While researching different tie styles I stumbled upon a fact that now makes one of my childhood ditties make so much more sense!
"Yankee Doodle went to town a riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni!"
All this time I was envisioning the feather in his cap turning into a macaroni noodle... but what it actually means is this: A macaroni was a member of a group of young Englishmen who returned from Europe and brought with them new ideas about fashion from Italy.
Now pasta isn't completely out of the story - the macaronis did get their name from the noodle that was popular in Italy, but very new to the English at that time.
In mid-18th century these gentlemen were thought of as outlandish, effeminate and to be exceeding the boundaries of fashion, they were actually a precursor to the English Dandy, who took back men's fashion with more masculinity than the Macaroni.
These gents were responsible for bringing back the cravat in the late 18th century, which lead to our modern necktie.
Full lyrics to Yankee Doodle
"Kids Version Yankee Doodle"
- Yankee Doodle went to town
- A-riding on a pony,
- Stuck a feather in his cap
- And called it macaroni'.
- Yankee Doodle keep it up,
- Yankee Doodle dandy,
- Mind the music and the step,
- And with the girls be handy.
- Father and I went down to camp,
- Along with Captain Gooding,
- And there we saw the men and boys
- As thick as hasty pudding.
- There was Captain Washington,
- Upon a slapping stallion,
- Giving orders to his men-
- I guess there were a million.