By Eliza Berman
June 11, 2015

Spaghetti-eating protocols have long been debated at the dinner table. Must one cut the pasta with a knife? Is it best to use a spoon to aid the noodle-winding process? And is slurping ever acceptable? In 1942, LIFE attempted to clear up the matter for its readers by providing an illustrated, step-by-step how-to guide.

The first step, LIFE wrote, is to use one’s fork to separate a very specific four strands from the heap of pasta on one’s plate. Next, the spoon should be wielded to achieve a controlled twirl of said strands around one’s fork. Once twirled, the forkful should be eaten (a “ladylike” amount, LIFE instructed) in its entirety (“nibbling is out”). The final word on slurping? Acceptable, more or less: “Truant strands require patience, lip facility, suck power.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

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