The Macaroni Mystery: Who Dumped 500 Pounds of Pasta in Old Bridge, New Jersey?

by Piya Sengupta1 year ago
Picture The Macaroni Mystery: Who Dumped 500 Pounds of Pasta in Old Bridge, New Jersey?

Everyone says there is always room for a little pasta! That makes me wonder why someone would dump hundreds of pounds of pasta along a creek in New Jersey. This “Macaroni Mystery” occurred around the last week of April 2023, when a resident discovered heaps of pasta abandoned in the wooded part of a small town called Old Bridge in New Jersey.

Let us find out if the mystery got solved!

Residents were puzzled by heaps of pasta dumped in the woods.

Pasta Dump
Cooked pasta dumped in the woods. Image Credit: Nina Jochnowitz for Old Bridge/Facebook

The gigantic pile of pasta was dumped by the side of a stream at a site already notorious for trash dumping. When Nina Jochnowitz, who ran for city council a few years back, got a call, she sprang into action. She visited the site to find this bizarre pile of discarded pasta, estimated to be around 500 pounds, illegally dumped! Macaroni, elbow, spaghetti, ziti, etc., all forsaken on the vegetation – a monstrosity, sticking out like a sore thumb.

Cooked pasta
Cooked pasta dump mystery. Image Credit: Nina Jochnowitz for Old Bridge/Facebook

When she posted the images on Facebook, the macaroni mystery lit up social media, sparking a fair number of funny puns, but it also highlighted a more severe issue underneath. The town already has a trash-pick-up crisis, something that Nina addressed during her unsuccessful campaign. The pasta could also pollute the stream water if left there. People allegedly dump a lot of construction materials, bed frames, furniture, etc., in that area. That site is glaring evidence of the lack of bulk-trash service in Old Bridge, according to Jochnowitz. After the photos were shared on social media, the Public Works department of the town cleaned up the mess right away. Jochnowitz herself called it “Mission Impastible.”


Old Bridge residents have solved the “Macaroni Mystery.”

Macaroni Mystry
Macaroni Mystery. Image Credit: Nina Jochnowitz for Old Bridge/Facebook

This crazy story gave birth to funny puns on social media, like whoever dumped the pasta will be sent to “penne-tentiary.” Or the lead suspects are “Al Dente” and his partner in crime, “Lin Guini.”

But after the theories, fun-puns, and speculations on the macaroni mystery, we finally have some answers. It turns out that a military veteran was clearing out his mother’s house nearby after her death. He probably discarded all the expired, stocked pasta from his mother’s pantry in the woods.


It was first thought that the discarded pasta was cooked.  But it turns out that when the pasta was dumped, it was dry and raw. It rained that weekend, which swelled up the raw pounds of pasta, making it look like they had been cooked and then thrown away.

The “Macaroni Mystery” has been solved. Case closed!

There have been other bizarre incidents involving food throughout history, and a lot of them were odd and destructive, and not all of them were tasty.

 1 The Great Canadian Maple Heist of 2011-2012

Maple syrup reserve
A maple syrup reserve in Canada. Image Credit:

What can be more Canadian than stealing sweet maple syrup? From 2011 to 2012, around 3,000 tons of maple syrup, valued at 18.7 million Canadian dollars, were stolen from a storage facility operated by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP).

But how did they steal such huge quantities for an entire year without getting caught? Before diving into this sticky story, here is a little backstory for our readers. Most maple syrup producers in Canada are not happy with the federation, which has controlled the country’s maple syrup marketing since 1966. It enforces strict rules on all producers, registering every barrel of syrup. Many have rebelled against the federation before.


But the greatest act of defiance was the Great Maple Syrup Heist of 2011-2012. In 2012, during a counting inspection, a federation employee lost his balance and nearly fell as one barrel, which usually weighs around 600 pounds when full of maple syrup, was, in fact, empty. Eventually, a large number of empty barrels, as well as many water-filled barrels, were discovered. The theft was exposed. Surprisingly, the reserve had no security cameras and, therefore, no evidence.

Richard Vallières was convicted as the ring leader of the crime, along with 15 more co-conspirators. According to them, it should not be considered theft because QMSP was unfair to the producers.

But how did they do it? They entered the reserve and stole the syrup by getting hold of an authorized access card. They transferred the syrup from marked barrels into unmarked ones. Then, they filled the original barrels with water and returned them to the warehouse. After a while, they got lazy and started returning empty barrels, leading to the discovery of the theft a year later.

The Great Canadian Maple Heist remains the most valuable heist in the history of Canada.


2 “Ghost Apples” in Michigan turned an apple orchard into a spooky Halloween set.

Ghost apple
Ghost apple mystery. Image Credit: Andrew Sietsema/Facebook

The icy “ghost” apples of Michigan may have been the most amazing yet spookiest creations brought about by the North American Cold Wave of 2019. Andrew Sietsema spotted these icy “ghost” apples hanging off a tree while pruning apple trees in an orchard he manages in western Michigan. There was freezing rain in the preceding days, which coated the apples with ice.

According to Susan Brown, a professor of Agriculture and Life Science at Cornell University, the flesh of the apples that did not get picked during the harvest season remains on trees, slowly decaying into an applesauce-like consistency. These apples became like water-filled balloons, held together by the skin. The freezing rain and the constant subzero temperatures covered the fruits entirely with ice. The rotten mush eventually seeped out of the ice sphere, leaving behind the icy skeleton of forgotten apples!

Ghost apples mystery
Ghost apple mystery. Image Credit: Andrew Sietsema/Facebook

Sietsema, who shared the pictures of the “ghost” apples on social media, said that these apples are of the Jonagold Variety and nicknamed them “Jonaghosts.” According to him, the ice around the apple was around ½ inch thick, making these transparent apples look like Christmas tree bulbs – or a scene from the enchanted forest.

3 The deadly Molasses Flood of Boston, 1919

Molasses flood
The Great Molasses Flood, Boston, 1919. Image Credit: +

On January 15, 1919, a huge storage tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst at the Purity Distilling Company facility at 529 Commercial Street near Keany Square in Boston. Molasses waves rushed through the streets at  35 miles per hour, a strange, terrifying sight for all who witnessed it. This bizarre disaster killed 21 unsuspecting people, injured 150, and killed a few horses and dogs as well. Witnesses heard a roar and felt the ground shake as the tank burst, shooting out rivets like machine guns.


It was an unbelievable sight.  Waist-deep molasses, 40% denser than water, covered the streets like a sweet-smelling secret weapon released by a supervillain from a Marvel comic book. The more they struggled, the messier it got until their lives became a sticky mass, with many glazed beyond recognition.

The accident possibly occurred because of thermal expansion as well as structural defects in the tank. Before the disaster, it was colder than usual in Boston. As temperatures rose by a few degrees, the fresh shipment of molasses arrived, getting ready to get transferred to the storage tank. Due to the temperature differences between the older molasses that was colder, the fresh batch of molasses was warmed up to reduce its thickness and ease the transfer. This caused it to expand in volume inside the tank.

The Boston Molasses Flood created a 40-foot-high wave, bent the elevated railroad tracks, crumpled buildings, and destroyed the neighborhood. To clean up the mess, crews used salt water to wash the molasses and used sand to absorb it. The entire harbor was brown until summer.

According to the local folklore, the area still smells of molasses on hot summer days.

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Picture The Macaroni Mystery: Who Dumped 500 Pounds of Pasta in Old Bridge, New Jersey?
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