A few words about pasta
PASTA!!! One of the most popular foods in the world and particularly in Europe. Along with bread, rice and other cereals, it forms the base of the Mediterranean Diet, which is considered one of the healthiest diets in the world.
In Greece the average annual consumption of pasta per capita is approximately 10.4 kilos, with our neighbours the Italians holding the reins as they consume 26 kilos per capita annually, while this is followed by the inhabitants of Venezuela with 13 kilos, the Tunisians with 11.9 and the Swiss with 9.7 kilos (source: European Association of Pasta Industries UN.A.F.P.A. 2011).
Really though, what do we know about its history?
It’s true that the origin of pasta contains many contradictions as well as many mythological elements.
Greek Mythology refers to the fact that Hephaestus, the god of fire, had constructed a tool to make strings of dough (the first spaghetti).
The name ‘macaroni’ possibly comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘macaria’. This referred to the offering that the Ancient Greeks used to place on the tombs of the dead and was made of oil, wine and dried flour products.
Also the Roman ‘laganum’ or the Ancient Greek ‘laganon’ refers to present-day lasagne.
However the most widespread myth about the origin of pasta is that Marco Polo brought it to Italy from far-off China in the late 13th century, a story rejected by the Italians as they believe that pasta originated in Italy. There are also reports that apart from the Chinese, the Etruscans and the Egyptians also invented pasta in the 4th-6th century BC.
Pasta production prospered greatly during the 18th century in Naples, where the spaghetti was hung out over wooden sticks and left to dry in the sun in every corner of the city. It was accompanied by pepper and cheese and eaten with the fingers.
In the late 19th century production became automated with the establishment of the first pasta industries, while the 20th century saw its consumption spread to all countries across the globe.