So that's what "Yankee Doodle" is about:
Might as well stick a feather in your cap and call it macaroni.
Never understood that as a kid, but I accepted it. Yankee Doodle was silly, so he thought his feather was cheese-drenched pasta. Of course, it meant something different; the Macaronis were fashionable young men who’d been to Italy and picked up Continental Affectations; famous dandies given to peering with exaggerated longeur through glasses mounted on a stick, they were regarded as amusing fops by real men. So when Mr. Doodle thought a feather made him a member of the Macaroni Society, it just showed what a provincial hick he was. I loved learning that. It made the past seem so much more real in a brief and vivid way – until then, perhaps, I didn’t think they had slang.