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Pasta: The Story Of A Universal Food

Many myths are intertwined with the history of pasta, particularly the idea that Marco Polo brought pasta back from China and introduced it to Europe. That story, concocted in the early twentieth century by the trade magazine "Macaroni Journal," is just one of many fictions umasked here. The true homelands of pasta have been China and Italy. Each gave rise to different but complementary culinary traditions that have spread throughout the world. From China has come pasta made with soft wheat flour, often served in broth with fresh vegetables, finely sliced meat, or chunks of fish or shellfish. "Pastasciutta," the Italian style of pasta, is generally made with durum wheat semolina and presented in thick, tomato-based sauces. The history of these traditions, told here in fascinating detail, is interwoven with the legacies of expanding and contracting empires, the growth of mercantilist guilds and mass industrialization, and the rise of food as an art form.

Pasta: The Story of a Universal Food


As universal as food and language are, they also share a history of being carefully considered and prodded for intricacies. Scientists, culinary pioneers, and critics have considered put no small effort into unlocking the tiniest improvements in flavor, texture, longevity, and appeal.

Pasta: need we say anything more? More than a food, pasta is the symbol of entire culinary traditions all around the world. Although it is often associated with specific cultures, like Italian, pasta is in fact a universal food.

280: the number of pasta shops operating in Naples in 1785. At the start of that century there were barely 60: a veritable food boom that marked the beginning of an unstoppable success story for Italy in the pasta production industry.

Cereals (barley and wild wheat seeds, ancestors of domesticated wheat) were broken, shelled, crushed and sieved. This flour was then mixed with water to form a dough to be cooked on embers or hot stones. Such complexity makes us think of the need to "design" foods that were more nutritious and easier to preserve than those available in nature.It can be said then that in the history of this food is kept more than a simple recipe, the bread is a real synonym of human ingenuity. For man, wheat processing techniques were a way towards evolution and civilization. From the primordial pullets of hand-ground cereal seeds, stone by stone, mixed with water and cooked next to the fire, man has learned to improve his product. In this agricultural, technological and gastronomic process, a fundamental chapter, was written by the two great civilizations of the fertile Crescent, that of the Sumerians, in Mesopotamia, and that of Ancient Egypt.Bread as a sacred object and a metaphor for transformationBread, still called aish today, "life", in Egyptian Arabic and the word ninda, "bread", appears on Sumerian tablets since the first invention of writing, in 3600 BC. Its pictogram is the shape of a round bowl that was used to knead it. In fact, at the time when the Romans fed on a simple porridge of flour and the Greeks on a sheet of pasta cooked over a fire, the Egyptians were able to put swollen and appetizing loaves on the table.They had discovered the "magical" effects of fermentation, what would later be called "natural leavening".

However, despite the end of the pandemic-relief program, about 1,200 Washington schools were able to keep providing free meals for all, after the state in 2022 approved funding for districts to cover the costs of running the universal meal programs in certain schools or groups of schools if more than 40% of families qualify for federal financial or food assistance. 041b061a72


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