New Jersey Town Baffled By Mysterious Piles of Pasta

Roughly 500 pounds of cooked noodles were dumped near an Old Bridge stream.

We've probably all made the mistake of measuring out a little too much pasta (if there even is such a thing) at one time or another. But apparently someone messed up big time, as 500 pounds of pasta were found dumped beside a New Jersey stream. The giant piles of cooked elbow macaroni, spaghetti, and ziti stretched for over 25 feet in a wooded area of Old Bridge and, although it has since been cleaned up and carried away, no one is sure how it ended up there in the first place. 

Elbow pasta

N Rotteveel / Getty Images

A concerned (and presumably confused) citizen reached out to political activist and former city council candidate Nina Jochnowitz to alert her about the unwelcome Never-Ending Pasta Bowl. “It looked like someone filled up a wheelbarrow of pasta and dumped it,” she told the Philadelphia Inquirer

Jochnowitz contacted the Old Bridge town administrator and the city’s Department of Public Works, and the pasta was removed from its resting place within two days. If you have a lot of questions about this scenario, you’re not alone. For starters, no one knows who dumped the pasta, when they chucked it streamside, or why. And Jochnowitz says that the pasta was definitely cooked, and hadn’t just gotten drenched in the rain. She also confirmed to that she did not file a police report.

“You might say, ‘Who cares about pasta?’ But pasta has a PH level that will impact the water stream,” she told the Inquirer. “That water stream is important to clean up because it feeds into the town’s water supply [...] It was one of the fastest cleanups I’ve ever seen here.”

The photos of the carb-unloading were posted to the r/NewJersey subreddit, and Redditors were prepared to make a lot of jokes about the situation. “C'mon, this is New Jersey. It grows wild here,” one user wrote, while another added that the “spaghetti was in full bloom.” Perhaps our favorite of the 380-plus comments was “I thought this was one of those AI Midjourney prompts like: ‘Cooked Pasta in a field by a creek in New Jersey.’”

Regardless, Jochnowitz was pleased with the city’s quick response to the situation. “The township heard or read the comments and responded by doing a rapid cleanup [of]  the river basin and pasta dump,” she wrote on Facebook. “As my friend called it a ‘Mission Impastable.’”

UPDATE MAY 5, 2023: This carb-heavy whodunit — and those unforgettable photos — made their way around the internet, but it seems like the mystery has finally been solved. According to NBC New York, the pasta was seemingly discarded by a man who was emptying out his mother's home after her death. "I mean, I really feel like he was just trying to clear out his parents' house and they were probably stocked up from COVID," Keith Rost, a man who lived in the neighborhood, said. "My grandparents always had a cupboard full of cans and pasta, just to be safe." The outlet also said that the pasta was abandoned before it was cooked and that it had indeed just gotten waterlogged after heavy rains last weekend.

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