The interesting thing about pasta is that it’s truly an international dish, whether it’s made into chow mein, raviolis, ramen, pansit, pierogis and that’s just tipping the ice berg, so I thought it’d be fun to learn more about this very versatile food. I present to you 10 Things to Know About Pasta.
An Oldie, but a Goodie: The Chinese are on record as having eaten pasta as early as 5,000 B.C.
Make Mine a Heart Shape: There are more than 600 pasta shapes produced worldwide.
Pasta Pretender: Gnocchi is almost always listed with pasta dishes on a menu but it’s not really pasta. Gnocchi is made from potatoes or even bread crumbs, unlike pasta which is mainly made from wheat and water. Gnocchi is even cooked differently than pasta.
The Deadly Tomato: Pasta existed for thousands of years before anyone ever thought to put tomato sauce on it. The Spanish explorer Cortez brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in 1519. Even then, almost 200 years passed before spaghetti with tomato sauce made its way into Italian kitchens and that was because tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous.
Italian National Food? According to the National Pasta Association, Americans consume about 20 pounds of pasta per person each year. Italians eat more than 3 times that amount.
April’s Fools Joke: The British Broadcasting Corporation made everyone believe that spaghetti grown on trees in 1957…On April Fools Day!
The Eggs Have It: Egg noodles contain egg; almost all other dry pasta shapes do not. By federal law, a noodle must contain 5.5 percent egg solids to be called a noodle. So without egg, a noodle really isn’t a noodle.
Mind Your Manners: According to Miss Manners (a.k.a. Judith Martin), a fork is the only utensil that may be used to eat spaghetti while anyone is looking.
The Long and Winding Roads: Spaghetti junction is a term used to refer to roads or on/off ramps that are twisted and intertwined, like a plate of spaghetti.
Pasta By Horse and Sunshine: The first American pasta factory was opened in Brooklyn, New York, in 1848, by a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega. Mr. Zerega managed the entire operation with just one horse in his basement to power the machinery. To dry his spaghetti, he placed strands of the pasta on the roof in the sunshine.