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Joe's Cafe, 24/7 pit stop for ESL learners and teachers | March 2008
Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.

Swiss Spaghetti Harvest Hoax

Below is probably the most classic April Fool’s Day hoax of all time. On April 1st, 1957 the BBC ran a short programme about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland, showing spaghetti growing on trees. Many people believed the programme and phoned in to ask how they could grow their own “spaghetti tree”.

Below are the actual words spoken in the video. At the end of the page is EnglishChecker to help you with vocabulary.

It isn’t only in Britain that spring, this year, has taken everyone by surprise. Here in the Ticino, on the borders of Switzerland and Italy, the slopes overlooking Lake Lugano have already burst into flower at least a fortnight earlier than usual.

But what, you may ask, has the early and welcome arrival of bees and blossom to do with food? Well, it’s simply that the past winter, one of the mildest in living memory, has had its effect in other ways as well. Most important of all, it’s resulted in an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop.

The last two weeks of March are an anxious time for the spaghetti farmer. There is always the chance of a late frost which, while not entirely ruining the crop, generally impairs the flavour and makes it difficult for him to obtain top prices in world markets. But now these dangers are over and the spaghetti harvest goes forward.

Spaghetti cultivation here in Switzerland is not, of course, carried out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry. Many of you, I am sure, will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po valley. For the Swiss, however, it tends to be more of a family affair.

Another reason why this may be a bumper year lies in the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil, the tiny creature whose depredations have caused much concern in the past.

After picking, the spaghetti is laid out to dry in the warm Alpine sun. Many people are often puzzled by the fact that spaghetti is produced at such uniform length. But this is the result of many years of patient endeavour by plant breeders who’ve succeeded in producing the perfect spaghetti.

And now, the harvest is marked by a traditional meal. Toasts to the new crop are drunk in these boccalinos, and then the waiters enter bearing the ceremonial dish. And it is, of course, spaghetti—picked earlier in the day, dried in the sun, and so brought fresh from garden to table at the very peak of condition. For those who love this dish, there is nothing like real home-grown spaghetti.

EnglishChecker

  • spring: the first season in the year when plants begin to grow in temperate latitudes
  • slopes: the lower hillsides
  • burst into flower: the flowers have opened
  • blossom: flowers
  • anxious time: worrying time
  • frost: very cold weather, below freezing; ice
  • to ruin: to destroy; to damage very badly
  • to impair: to damage
  • to carry out: to do
  • bumper year: a very good year, with a big crop
  • depredations: attacks
  • endeavour (AmE endeavor): hard and constant effort
Joe | Saturday, March 29th, 2008 | Filed under Curiosities, Listening

73 Responses to “Swiss Spaghetti Harvest Hoax”

  1. Chheang Vannda says:

    It is interesting that people can make spagetti ,spagetti crop is beautiful as flower that grow in spring . I have been eating spagetti and I can make it .

  2. nuage says:

    It is interesting that people can make spagetti.

  3. Jalal says:

    It is an intersting story. It shows how people were so transperence to belive such stories and reports. After all, I wish to have such harvest in my garden.

  4. PhuongThanh says:

    Spagetti is a nice food for many people on the world. When we mention Spagetti everyone always to think about Italy, because it is the special food of this country. It is very interesting when I know about Spagetti harvest from this lesson. I hope that there will have many kind of cereals in the world to be written as this story. We can be widen our knowledge in the future. Thanks a lot.

  5. nawaz says:

    thank for working a beautiful site much more knowledge have this site

  6. swissmade says:

    swissspaghettis is very good story for swisslady

  7. sunflower says:

    actually when i’m watching the video above i don’t think that is just a hoax because it is so real. however, it’s very exciting if we can create a real spaghetti tree, with that we can make the most delicious spaghetti.

  8. MImi says:

    Of course it can’t be possible! Spaghetti can’t grow in a tree.
    The video it’s really good and the the voice too, But of course it can’t be true.

  9. suresh says:

    hiiiiiiiiiii

  10. tuan says:

    I want learn english now

  11. lilia says:

    spagettis can grow in everywhere, and it is delicious.

  12. Cristina says:

    I love this Video, I’ve shared to my family.It’s incredible!

  13. ulrik pedersen says:

    NIce & funny story i like it.

  14. Sok Im Chea says:

    It’s very nice and very useful for me. I exactly like it.

  15. Gary says:

    What a fun way to introduce new vocabulary. Gosh how I love listening to the British Accent. Can’t wait for them to learn how to speak correctly (ha ha).

  16. Greenflower says:

    I like it~~

  17. kashgar says:

    hi is nice article i knew many somme thing in this article

  18. sayed says:

    i think it’s avery intersting folk tale. i still convinced that the British accent is very pure and easy to be understood; Thank you very much

  19. unique says:

    it a very delicious food. Mostly people enjoyed to eat……

  20. James-spicus says:

    Thanks for a piece of information… God bless you!

  21. isaac awuw says:

    I WANT MORE ABOUT LEARN ENGLISH

  22. mizoo says:

    we need more. am egyptian

  23. Rondo says:

    I haven’t eaten those spagettis. But after viewing this video i am fond of it.

  24. nhung says:

    I hope one day I could see the real spaghetti tree..hihihihihi

  25. João (Jonh) says:

    It’s very good to know that people have kept an special effort of helping others to learn this beautiful language. Every piece of information can make a huge difference in improving student’s level.
    Thanks a lot for helping us so effectively.

    Keep doing it.

