great" :-) :-) :-)

Some people didn´t think that was fun either :-) :-) :-) and others swore that if they looked with their eyes half closed they could see colors :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day now!

Anonymous said...

I remember somewhere back in my youth hearing a story about a farm being divided up into plots of 1 inch by several hundred feet and sold to people as spaghetti farms.
Now I am sure this was a spin off of your original BBC broadcast story.

Happy April Fool's day!

(and our trick is sunshine this morning to be followed with snow)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

My April fools trick on my father was tame in comparison to some I've heard about. Hope everyone had a prank-less day - no fooling!

Steve, that trick on your father sure turned out ugly for you and I enjoyed reading how you wouldn't do it again (to him).

Tammy, some days my brain doesn't function either. Grenville thought it might be fun to try growing a pasta plant garden! My father really didn't get mad just thought it was amazing that I had gone through all that trouble. I enjoyed the story of the fake ink spill. Thanks.

Christer, I read about that Swedish hoax when I found out about the spaghette plant. Your comment that some swore they could see colors was like the British folks who wanted one of the plants! Enjoy your weekend.

Hi Dogsmom, that's a story I hadn't read or heard about but as you said it was probably a follow-up hoax to the BBC one. We had considered posting a photo with lots of snow, but figured that wouldn't be fooling folks who are still dealing with the white stuff - like you. Hope it's a light snowfall.

Anvilcloud said...

I liked it. Humour is a wonderful thing.

Ruth said...

Canada converted to the metric system in the 1970's. I remember the April Fools hoax in 1975, reported on the news, which said we were converting to metric time...100 min hours, 10 hour clock. It actually started in Australia, but many people believed it, even me. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be late on this (but what's new). I remember this being on either the Jack Parr show or the Steve Allen show (steve replaced Jack)and my mother believing it. AND my father just shoveling it on more and more. I'm not sure what happened once she learned the truth. Of course we all know that spagetti grows on small plants between the tomato plants adn the garlic bulbs.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

AC, it (humor) certainly is a wonderful thing especially when shared!

Thanks, Ruth for sharing that story.

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