Today, pasta is one of the world’s most accessible foods. Almost every country in the world has its unique version of this popular and affordable delicacy. For instance, in Germany, they have spaetzle while in the U.S and Canada, pasta is prepared and served similar to the way it is found in Italy. In fact, most people who enjoy the meal at an Italian pasta restaurant tend to think that pasta is Italian cuisine but the truth is, pasta didn’t originate from Italy. The food has an ancient history that makes it almost impossible to know where it came from. Several theories have been put forward trying to explain its origin.
History of Pasta
Although it is difficult to trace the origin of pasta, its early history doesn’t begin with the Italians but rather with Chinese people who lived in the Shang Dynasty between 1700 and 1100 BC. This dynasty was known to produce noodles that were made with either rice or wheat flour. It was also a prominent part of the ancient Greek civilization in the first millennium. However, the story of pasts shifted to Italy around the fourth century BC, and there is even evidence for the presence of pasta in the ancient Etruscan culture which mainly flourished in Umbria, Tuscany, and Lazio.
In fact, the word pasta translates to paste in Italian in reference to the dough that is made from a combination of water, eggs, and wheat flour. All these simple components have been in existence for several centuries. A safe box that was unearthed from a tomb in Etruscan contained a wide range of kitchen utensils and tools that were used to form and roll pasta and the most exciting thing about these tools is that they are similar to those that are used today.
This discovery was a significant blow to one legend of Marco Polo who claims that it was him who introduced the people of Europe to this delicacy after his massive adventure in Asia and the Far East. Although he may have bought a few noodles with him, this wasn’t the first time the Italians were seeing such food.
It is also good to mention the fact that the development and advancement of pasta as an established culinary art in Italy took off during the Renaissance and before the start of the 14th century; it was a favorite dish in Florence and larger parts of Rome. The first literature material about pasta was written in 1474 by a humanist known as Platina.
Pasta established itself as a significant part of the Italian cuisine in the 19th century when it became available in dried forms and started being sold in shops. It was also during this time that we had a large group of immigrants relocating from Italy to North America, and that is how pasta found its way into the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries in the continent.