For the sake of scientific experimentation, my assistant and I finally got around to heating up a can of Campbell’s Spaghetti the other night. Did I say “assistant?” I meant “companion.” Well, “wife” actually.
Neither of us were terribly impressed. Mrs. H thought that it smelled and tasted like the Spaghetti Os she remembered eating at a friend’s house when she was a kid. As for me, I have almost no memory of Spaghetti Os. Either my mom never served them or I simply blocked them out of my mind.
I can say that what we ate was not what you would call authentic Italian cuisine, not even if Olive Garden is your idea of authentic. The sauce is a bland, sticky, orange-hued concoction, not unlike what you might get if you mixed Campbell’s Tomato Soup with Cheez Whiz. The pasta was overcooked to the consistency of Jell-O. I’m hard pressed to explain how it is that it doesn’t simply disintegrate in the can.
Now I realize that Jon Pertwee’s recipe calls for the Heinz Spaghetti with Tomato and Cheese Sauce, but if it’s anything like the Campbell’s version, I have to wonder how Jon Pertwee, sophisticated man of the world that he was, could have given us a recipe based on this stuff. I’m starting to think that maybe he was never a canned spaghetti buff at all, but instead simply lending his image to Heinz in exchange for an endorsement fee.
Was he really just in it for the money? Was his 1976 ode to Heinz Noodle Doodles (set to Darren’s visuals below) something less than an expression of heartfelt affection for pasta in a can?
Would Pertwee have perhaps preferred a grapefruit or an egg for breakfast instead of a big bowl of Sugar Smacks?
But Pertwee was Dr. Who, for heaven’s sake! The Doctor doesn’t save the universe for commercial gain. He doesn’t even carry cash. I can’t imagine Doctor Who allowing his name to get plastered onto a can of substandard pasta in exchange for a promotional fee.
I may have to go another way with this. Maybe make my own sauce and use a decent pasta, cooked al dente. Though probably not Barilla. Doctor Who’s gay-friendliness doesn’t seem like a good fit. A local brand will do.