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Why Yankee Doodle called it "macaroni"

Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

The above video answers the question of any elementary schooler: Why did Yankee Doodle Dandy call his feather macaroni?

Most of us sing "Yankee Doodle" with a focus on the tune rather than the seemingly gibberish words:

Yankee Doodle went to town

A-riding on a pony,

Stuck a feather in his cap

And called it macaroni.

To a kid, the "macaroni" at the end makes it sound like Yankee Doodle was an ignoramus who didn't know what mac and cheese was. But a kid doesn't know a couple of key things about the song, like:

  1. The whole thing was written to insult Americans.
  2. The real meaning of macaroni is a multilayered insult for the ages.

For more information about Yankee Doodle and macaronis, this article provides some context. You can get more videos like these by subscribing to the Vox YouTube channel.

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