Meatball Song

Text: On top of spaghetti, 

All covered with cheese,

I lost my poor meatball, 

When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,

And on to the floor,

And then my poor meatball,

Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,

And under a bush,

And then my poor meatball,

Was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty

As tasty could be,

And then the next summer, 

It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered,

All covered with moss,

And on it grew meatballs,

And tomato sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,

All covered with cheese,

Hold on to your meatball,

Whenever you sneeze.

Context: The informant is from Del Mar, CA and first heard this song when she was “deep in her childhood…like 7 or 8”.  She doesn’t remember who she learned it from, but thinks it was somewhere on TV or “some sort of kid show”. She would sing the song when she ate spaghetti as a joke with her younger sister. She believes the song is just a fun kid song. 

Analysis: I believe that this legend about a meatball is meant to teach the children about health and wellness. More specifically, about covering your sneezes because if you don’t you could lose something (perhaps your good health). Additionally, the song may be commenting on protecting your valuables, taking good care of them, and not letting others take them away from you or mess them up somehow. It teaches children to value what they have before it is gone.