A while back, I heard an episode of ‘Here’s the Thing’ where Alec Baldwin was chatting with Dr. Robert Lustig about the evils of sugar, refined or not. Dr. Lustig specifically said that pasta wasn’t really a basis for Italian diets until immigrants came to the U.S. and couldn’t afford all the fresh foods they were used to. Also, apparently spaghetti = poison.
I am no scientitian, so I won’t comment on the veracity of how dangerous a bowl of delicious starch is (but seriously, bowls of starch built so many fucking empires). And I don’t even know why I remembered this today, even, but it got me thinking about noodles and tomatoes and other ‘Italian’ things that aren’t of Italian origin, then ‘national’ foods in general, and when they came into play.
Noodles were first made in Asia, probably China or nearby. Marco Polo bringing them back is damned unlikely, because they were probably being eaten there before his journey. References to the Chinese eating ‘macaroni’ in the accounts of his travels mean that the folks writing and reading it would have known WTF that was.
Tomatoes came from the New World, so Italians, who practically grow forests of them now, didn’t even have them until the 16th century. It was such an auspicious event (apparently), that we may have an exact date: October 31, 1548. (I totally want to read this book, BTW.)
In other ‘national’-ish foods, potatoes first got to Ireland in the 16th century (a nice legend says that a Spanish Armada sunk and the potatoes floated to shore). Within 150 years, the were a staple food in Europe, and researches suggest their cultivation was a factor in its urbanization and rapid population growth.
The origins of sushi, like so many things associated with Japan, are Chinese. (Mmm. Ancient fermented rice fish.) Or maybe from Southeast Asia.
Chocolate was probably first made into Belgian deliciousness in the 17th century, when they were under Spanish rule and got shit straight from the Mexican source.
Cows, and therefore beef, and therefore the beginnings of steak, were first brought to Argentina in 1536. (I feel so sad when I think about livestock on long sea journeys. Even the Dothraki know not to trust water they, and their horses, can’t drink.)
Do I have a point? Nope. Was just hungry and curious.
Today in Megan problems:
My chequebook has disappeared from the face of the Earth, to the Phantom Zone, or else to a safe place I’ve forgotten in the two years since I last used it.
It’s a problem, because I’m meant to be paying the roofers tomorrow. Ack. Time for another hunt.