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This article is about the food product. For other uses, see Tenderoni (disambiguation).
1950's advertising for Tenderoni®

Tenderoni is an easily made stove-top macaroni product. It is trademark-protected, created, and produced by the Stokely Van Camp Foods Company. Since the product's withdrawal from the United States market, the name has evolved into an urban slang term for one's younger male or female love interest, or someone too young to talk to or become involved with.

The term Tenderoni was originally coined and trademarked in the 1930s by the Stokley Van Camp Food Company. The new pasta was denoted entry into the pasta market as "Van Camp's Tenderoni." The Tenderoni product is a narrow, thin-walled, hollow piece of Macaroni, similar to elbow macaroni, but without the "elbow's" curve. The product was named Tenderoni, because it cooked quickly, was "tender" enough without being starchy, and was considered a macaroni product. Tenderoni was particularly popular in post-war America during the 1940s and 1950s because the product was made from fortified wheat flour. Children also enjoyed it. In addition, it was inexpensive to make and sell.

It remained in production through the 1970s until it was withdrawn from the market in 1981.

The current trademark rights have been owned since 2004 by 200 Kelsey Associates, LLC of New Rochelle, New York.

Slang Term[edit]

Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, which defines, tenderoni as, "a sweet young girl", dates the word to the 1980s, attributing it to black teenagers in the United States.[1] The word gained renewed attention when Bobby Brown used it in his successful 1988 hit, "Roni" to describe a young beautiful girl.[citation needed]

The word is also commonly used to describe young women, without the connotation of them being too young, as an alternate word for jailbait.[citation needed] This definition of the word is common in popular music.[citation needed] In the 1970s the word, tenderoni was commonly used to identify a younger male or female that an older individual was interested in talking to, dating, or a younger person one needed to stay away from because of their age.[citation needed] It was not uncommon[citation needed] to hear someone say, "I have a tenderoni in my life", "that's my tenderoni" or, "Don't talk to him/her because he/she is a tenderoni."[citation needed]

Appearances of tenderoni in popular culture[edit]

In popular music:

"...Tenderoni you've got to be
Spark my nature, sugar fly with me..."
"She's fine; that girl's a Tenderoni"

"if you had a Tenderoni, you would never give her up!"

"No I'm not a phony, and I got a Tenderoni,
I love the way she is - not too fat, not too bony"

"I am going to show you that I am not phony, cause I like you baby, you're my tenderoni"

"...Bitch ass niggaz step aside
Tenderoni rappers, means your homicide..."
"...And just like a roni
You were too shy..."
  • T-Pain, "I'm Sprung", "I'm Sprung 2" Ft. Trick Daddy
  • Lost Boyz, "Renee" (1995)
"...She came back with stretch pants and a ponytail, a
t-shirt. Ayo fam I got a Tenderroni girl..."
"...Said I know that you don't know me
But this might be my only shot at a Tenderoni..."
"...Said you would never leave me lonely, fly Tendoroni but you're phony..."
"...My man's been cheatin' on me
Been runnin' round here wit' this little Tenderoni ..."
"...Y'all Niggaz is played like pimp sessions with
  • J-Live, "Like This Anna" (2002)
"...A lot of snakes wanna get up in your Tenderoni..."
"Sweet Tenderoni" is a recurring lyric and "she's my sweet Tenderoni" features in the chorus.
"...No side homies, no tenderonies..."
"...cause you're my tenderoni."
  • Jaheim, "What you think of that" (2008)
"...my Tenderoni only"
"...it's been a moment, and you're lookin' like a Tenderoni."
"...My hearts belongs to my Tenderoni"
  • Akon, "Yali Nassini ft. Melissa" (2009)
"...You can be under my arm as my lil tenderoni"
"...I wanna make her my only, my Tenderoni yeah"
"...Well I can be your hubby, oh your only Tenderoni..."
  • Kanye West, "The Cleveland Show Rap Battle Feat. Kanye West " (2010)
"...leave my girl alone and get your own Tenderoni, who are we kidding, you're used to being lonely"
"...to be my Tenderoni"

In television:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Green, Jonathon (2005). Cassell's dictionary of slang. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 1423. ISBN 0-304-36636-6. 
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music: Farian, Frank to Mezza, Don. Guinness. p. 1114. ISBN 1-882267-02-8. 

External links[edit]