Holy macaroni, enough noodle celebrating!

Who realized the very important event that occurred last Monday? Don’t bother scanning your calendars or searching your datebooks panicking that you missed a special birthday or anniversary (unless you forgot to send your honey something two days prior, on Sweetest Day!). But do use your noodle to try and figure it out. That clue should give it away.

October 17 was National Pasta Day. Hooray! And lest you think I have some kind of radar for these important kinds of events, I will confess publicly I had no knowledge of the occasion until I started receiving email coupons offering special pasta discounts, good only on October 17.

Growing up with my Irish/German/English family heritage and traditions left me youthfully pasta-deprived, so I have spent my adult lifetime overcoming ancestry deficit by dining on pasta whenever and wherever it is available. I do the same thing with eggs, as my mother disliked eggs and avoided cooking them when I was a kid. No wonder I find myself attracted to this Italian food made chiefly through combining eggs and flour.

Because I aim to be educational and enlightening through my writings, let me give you some information about the breadth and width of the world of pasta. Perhaps it will have the effect of deepening your knowledge, along with increasing your appetite for the stuff.

Fresh pasta is typically made from a combination of eggs, water and flour, whereas the dry pasta you buy is made mostly from wheat and water. Pasta’s origins border on ancient, with the first recorded references to it dating back to Sicily in 1154. Out of respect, you should never overlook or overcook pasta!

Pasta was introduced to the United States by President Thomas Jefferson while he was the American ambassador to France. After first tasting it, Jefferson purchased a pasta machine and brought it back across the Atlantic in 1789, along multiple crates of macaroni. The surge in Italian immigration that followed a century later established pasta as more commonplace in the American diet.

There are 310 known specific forms of pasta, known by more than 1,300 different names. In Italy, the names and shapes of the pasta served differ by locale. The most popular pasta sauces are marinara, alfredo and olive oil. But you already knew that.

To celebrate National Pasta Day, I met my Texan friend, Terri Montgomery, at Schlotzsky’s deli in Battle Creek. We attempted to be multi-cultural through eating food outside of our respective nationality categories. It worked well because we both speak the universal language known as BOGO: buy one pasta dish, get another free. No further interpretation necessary.

We chose shrimp pasta and chicken pasta, then traded halvsies so we each could try both. How were they? I have no idea. It had been six weeks since we last connected, so the dinner was more about cheap food and good conversation than it was about the superiority of pasta.

I’ve noted there’s a growing rivalry within the pasta world. Not content to be lumped altogether on National Pasta Day, spaghetti lobbied to have a National Spaghetti Day on January 4th. Not to be outdone, ravioli reserved March 20 to draw national attention to itself. Next, macaroni and cheese got into the act, with July 14 the day to officially observe its merits. Even lowly linguine took a turn, with National Linguine Day celebrated on September 15. Mama mia!

Because I have a warped sense of humor, I couldn’t help checking to see if lowly breadsticks had remained humble, or had gone looking for its own spotlight. Lo and behold, there’s still time to worship at the breadstick altar, as National Breadstick Day has been established for October 30th. Give me a white flour break!

All this pasta talk has made me hungry. I’m guessing you’re famished, too. But where to eat? Take it from someone who knows: the best pasta is not that which is served at an Italian fine dining establishment, but the over-cooked and under-sauced noodles served at a community fundraising dinner to benefit someone who is in great need or to support a worthy community project. Dine to makes a difference!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heidi
    Oct 27, 2016 @ 02:06:12

    Marinara? 😉

    Reply

    • diffdrum
      Oct 27, 2016 @ 23:11:44

      Crap, I hate when I type too fast and the mistake I make is not a spelling error. Marina sauce would have to be like Manhattan clam chowder over pasta.

      Reply

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