Legend has it that pasta was introduced to the Italian public by Marco Polo who in turn is believed to have picked it up on his many travels. However, history shows us that pasta had already been popularized around his time. Pasta’s history dates back to a time long before Marco Polo. In fact, it’s believed to have been a popular Italian dish right from the eighth century onwards. It was around this time that Arab’s invasion greatly influenced food in Italy. It is believed that the pasta was born due to the combination of Arabic and Italian foods.
Wheat, a commonly available ingredient in Italy was used in making pasta and therefore it quickly became popular among the general public. By the 1300’s pasta had spread all over Italy. Due to its high nutrition content and long shelf life, it was highly favored by the people. It was also used in long ship voyages due to the same reasons. As a result it spread very quickly to the world becoming the first of the Italy’s foods to be popularized world over. By then, the recipe had been greatly improved upon and different shapes and sizes were introduced. Different techniques to make pasta with more efficiency and at a faster rate had been developed thereby making it an important part of every Italian’s life.
The next and a very important change in pasta came in 1839. By then the tomato had been discovered in America and the rest of the world was still trying to catch up on this incredible fruit. However many Europeans believed it to be poisonous and generally avoided it. It took a while for the people to accept the tomato but when they did, it became an important part of pasta’s recipe. Today the tomato sauce is essential in making pasta and one without the other is unheard of.
The large quantity in which pasta is sold is proof enough of how it has become an important part of Italy’s diet. The amount of pasta consumed by the Italians is almost three times as that of the Americans. An average Italian consumes about sixty pounds of pasta every year. It is due to this reason that Italian food itself is identified with pasta. In fact, Italians consume so much pasta that Italy is forced to import a large quantity of wheat to meet the demand. Although pasta is mass produced, most of the good quality pasta is used up in Italy itself. As a result, the pasta used in American Italian food is of inferior quality. Most Italians cook pasta in the same way it has been for years using the recipes that have been passed down from mother to daughter and father to son. In order to have the best pasta experience, one must travel to Italy and savor the pasta, true Italian style.
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