Beverly Hills Lingual Institute
Beverly Hills Lingual Institute
Beverly Hills Lingual Institute
Beverly Hills Lingual Institute

Blog   |   Language, Learning and Culture

Classes in More than 25 Languages return to blog index

Whose Pasta is it, Anyway?

When you think of Italian cuisine, pasta is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Buon Appetito!

But while we think of pasta as a culturally Italian food, it is likely the descendant of Asian noodles.

The way that pasta reached Europe remains unclear, though there are many theories. Some believe that nomadic Arabs are responsible for bringing early forms of pasta westward. Others look to Marco Polo. The Venetian explorer left for Asia in the Middle Ages, spending more than two decades trekking the Silk Road.

One of the things Polo claimed to have discovered in China, and brought back to Italy, is pasta. This was among the many claims printed in his book, "Il Milione."

However, his original script was subsequently lost. Various authors picked up the task of rewriting it, and their collaborative efforts can be found in "The Travels of Marco Polo."

A passage in that book briefly mentions Marco's introduction to a plant that produced flour (possibly a "breadfruit tree"). As PBS' History Kitchen notes, "The Chinese used this plant to create a meal similar to barley flour.

"The barley-like meal Polo mentioned was used to make several pasta-like dishes, including one described as 'lagana' (lasagna)."

However, reminding listeners that "Polo's original text no longer exists," the History Kitchen adds that "the book relies heavily on retellings by various authors and experts.

"This, combined with the fact that pasta was already gaining popularity in other areas of Italy during the 13th century, makes it very unlikely that Polo was the first to introduce pasta to Italy." (source: http://www.pbs.org/food/the-history-kitchen/uncover-the-history-of-pasta/)

Indeed, Polo's "Il Milione" came to be known as "The Million Lies." On his deathbed, Polo was asked whether or not the account was true. Marco stood by his work, adding that he had even seen things which he had neglected to mention.

Further reading

  • Cars
  • Communication
  • Culture
  • Fashion
  • Food
  • Language
  • Travel
Andalucia, en Ocho Joyas

2018-08-22

Idioms from Around the World

2018-01-23

Who Misses Skeuomorphism?

2018-01-22

The Wrong Way to Learn a Language

2017-12-05

The Hungarian Language

2017-12-01

Uh-Oh The Glottal Stop

2017-11-16

The Languages of Doctors

2017-10-23

How to Establish a Brand

2017-10-11

The Luxury Experience

2017-09-27

Learning Language is Child's Play

2017-09-20

Language as Jazz

2017-08-25

It's All Polish To Me

2017-08-24

Farsi is Sugar

2017-08-18

76 Common Verbs for Dutch Learners

2017-08-10

So You Want to Learn Hindi?

2017-08-08

Ingrid Bergman on Language

2017-08-07

The Secret to Reading Japanese

2017-08-03

Losing the War One Slide at a Time

2017-08-02

Blowin' in the Wind

2017-07-31

Getting Around

2017-07-28

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie

2017-07-27

Choosing a Language to Learn

2017-07-26

The First Volvo

2017-07-24

Improve Your Public Speaking

2017-07-21

Where Did I Come From?

2017-07-20

Happy Emoji Day

2017-07-17

Czech Out the First Robots

2017-07-14

Mind Your Grammar

2017-07-12

Is this a BMW?

2017-07-10

How Many German Words Do You Know?

2017-06-23

Como agua para chocolate

2017-06-21

Traveling Tips

2017-06-20

I Love Daddy

2017-06-15

We'll Bring the Coffee

2017-06-08

The Challenges of Learning Arabic

2017-06-01

Tulipmania

2017-05-30

Saving Hebrew

2017-05-29

Keeper of the Bridge

2017-05-25

Bewitchingly Flawed

2017-05-18

Japan's Caprice

2017-05-16

The First Martians

2017-05-15

Dolma or Tolma?

2017-05-12

Dutch in Paradise

2017-05-08

How Does the Bilingual Brain Work?

2015-08-19

Reasons to Learn Italian

2015-03-24

Reasons to Learn French

2015-02-27

Truth in Advertising

2014-07-10

Top Quality Spanish Teachers

2013-12-23

A Better Way to Learn Italian

2013-12-23

High Quality Spanish Courses

2013-12-23

Italian School

2013-12-23

Top Quality French Teachers

2013-12-23

Finding the Best Language School

2013-12-23

Italian Tutors

2013-12-23

New Year's Resolution

2012-12-12