A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 24, 2008
Spaghetti and Meatballs (Meatballs and Spaghetti)

"Spaghetti and meatballs” (or “meatballs and spaghetti,” with the two-word “meat balls” as the earlier form) is a popular Italian dish—or is it Italian? It’s often claimed that “spaghetti and meatballs” is not to be found in Italy and is an American version of the Italian pasta dish.

“Spaghetti and meatballs” is rarely cited in print in the 1910s, during the World War I period. By 1922, American Beauty Macaroni Company of Kansas City, MO, was advertising a “meat balls and spaghetti” recipe. A 1937 New York Herald Tribune article about spaghetti and meat balls in cans recognized this as a new dinner from the “Middle West.” Chef Boy-Ar-Dee (from Cleveland, Ohio) would sell spaghetti and meatballs in cans by 1963.

In World War II slang, “depth bombs” were meatballs and “worms” were spaghetti; a dinner of “depth bombs and worms” was “spaghetti and meatballs.” Some wags have recently labeled a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs as “S & M.”

Wikipedia: Spaghetti and meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs is a dish that usually consists of spaghetti, tomato sauce and meatballs.

A staple of Italian-American cuisine, spaghetti and meatballs is a combination originating in 19th century Sicily and Puglia. In today’s world, it is commonly believed to be unknown in Italy, where pasta (including spaghetti) is served as a first course (usually—but not exclusively—with some tomato-based sauce), and meat (including meatballs) is usually served as a second course. It is considered obsolete in early 21st century southern Italy. 

5 April 1910, Hagerstown (MD) Morning Herald, pg. 16, col. 5 ad:
(Triangle Food Stores—ed.)
2 cans 25c

Chronicling America
18 April 1914, St. Tammany Farmer (Covington, LA), pg. 2, col. 5:
The Southern Hotel Cafe will serve hot soup to its customers every day free. Wednesday and Saturdays spaghetti and meat balls.

Chronicling America
2 November 1914, Rock Island (IL) Argus, “Household Hints,” pg. 6, col. 5:
Meat Balls With Spaghetti (Italian Dish).—One and one-half pounds round steak, one cup bread crumbs, three eggs, one-half cup Roman cheese, one-half cup ground salt pork, salt and pepper. Make into balls and fry. Cook spaghetti in usual way with one can tomatoes, and pour over meat balls.

5 August 1917, East St. Louis (IL) Journal, pg. 9, col. 5 ad:
ITALIAN SPAGHETTI and meat balls 55c a la carte.

Feeding America
The International Jewish Cook Book:
1600 Recipes According To The Jewish Dietary Laws With The Rules For Kashering:
The Favorite Recipes Of America, Austria, Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Roumania, Ect., Ect.

By Florence Kreisler Greenbaum.
New York, NY: Bloch Pub. Co.
Pg. 84:
Break spaghetti in small pieces and boil until tender. Put left-over meat through chopper and mix with the spaghetti, salt, pepper, and a little onion juice. Grease a baking dish and put in the meat and spaghetti, sprinkle on top with bread crumbs and bake in a moderate oven.

27 October 1922, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 16, col. 4 ad:
spaghetti and meat balls
(American Beauty Macaroni Products—ed.)

29 October 1922, Kansas City (MO) Star, pg. 8D, col. 2 ad:
meat balls and spaghetti
A meal that will “hit the spot” on a cool fall or winter day.

Boil 1 package American Beauty Spaghetti until tender (about 15 minutes). Break 3/8 pound of dry bread into small pieces and put into 3/4 cup hot water; allow bread to soften, then squeeze out water. Put 1/2 pound chuck beef, 1/4 pound shoulder pork and 2 slices of onion thru meat chopper. Mix with bread, 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 pound grated cheese. Form into balls. Fry balls in olive oil. Serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce.

10 March 1930, Jefferson City (MO) Post-Tribune, pg. 13, col. 2 photo caption:
Primo Carnera, husky Italian heavyweight, establishes a record for eating champions every time he come to the plate—that is, the dinner table. This picture shows Primo going for a triple portion of spaghetti and meatballs, while manage Leon See looks on in wonderment.

8 June 1931, Capital Times (Madison, WI), pg. 20, col. 5 ad:
Capadona’s Lunch
We serve real Italian Spaghetti with meat balls.

4 January 1937, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 20, col. 7:
2 New Dinners Offered in Cans;
Beef Stew and Spaghetti Balls

by Clementine Paddleford
To greet the New Year on the economical side of the budget are two new dinners in cans, 15 cents each, here from the Middle West. One is a beef stew, the other a spaghetti with meat ball mixture.  Both tins contain one and one-half pounds, or a sufficient quantity to serve three guests, each a good-size helping. Families of two find a whole meal in the contents of a can. We weighed the meat content of the spaghetti with meat balls and it came to almost half a pound. The spaghetti is tender, the sauce well cooked and richly seasoned.

16 October 1943, Army Times, “A Slang Dictionary,” pg. 10:
DEPTHBOMBS AND WORMS (Illustration is here—ed.)—Meatballs and spaghetti.

17 New York (NY) Times, “Service Slang of Women,” pg. SM32:
Depth Bomb and Worms—Wac term for meat balls and spaghetti.

OCLC WorldCat record
Spaghetti and meat balls, pointless and unrationed,
by Champe Philips; Betty Pate
Type:  Book; English
Publisher: San Antonio, Naylor, [1945, ©1944]
OCLC: 11050026

August 1946, New London (CT) Classified Telephone DIrectory, pg. 103, col. 1:
Specializing in
Tel. 6371

Google Books
The American Thesaurus of Slang
by Lester V. Berrey and Melvin Van den Bark
Second Edition
New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company
Pg. 814:
...depth bombs, meat balls; depth bombs and worms, meat balls and spaghetti; ...

15 July 1963, Burlington (NC) Daily Times-News, pg. 3A, col. 1 ad:
Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Spaghetti and Meatballs
15 1/2 oz. can...19c

Google Groups: alt.romance.chat
Newsgroups: alt.romance.chat
From: (Susan Rees-Osborne)
Date: 8 Nov 1993 05:24:48 GMT
Local: Mon, Nov 8 1993 1:24 am
Subject: Re: **M ISO **F for S&M

>> (-=[SLS]=-) writes:
>> >>>Who is interested in meeting women who share an interest in S & M.
>> >>Strawberies and Milk?
>> >>Spaghetti and Meatballs?
>> >>Solilique’s and Monologues?
>> >>Songs and Music?
>> >>Silliness and Mirth?
>> Sordid and Morose?
>> Squeaky and Martyrdom?
>> SLIP and MUD?
>> Servant and Master?
>> Sweet and Meat! 

Google Groups: nashville.general
Newsgroups: nashville.general
From: (Gene Scott)
Date: 1997/12/07

I went to this guy’s site (DeMardes) when he had a webpage. He had all kinds of sexually explicit pictures involving himself and other men. He is also heavily into s and m............... spaghetti and meatballs that is...........he weighs about 300 lbs.

Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
Date: 1998/10/31
Subject: Re: Italian Cooking

WOW...how true!  I certainly agree with everything on the list...i remember my nonna saying “macaroni & gravy” and as a kid I used to tease her - calling the dish “nonna’s s & m” which of course stands for “spaghetti and meatballs”. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Thursday, April 24, 2008 • Permalink