Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pasta, pansit and those long string stuffs we like to eat.

For the different pasta shapes, go to:

  1. The word pasta comes from the Italian word for paste, meaning a combination of flour and water.
  2. The term pasta has always been used on Italian restaurant menus to include all the various pasta offerings.
  3. The Pope set quality standards for pasta in the 13th century.
  4. There are more than 600 pasta shapes world wide.
  5. On record, the Chinese have eaten pasta as early as 5 000 B.C.
  6. Tripolini ("little bows") were named to honour the Italian conquest of Tripoli in Libya.
  7. According to legend, noodles were first made by German bakers in the 13th century. They molded dough into symbolic shapes, such as stars, swords and birds, which they then baked and served as bread.
  8. Top quality pasta is made from durum wheat.
  9. According to the North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service, about 73 % of the durum wheat grown in the United States is actually grown in North Dakota. American grown durum wheat is considered among the best in the world.
  10. All pasta is made by essentially the same equipment using the same technology. Also, independent taste tests conducted by Consumer reports U.S. pasta was found superior to Italian imports.
  11. According to Harry Balzer (NPD Group, Chicago), consumers enjoy pasta for dinner more than 40 times a year – approximately once a week.
  12. According to a Wall Street Journal article, pasta is actor Leonardo diCaprio’s favourite.
  13. Pasta existed for thousands of years before anybody ever thought of putting tomato sauce on it.
  14. Cortez, a Spanish explorer, brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in 1519.
  15. Even then, nearly 200 years passed before spaghetti served with tomatoe sauce made its way into Italian kitchens.
  16. Speaking of spaghetti … and meatballs: the Italians only ate meat a few times a month. So, when they came to America, where meat was plentiful, they incorporated meat into their cooking more often, making meatballs an American invention.
  17. According to Miss Manners (a.k.a. Judith Martin), a fork is the only utensil that may be used to eat spaghetti while anyone is looking.
  18. Contrary to popular belief, Marco Polo did not discover pasta. The ancient Italians made pasta much like we do today. Although Marco Polo wrote about eating Chinese pasta at the court of Kubla Khan, he probably didn't introduce pasta to Italy. In fact, there's evidence suggesting the Etruscans made pasta as early as 400 B.C. The evidence lies in a bas-relief carving in a cave about 30 miles north of Rome. The carving depicts instruments for making pasta - a rolling-out table, pastry wheel and flour bin. And further proof that Marco Polo didn't "discover" pasta is found in the will of Ponzio Baestone, a Genoan soldier who requested "bariscella peina de macarone" - a small basket of macaroni. His will is dated 1279, 16 years before Marco Polo returned from China.
  19. Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing macaroni to the United States. It seems that he fell in love with a certain dish he sampled in Naples while serving as the U.S. Ambassador to France. In fact, he promptly ordered crates of "maccaroni," along with a pasta-making machine, sent back to the States.
  20. During the '80s, macaroni, which was traditionally considered a "blue-collar" down-home meal, was transformed into the more upscale "pasta." As more and more people began to have fun with it and romanticize it throughout the '60s and '70s, its image began to change along with its name.
  21. The first American pasta factory was opened in Brooklyn, New York, in 1848, by a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega. Mr. Zerega managed the entire operation with just one horse in his basement to power the machinery. To dry his spaghetti, he placed strands of the pasta on the roof to dry in the sunshine.
  22. One billion pounds of pasta is about 212,595 miles of 16-ounce packages of spaghetti stacked end-to-end -- enough to circle the earth's equator nearly nine times.
  23. To cook one billion pounds of pasta, you would need 2,021,452,000 gallons of water - enough to fill nearly 75,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
  24. Cooked al dente (al-DEN-tay) literally means "to the tooth," which is how to test pasta to see if it is properly cooked. The pasta should be a bit firm, offering some resistance to the tooth, but tender.
  25. There are more than 500 different pasta shapes. Translating their names into English does not exactly make them sound appetizing: worms, spindles, hats, butterflies, twins, tubes, thimbles, little boys, little ears, quill pens, strings, ribbons etc.
  26. One cup cooked spaghetti provides about 200 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of total fat, no cholesterol and only one gram of sodium when cooked without salt.
  27. The history of noodles can first be traced to China during the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) during the Classical Imperial period, when every emperor had a cook who created original cuisine particular to his or her dynasty.
  28. Filipinos learned about this flour-based food in the form of strings from the Chinese merchants perhaps several centuries after its creation (202 BC – 220 AD), as trading between Philippines and China was already flourishing.
  29. Philippine pasta dishes includes; Palabok, Miki Guisado, Bihon Guisado, Pansit Molo, miswa, canton, mami and sotanghon.
  30. Mami means manok (chicken) and miki and was created by Ma Mon Luk in 1918. It was called "gupit" on those times.
  31. Spaghetti was introduced to the Philippines, most likely after the Liberation, by the Americans who settled here and brought fast food to the Philippine scene.
  32. The Japanese invented the instant mami.

The founder of the Nissin Food, Momo¬fuku Ando invented the instant ramen in 1958. It’s was the tempura which gave him the method of removing moisture from noodles by frying them in oil. Deep-frying the noodles dehydrated them, and created microscopic holes on their surface, which allowed them to re-hydrate when boiled or submerged in hot water. In 1971, intense competition from other instant ramen manufacturers in Japan urged Momofuku Ando to look for other markets. Thus, the instant ramen was introduced to the world.

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