Tenderoni is a trademark protected product name for an easily made stove top macaroni product 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 was originally coined and trademarked in the 1930s by the Stokley Van Camp Food Company to denote its entry into the pasta market as "Van Camp's Tenderoni". The 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" 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 and children enjoyed it. Furthermore it cooked quickly and was inexpensive to make or sell.
It remained in production through the 1970s until it was withdrawn from the market in the early 1980s.
The current trademark rights have been owned since 2004 by 200 Kelsey Associates, LLC of New Rochelle, New York.
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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. The word gained renewed attention when Bobby Brown used it in his successful 1988 hit "Roni" to describe a young beautiful girl.
The word is also commonly used to describe young women, without the connotation of them being too young, as an alternate word for jailbait. This definition of the word is common in popular music. 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. It was not uncommon 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."
Appearances of tenderoni in popular culture
In popular music:
- "...Tenderoni you've got to be
- Spark my nature, sugar fly with me..."
- O'Bryan, "Tenderoni" (1986)
- Bobby Brown, "Roni" (1988)
"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"
- Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch, "Make me say Ooh!" (1991)
"I am going to show you that I am not phony, cause I like you baby, you're my tenderoni"
- Vanilla Ice, "Havin' A Roni" (1991)
- Tim Dog, "I Get Wrecked" (1993)
- "...Bitch ass niggaz step aside
- Tenderoni rappers, means your homicide..."
- "...And just like a roni
- You were too shy..."
- "...She came back with stretch pants and a ponytail, a
- t-shirt. Ayo fam I got a tenderroni girl..."
- KP & Envyi, "Swing My Way" (1997)
- "...Said I know that you don't know me
- But this might be my only shot at a tenderoni..."
- Method Man, "Break Ups 2 Make Ups" (1998)
- "...Said you would never leave me lonely, fly tendoroni but you're phony..."
- Destiny's Child, "Hey Ladies" (1999)
- "...My man's been cheatin' on me
- Been runnin' round here wit' this little tenderoni ..."
- Quasimoto, "Real Eyes" (2000)
- "...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..."
- Wayne Wonder, "Nobody But Me" (2003)
- "Sweet Tenderoni" is a recurring lyric and "she's my sweet tenderoni" features in the chorus.
- Latoya London, "Non A What'cha Do" (2005)
- "...No side homies, no tenderonies..."
- Chromeo, "Tenderoni" (2007)
- "...cause you're my tenderoni."
- Jaheim, "What you think of that" (2008)
- "...my tenderoni only"
- Little Brother, "Too Late for Us"
- "...it's been a moment, and you're lookin' like a tenderoni."
- MC Magic, "Tenderoni" (2009)
- "...My hearts belongs to my tenderoni"
- Akon, "Yali Nassini ft. Melissa" (2009)
- "...You can be under my arm as my lil tenderoni"
- Pleasure P, "Tenderoni" (2009)
- "...I wanna make her my only, my tenderoni yeah"
- Red Hot Flames, "Tenderoni" (2009)
- Lil Wayne, "Da Da Da" (2009)
- "...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"
- Killa Karisma, "#ackin off to Yo FB Pics " (2012)
- "...to be my tenderoni"
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