Happiness in a Bowl

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Photo Courtesy https://mobile-cuisine.com/did-you-know/spaghetti-fun-facts/

Photo Courtesy https://mobile-cuisine.com/did-you-know/spaghetti-fun-facts/

Photo Courtesy https://mobile-cuisine.com/did-you-know/spaghetti-fun-facts/

Anna Belle Murray, Staff Writer

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There are few luxuries in life that are better than digging into a bowl of warm and freshly cooked pasta. Whether it is topped with tangy marinara sauce, hearty meat sauce, or creamy alfredo sauce, pasta is versatile and delicious in all shapes and sizes. The history of pasta is long and complex. It is deeply rooted in the culture of both Italians and Italian Americans and both countries have their own take on the delicious dish. Pasta is a staple food of Milford and available to be enjoyed by people of all classes and ages due to the fact that it is cheap and perfect to be shared with family and friends.  

There are many different theories disputing the history of pasta. Most have heard of the theory that Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China. This has been proven to be false, because lagane, which would later evolve to lasagna, has been documented in Italy in the 13th century before Marco Polo ever came back from Asia. Fifth century Arabs most likely brought pasta to Sicily when they migrated around different countries and the natives picked up the art of pasta making.

The origin of pasta could date back to ancient Etruscan civilizations that grinded and blended grains and cereals with water to create pasta. The name of pasta is Italian, which translates to paste and although the origin of pasta is not in Italy, they did invent sauce (which was eaten plain by the Arabs), kneading and pressing machines, plus they started the mass production of pasta. In the city of Partenopea, of Southern Italy, pasta first mass produced which popularized the dish. The Partenopei were able to dry pasta by laying it out on the streets as the hot climate and winds preserved it. This mass production plus machines made pasta affordable and popular for all Italians and caused them to create all kinds of sauces and meals for their families to enjoy with their pasta.

In 1880-1900, Italian immigrants were the ones who popularized pasta in America when they brought their pasta over from Italy. Although it was popularized by the Italians, English colonists first brought pasta over to the New World. Thomas Jefferson also helped spread pasta to the colonists due to his love for pasta. He also brought over the macaroni machine after discovering it in France, where he was an ambassador. Many dishes that Americans view as Italian, aren’t as Italian as they may think! Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, chicken parmigiana, fettucine alfredo, and Italian dressing are all part of an American Italian list of cuisine that you wouldn’t find on a menu in Italy at all.

Italian Americans have created their own subculture that involve amazing and hearty food. According to the International Pasta Organization in Italy, Americans eat about 5.4 billion pounds of pasta a year, surpassing Italians who eat about 3 billion pounds of pasta a year. America consumes 24% of the world’s pasta and the average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta a year. Now that’s a lot of pasta! There are a lot of delicious foods in America, but pasta is special with its convenience and versatility. In Milford, there is a special love for pasta with its many Italian Americans sharing its love with this meal with the rest of our town.

In Milford, there is a very large population of Italian Americans, in fact 23.5% of Milfordians are Italian. Regardless of demographic statistics, any Milford visitor knows that Milford is very Italian based off of our people’s love for Italian food. Just go to any graduation party, and Oliva’s is typically the caterer. Delicious pasta with butter, sauce, alfredo sauce, tortellini, pasta broccoli alfredo sauce is all lined up and ready to be eaten by all kinds of people. Different people will tell you different reasons why they believe pasta is so special. I believe that since it is such an easy and cheap meal to prepare, that it is perfect for big families and friend groups to enjoy. Pasta has the ability to bring people together just in one bowl.

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