Italian Pride: Portions of Pasta’s Past


zesterdailySince most all of my recipes will be centered around Italy this week, today, I would like to share a bit about pasta; its origin, uses and soon some of my fondest childhood memories surrounding them.

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Italian Immigrant Children Selling Drying Pasta 

“Nothing says Italy like its food, and nothing says Italian food like pasta. Wherever Italians immigrated they brought their pasta along, so much so today it can be considered a staple of international cuisine.

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Photo of Aberto Sordi…Scene from the film “Un Americano a Roma”

Unlike other ubiquitous Italian products like pizza and tomato sauce, which have a fairly recent history, pasta may have a much older lineage, going back hundreds -if not thousands- of years. Unraveling the long and often complex history of this dish we have to look at its origins and some of the myths surrounding it.

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“Marco Polo Voyage”photo source: ask.com

It has been said that the Venetian merchant Marco Polo brought back pasta from his journeys to China. Some may have also been told that Polo’s was not a discovery, but rather a rediscovery of product once popular in Italy among the Etruscans and the Romans. Marco Polo might have done amazing things on his journeys, but bringing pasta to Italy was not one of them: noodles were already there in Polo’s time.

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“Taverna Montisi” Tomb of the Leopard

There is undeniable evidence of an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from the same durum wheat used to produce modern pasta: it was called “lagane” (origin of the modern word for lasagna). However this type of food, first mentioned in the 1st century AD, was not boiled, as it is usually done today, but oven baked. Ancient lagane had some similarities with modern pasta, but cannot be considered quite the same. The country will have to wait a few centuries for its most popular dish to make a further culinary leap forward.”

In my next historical post about pasta, we will delve further into the mysteries surrounding one of our most beloved Italian staple dishes. With some wonderful recipes embedded in between!

Story adapted from Justin Demetri’s “History of Pasta”

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. HI Lana-We are in Rome currently an having a great time with the locals (Mother is Italian), the food is out of this world…Cheryl xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH Cheryl!! How wonderful!! I can feel the vibes in your message! Mangia e Buon Appetito!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Osyth says:

    Fascinating. Really fascinating. I’m looking forward to learning more about le pate as it is confusingly called in France 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Osyth!! The French have cornered the market on cuisine, in my opinion 🙂 Why is it that we don’t hear of French pasta? I can smell some research burning 🙂 ♥ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Osyth says:

        We do eat pasta and it is loved along with pizza across France but is definitely thought of as a foreign and not something you would give to your belle mere to be when trying to impress on her that her son will survive after marriage in your care!! I’ll be fascinated to find what you uncover and will see what I can turn up when I’m home for a little while in the summer! X

        Like

  3. So interesting Lana ! Love it ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lynne! Pasta is a passion of mine 😉 ♥ xoxo

      Like

  4. Anita Kushwaha says:

    Wow, this is interesting! And it’s made me very hungry, ha ha. I’m off to whip up some pasta for dinner now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Anita!! One of the things I enjoy most about pasta is that we can whip up a tasty batch in no time flat!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anita Kushwaha says:

        I agree! Last night it was a godsend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. koolaidmoms says:

    Love your posts about the history of food. We talk about it at the dinner table!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Marci! This means SO much to me! Sharing imparts knowledge! xoxo!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great history! I just love that lead photo you posted with this, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! I know, right?? He has an entire bowl of pasta on his fork!! lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Frances 🌺 says:

    Can’t wait for the next instalment!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Frances! I may have to turn this into Pasta month! lol! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Frances 🌺 says:

        Sounds good to me 🍝

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Very interesting post! My daughter loves Italian so really looking forward to your Italian posts. Great pictures too.

    Like

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