  26. KEA SHAMIKA says:

    THNX I ENJOYED..LISTENING TO IT..KEEP IT UP..GODBLESS

  27. newcapadocia says:

    selamlar saygılar sevgiler

  28. padal says:

    what a stupid type of thing

  29. Hoang Anh says:

    imagine that story becomes true,what will happen???^^

  30. toan2412 says:

    interestingly!

  31. lam says:

    interesting

  32. samira says:

    very good and also want to learn English

  33. JENNIFER LOVE says:

    can u send me these spagettis.i am in GHANA NOW

  34. sherif says:

    hi I’ll come have laot of english becus I wante stade i usa

  35. sherif says:

    very good and also nice

  36. Gegi says:

    I like to eat the spagetti with cheese. I can make it. But I didn`t eat a real spagetti. Is it impossible or possible? :)
    I learn perfect english. I want to much more…..
    I help me.

  37. chudhry says:

    its an interesting way to learn english.

  38. sathya says:

    Wov!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Wonderful……
    Realy this is a valueble sweet,
    we have to taste it.

  39. Luc Binh says:

    Wow, it’s an interesting film…. Thanks a lot

  40. fareed says:

    salaam its really good thng dear i want to say u looooooooooooots of thanks

  41. gulaam fareed pishkani says:

    wow its 2 much enjoyable dear god bless u thanks

  42. teresita says:

    THANK YOU JOE, YOU ARTICLES ARE ALWAYS VERY INTERESTING, I HASENT’N HEAR ABOUT IT NEVER BEFORE, I KNEW ABOUT THE FOOL DAY ON APRIL 1 , ON MY COUNTRY WE CELEBRATE IT ON NOVENBER 28, THERE IS A LOT OF FUNNY HISTORIES ABOUT IT, THANK AGAIN I’M SO EXITED WITH YOURS LESSONS,

  43. Johan says:

    Guys, what happened to the video?! I need it urgently for tomorrow! ;-)

  44. alfredo says:

    Hi ! i enjoyed the video thanks now i want to learn Italy Culture.byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  45. ali says:

    i cant speak english very well
    i speak a little and lisening is dificalt for me
    i want speak english well
    please help me

  46. ali says:

    i have not website
    when evry body speak fast i dont under stand cerfully
    please help me

  47. ali says:

    i want learn english

  48. Gerry says:

    Can anybody show me the way to make grow spaghetti in a tree ?? Do anybody believe that ?? No way !!! I have done better jokes in this day. Thanks.

  49. arash says:

    hello lila where are you from

  50. arash says:

    hello samira where are you from

  51. dede says:

    what it’s mean ? i’m not understand

  52. dede says:

    hello everybody, my name dede from pacitan eastjava indonesia. i want to be able speaking english well.please help me.
    thanks before.

  53. Zarah says:

    Hi! I like how British people pronounce the words, since they speak it very clearly. I love to learn English more on how to pronounce and reading with comprehension. I like to see some of the exercises for pronunciation and reading with comprehension, and also writing. It would be a great help for English learners. Have a nice day!

  54. saimoe says:

    When I was a child I’m very interest english language but I’m poor english usage.Now I’m learning english language especially British english .They pronounciation is very clear.Come along i will learn to english.
    Good luck and have a nice day

  55. juris says:

    Hi :)) I like this video and I like Spagetti

  56. aud says:

    I really like it thank you so much

  57. Mailee says:

    the spring is very nice with flower. I don’t know the Spagetti, but I’ll enjoy in the future.

  58. lily says:

    thanks to the englishclub ,i have a very good resource to learn english,my english is poor,but i have confidence to learn it well!
    I like the vedio very much , it riches my vocabulary and improves my listening level, i will persiste in the english study through englishclub!

  59. anka says:

    wow… its very interesting film… i liked very much… i hadnot seen such things before. :)

  60. Balloon Boy Story a Hoax says:

    […] more closely. By the end of the weekend the family was being accused of organizing “a hoax“. The Heene family has starred in a previous reality series called “Wife Swap”. […]

  61. roza says:

    interesting video,but help me to speak english well. thankyou.

  62. CUC says:

    hi everybody!

  63. mario says:

    thanks for this site, very informative!

  64. suG says:

    haii

    its very interesting.. i too believed that it was spaghetti even though i didn’t take it till now..

  65. hong chau says:

    Thanks for your interesting story. ON APRIL 1st, BBC ran a short programme about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The program is obviously the most classic April Fool’s Day hoax of all time. It is unbelievable but Many people believed the programme and phoned in to ask how they could grow their own “spaghetti tree”. I think that’s funny, may be because they forgot or didn’t know the date the program run. According to Japanese tradition, on April 1st people usually tell lie together. So don’t believe what others say on that day.

  66. Nenad says:

    J want to learn english, and this site is very good…………

  67. C says:

    The film looks old. It would not be a spaghetti,if it can really grow on trees. I think, it must be something that looks like spaghetti but can be eaten like one. That I have to find out what tree actually can grow something like spaghetti.

  68. melo says:

    it is amazing

  69. mahmoud says:

    now i can say
    that is the nice day
    so it can be
    what you wish to be
    beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  70. Juan Pablo Tibaduiza says:

    I didn´t know that it is possible, I want to try….mmm

  71. hannia says:

    I think this is ridiculous, the growing spaguetti and tree spaguett it is not possible will do this, and this video it is excellent like fiction and recreative, but not give the truth culture italian and spaguetti food.thank

  72. phia says:

    hahaha… i enjoyed listening and watching the story. It feels like real spaghetti bearing tree, though i know it’s a fiction story.

  73. daniel says:

    Did you know that there are trees who produce eggs, it’s the end of the factory farming!

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