“I did not get my SpaghettiOs, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”
– Last words of a 1995 Death Row inmate.

The mere mention of some foods transports us right back to the kitchen table of our youth. Such is the power of SpaghettiOs, those tiny rings of pasta packed in a strangely-sweet orange sauce. They have left an indelible mark on our memory thanks to their decades-old catch phrase “Uh, oh, SpaghettiOs” and that’s why, even when we know we shouldn’t still be eating such things, we are still compelled to grab a can and toss it into the shopping cart when nobody is looking.

In 1965, the year that brought us such wonders as Cool Whip, Pampers and the Pillsbury Doughboy, the first can of SpaghettiOs was sold by Franco-American, a subsidiary of Campbell’s Foods. They were the brainchild of Donald Goerke (recognized now as the “Daddy-O of SpaghettiOs”), a mixture of kid-friendly pasta loops and a tomato-cheese sauce. They were quick and easy to make – even for a kid lacking in culinary skills. “The neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon” caught on quickly with children and adults alike, becoming one of the biggest-selling items of all time for Campbell’s.

Over the years, the product line for SpaghettiOs has grown to include versions with meatballs, small franks (sliced-up hot dogs), as well as a wide variety of kid-culture shapes, from Saturday-morning cartoons to the latest and greatest movie characters. Packed with full servings of both vegetables (think tomato sauce) and grains (think noodles), it also packs a big salty punch with over a third of the recommended daily allowance of sodium.

SpaghettiOs won’t satiate your craving for a nice angel hair pasta with a zesty marinara sauce, but if it’s a rainy day and you need a bit of comforting, popping open a can (while you recite the catch phrase in your head, of course), pouring it into a saucepan, then stirring until it is well-warmed is sure to bring back happy memories aplenty.

Odds are that you have probably shoveled down a few cans of SpaghettiOs in your day. Do you still crave them, and have you actually given into that craving recently? Share your memories and thoughts with all of us at Retroland in our comments section, as we let out a collective nostalgic sigh for SpaghettiOs.

2 Responses to “SpaghettiOs”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. jennifer harris says:

    I love Spaghetti-o’s.

  2. Gina says:

    I find Chef Boyardee has a better sauce-to-pasta ratio. Campbell’s puts in too much sauce. Also with Chef Boyardee, you can pop the top open, while with Campbell’s you have to use the can opener. On the other hand, Campbell’s uses franks in some of their cans, an ingredient which is sorely missing from Chef Boyardee’s flavors.
    When it was called Franco American, Campbell’s had a decidedly unique macaroni and cheese that I miss very much.

Leave a Reply to Gina Cancel reply