Pasta al fresco was served in a New Jersey town last week, much to the chagrin of city workers-turned-busboys who had to clear mounds of macaroni dumped in the woods.
A public works crew picked up 500 pounds of noodles discarded into a wooded area of Old Bridge, on the banks of the Iresick Brook, Mayor Owen Henry told NBC News on Friday.
“No sauce, no gravy, no cheese. It was was just piles of macaroni" and spaghetti, Henry said.
It's believed the pasta was dry and uncooked at the time it was dumped but then turned al dente when rain fell on central New Jersey last week.
About two inches of rain had fallen on the region on April 22-23, and the pasta was picked up on April 28.
Keith Rost, 33, recently moved into the neighborhood and was out for a walk and smoke last week when he came upon the piles of pasta.
Word in the neighborhood, Rost said, is that the dry pasta was dumped by a man as he cleaned out the Hillyard Road home of his late parents, who apparently believed in having a fully stocked pantry.
"I was like, 'What was all of this?!'" Rost said Friday. "I just started reading the alphabet (pasta) to spell my name. I didn't know what to think."
While Mayor Owen laughed about the incident, he took a serious moment to ask locals not to dump their unwanted goods in the woods.
"Old Bridge is very rural, so we do have people who go out and illegally dump so much material in isolated areas, so we're constantly going out there and cleaning up," Henry said.
"I mean it's unfortunate because we can take so much of this stuff in at our recycling centers. There's no reason to dump a mattress in the woods, no reason to throw a refrigerator away. We'll come to get it from your house. Electronics, rugs, padding, concrete, metal, it makes no sense to throw it into the woods."
Even though the pasta dumper could be cited, Henry said police will not actively pursue the case.
"It was illegal dumping but it wasn't anything hazardous. I mean it's pasta — flour, water and eggs?" Henry said. "We're not focused on that. There are bigger, pressing issues the detective bureau needs to be involved in. It's not on the front burner."
And the mayor pointed out this serving of illegal dumping isn't the worst he's seen.
"I'll take pasta any day over tires," he said. "I'll take pasta any day over a mattress."