Deep within an enchanting forest, along the banks of the Iresick Brook in the township of Old Bridge, New Jersey, lies, by some reports, roughly 500 pounds of pasta. Well, “lied.” It’s been removed, presumably through twirling each noodle up with a fork. But last week, Jersey resident Nina Jochnowitz discovered the discarded pasta, about 30 yards from the road as she drove by. Since then, the mystery of the ravine ravioli has caused quite a ruckus.
Jochnowitz explained to the New York Times that the area was used to seeing discarded couches or car parts, but that the second-course noodles were a first. “There was literally 25 feet of pasta that had been dumped,” she said. Heaps of spaghetti, elbow macaroni, and alphabet noodles lined the banks of the creek. Understandably, people wondered from whence it came. A catering mishap? Strega Nona cosplay? Maybe it was Paulie Walnuts and Christopher Moltisanti’s secret pasta stash from their Pine Barrens excursion?
The truth, it turns out, was that a military veteran was cleaning out his recently deceased mother’s home and came across an obscene stockpile of dried pasta. Despite more logical options like donating the food, he decided to dump it all in the woods. Ah, the mind of a New Jersey man.
I suppose for legal and municipal reasons, it’s “buono” that this spaghetti jetty conundrum has been solved. But next time noodles spring forth from the earth, perhaps next time on a mountain side like Scottish Heather (Italian Feathers?), might I suggest just reveling in the mystery. Why must we seek answers when we are provided with such blessings (forest pasta). So few things are enigmas these days. We have facts and data and polls and constant contact with every single person we know. I ask, what is the more egregious crime? Dumping 500 pounds of pasta in the woods or delighting in the mystique?! As one of my favorite songwriters, Iris DeMent sings, “No one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me / I think I’ll just let the mystery be.”