We Can't Work Out Why There's 500 Pounds Of Cooked Pasta In The New Jersey Wild

It sounds like the beginning of a classic children's story or a twisted Sopranos episode: several hundred pounds of cooked pasta was recently found along a creek in Old Bridge, NJ — and nobody knows why. Located in the suburbs of New York City, in Middlesex County, the township has a population of slightly over 60,000 people — none of whom have confessed to the crime. 

The strangeness of the discovery, and lack of obvious responsible party has provided social media with a field day. Photographs and news about the pasta dump have gone viral. Across platforms, speculation abounds, and accusations fly. One of Reddit's best-loved responses took a hard line, vehemently asserting, "We should send the perpetrators to the state penne tentiary." Another saw more questions than answers in the news, and pleaded with New Jersey nonnas to help them understand, "Italian grandmas: why would someone dump four servings of pasta in the woods like that?" 

For residents, it's no laughing matter, as another poster ably acknowledged, writing, "Oh please, this isn't something to make light of. The food waste alone is pastatively gross. Cleaning this up will cost the town a pretty penni. I don't know what the criminals were on, they had to be totally sauced to do something like this. But I hope we spaghet justice." 

While it's impossible to unsee the humor in all of this, it's not (just) a laughing matter for residents of the area, some of whom were shocked by the amount of news coverage given to this local incident.

An impastable crime

Others even thought it was a joke — until they realized the joke was literally on their shores.  Cleaning up waste in the area has been an ongoing concern according to local politician Nina Jochnowitz.  But despite the quantity of pasta, township spokesman Himanshu Shah noted that it took public workers less than an hour to dispose of it, and praised their efforts. 

Jochnowitz also admired the speedy cleanup, but noted the genuine reasons for concern, "You might say, 'Who cares about pasta?' But pasta has a PH level that will impact the water stream...That water stream is important to clean up because it feeds into the town's water supply." 

It is worth noting that no dead bodies were found underneath the pasta dump, as had been conjectured by some on social media threads. While photos of the pasta appear to be largely spaghetti, there was macaroni mixed in there as well. And while the pasta mess itself has been removed, many mysteries remain, like whether the pasta had been cooked before dumping or whether it was the moisture and rain that "cooked" it. And why, oh why, would anyone allow any pasta to get so far pasta the al dente point? That is a crime that cries out to Italian heaven for justice.

Philadelphia resident Ali Alocco explained her interest in sharing the story, saying  "This is the most New Jersey thing ever. I need to tell the masses about this."