April Fools! Early concept for SpaghettiOs found at Carroll

Author: Carroll University

Published Date: 4/1/2018

Categories: Alumni Social

SpaghettiOs Creator Carroll Class of 1949 Graduate

Sketch showing early concept found during Rankin Hall renovations

Early Concept Sketch of SpaghettiOs — April Fools!

April Fools! Thanks for playing along, everyone! 

On the afternoon of Thursday, March 29, workers at the Rankin Hall renovation site discovered a tasty surprise—a possible early concept and recipe for SpaghettiOs by their creator, Carroll alumnus Donald Goerke.

The fantastic discovery of the documents was made during the recent demolition of walls for structural modifications to Rankin Hall classrooms. At first, the crumpled papers in an unmarked folder were assumed to be nothing out of the ordinary, but upon closer inspection, the crew determined they had found what appears to be preliminary concepts for the family-favorite, round pasta in a can.

Sketches on the documents revealed several of Goerke's ideas for pasta shapes including squares, pentagons and more. It seems as though the thought process for the round noodles was in development, but not quite reached by Goerke at the point these notes were created. Scrawls of phrases like, "It's messy!" were deciphered near drawings of heaping plates of the traditional, cord-shaped spaghetti noodles. A preliminary sauce recipe was also included on within the conceptualization notes. The artifacts were shared with the Carroll University administrative team and are being transferred to the extensive university archives collection.

Donald Goerke yearbook photo
It has always been assumed that Goerke, a class of 1949 alumnus, began dreaming up his concept for the circular-shaped, easy to eat pasta during his years at Carroll as a mathematics major. While he was listening to Carroll professors lecture on subjects from history to biology, his thoughts no doubt must have drifted to solving the nagging issue of how to make spaghetti noodles less messy for the world to enjoy.

After his graduation, Goerke began his career as a business executive and food developer, leading him to a 35-year career at the Campbell Soup Company. Ten years into his career with their Franco-American division, he invented SpaghettiOs, thereafter known as "The Daddy-O of SpaghettiOs."

While initially the discovery was only shared with a few members of the Carroll University faculty and staff, one individual has become very passionate about honoring the creation of the idea on campus publicly. "I feel very strongly that the birth of this idea needs to be celebrated here at Carroll," the individual shared, under condition of anonymity. "A petition to rename Rankin Hall to the 'SpaghettiOs Center for Innovation and Excellence' is being drafted immediately and will be circulated to campus in the coming weeks."

Pioneering ideas can strike at any moment, especially when individuals are surrounded by creative environments. University officials are excited to see what creations and solutions today's Pioneers will discover during their studies at Carroll. Learn more about the more than 95 areas of study offered at Carroll University.

Sauce Recipe

Take a stab at making the initial concept for SpaghettiOs at home with the recipe below. Goerke's notes state that the dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare and makes 3–4 servings.

  • Ingredients:
    • 15 oz. tomato sauce
    • 2 tbsp. milk
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • 3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
    • 2 tbsp. sugar
    • 1 c. cooked pasta
  • Process:
    • ​​​In a small saucepan, stir together all ingredients except the pasta.
    • Bring to a boil, then lower and cook on low until the butter spread melts completely.
    • Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until desired texture is reached.
    • Drain pasta.
    • Pour the pasta into the sauce and stir to combine.
    • Serve.

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