It was a tale that baffled the residents of New Jersey and captivated social media. Hundreds of pounds of cooked pasta noodles found strewn along a creek bed in a wooded area in the town of Old Bridge. It was a veritable macaroni mystery. But now, thanks to the diligent detective work of some neighbors, the truth has been revealed.
It would seem that the noodles came from a nearby property that had been put up for sale after the owner's death. The son of the deceased was clearing out the house, and in doing so, came across a wealth of expired groceries, including a stash of dried pasta. Rather than dispose of it properly, the son chucked the old pasta into the nearby woods. Combine this with the heavy rain that hit the area, and the noodles became waterlogged and appeared to have been cooked. As Keith Rost, a neighbor, told NBC, "I mean, I really feel like he was just trying to clear out his parents' house and they were probably stocked up from COVID."
Nina Jochnowitz, a community leader, was the first to share images of the noodles on Facebook. "Would be in better shape if the present administration, which has refused bulk garbage collection, would have it," Jochnowitz wrote in her post, estimating that there must have been more than 500 pounds of pasta. The ordeal was reported to the town, and the area's Public Works department promptly cleared up the mess. "The township heard or read the comments and responded by doing a rapid cleanup of the river basin and pasta dump," Jochnowitz later wrote on Facebook. "Thank you Kasey and the entire crew of Public Works!" In truth, the facts behind the mystery are less exciting than some of the theories that flooded social media. One user posed the question, "Is it possible that someone might have just tripped and their pocket spaghetti fell out?" While another suggested a simple explanation: "It was pasta expiration date."
Others brought up Strega Nona, the beloved children's book about a kindly witch who uses a magic pasta pot to feed a whole town. Some blamed her hapless assistant, "Big Anthony," for the mess. "No, it's clearly Big Anthony. Strega Nona would NEVER let pasta go to waste like that," one person wrote. Despite the lack of witchcraft, the story quickly went viral, sparking outrage and intrigue across the internet. But thanks to some community teamwork and a prompt response from Public Works, the macaroni mystery has been solved, much to the relief of Old Bridge's residents.