Andy recently re-introduced me to this childhood taste-treat. I, like everybody else who grew up in the 70s, consumed my share of Franco-American’s canned offerings, but I hadn’t had any for a solid couple of decades. Andy insisted that they were good though, and they are extremely tasty, I must say.
However, today I made the mistake of looking too closely at the can which packaged my delicious lunch. This reminded me that the many advertising images which bombard us from every direction every day are not designed to be looked at too closely. If one does, one discovers that not only do such images have no internal sense or logic, but they also seem to hack at the very foundations of one’s sense of order and reality. I think this goes to show that the countercultural 60s hippies have not given up their psychadelic expand-your-consciousness ethos, rather they are now firmly in control of corporate America.
The can depicts a large Spaghetti-O, with eyes and a tongue, the latter apparently licking its “lips.” It wields a bowl filled with proportionately smaller Spaghetti-O’s in one hand, while the other arm is flexed to exhibit a protruding muscle. “Eat my family, and you too can be as strong as a Spaghetti-O!” it seems to coax, in a simultaneously ghoulish, whimsical, and nonsensical fashion.
The can’s label also wastes a lot of space trying to convince me that Spaghetti-Os are, in fact, incredibly nutritious. “GOOD SOURCE OF PROTEIN! ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS!” it proclaims, in a wacky font (punctuation mine). Elsewhere, it informs me that Spaghetti-Os provide a full serving of Veggies & Grains.
What’s this? As a further proof of the eminent goodness of Spaghetti-Os, the label announces that Spaghetti-Os is the winner of the 2003 Gold Taste (award? it doesn’t say) of the Quality Institute International, for Canned Pasta.
It no doubt took a highly-paid team of advertising executives to put together this label. It probably cost Franco-American more money than I will earn in my entire life, yet it is clearly meant to be no more than glanced at. Ah yes, the product’s name (Spaghetti-Os) reinforced by the image of a Spaghetti-O, with the vague impression that eating this stuff won’t kill you, at least not immediately.
My in-depth perusal of the Spaghetti-Os can has left me with mixed feelings about my lunch. It makes me feel vaguely cannibalistic, and ironically the many reassurances that the product is indeed good for me serve to underscore, for me, the fact that it actually probably isn’t very.
For more Spaghetti-O info and trippy Spaghetti-O-inspired imagery, visit But only if you are a Mom, since it seems that that is the socio-familial class to whom the site appears to address itself. Which opens up still more possibilities for pointless overanalysis.

One Response to “Spaghetti-Os”

  1. Debby says:

    Spaghetti-O disclaimer: Andy may have re-introduced you to Spaghetti-O’s, but his mother did not introduce them to HIM. He must have acquired the taste while away from home, as he never tasted one while he lived here. So please don’t hold me responsible.

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