Monday, October 17, 2011

National Pasta Day

By Diane Forrest,

When I was very young I remember going to a lady's home and having lunch.  She fixed a plate of little round O's in a tomato sauce.    That is my earliest memory of Spaghetti O's.  They were so delicious, I remember eating them all up, which is something I never did being a picky eater and all.  These days you can find Spaghetti O's along with ABC’s, Princess shapes, dinosaurs, sports and even sea life shapes to entice picky eaters to eat.

Pasta is a staple with small children, from spaghetti to macaroni and cheese to ravioli.  Of course hamburger helper is a must for a fast and easy dinner, and almost all of the flavors are made with some type of pasta.  You have probably guessed that today is National Pasta Day.

Pasta, while largely recognized as Italian cuisine, has been around for centuries, dating back to 2000 BC.  It has been attributed to the Chinese.  It has been said that Marco Polo brought the pasta from China along with the ingredients to make it.  Pasta comes in either dried or fresh forms, and there are hundreds of variations.  Not only are there hundreds of variations, but just as many recipes to prepare it.

I could go on and on about the important events in my life that have included pasta.  Lasagna was served at the Rehearsal Dinner for my wedding, when I made my first homemade sauce for my family on New Year’s Eve, everyone got sick, and when I went to my first authentic Italian restaurant and ordered spaghetti and meatballs, the meatball was the size of a soft ball!  I haven't found a dish of pasta that I do not like.  From Spaghetti, Lasagna, tortellini, ravioli, linguini or Fettuccini, they are all delicious.

You have a wide variety to choose from today, so there isn't a good excuse to not celebrate National Pasta Day with a dish of your favorite Pasta.  Since there are so many different recipes, I decided not to print just one, so instead; I thought I would test your knowledge of pasta with the quiz below.

1. In Italian, fettuccine means:
a) ribbons
b) strings
c) horse hair
d) whiskers

2. In Italian, stelline means:
a) little diamonds
b) butterflies
c) melon seeds
d) little stars

3. When is National Pasta Month:
a) the month of May when durum wheat is planted
b) the month during which Columbus Day falls
c) the month of September when durum is harvested
d) the month during which daylight savings time begins

4. In Italian, capelli d'angelo means:
a) little angels
b) angel's wings
c) angel's hair
d) angel's breath

5. Pasta is on record as first being eaten by whom?
a) the Chinese
b) the Italians
c) the Greeks
d) the Romans

6. Pasta does not contain:
a) B vitamins
b) iron
c) fiber
d) cholesterol

7. Which of the following statements is false when it comes to cooking pasta?
a) at least one quart of water should be used for every four ounces of dry pasta
b) pasta should always be rinsed after cooking
c) salt added to the boiling water is optional
d) the pot should be kept uncovered while the water is boiling

8. Approximately how many shapes of pasta have been developed?
a) 100
b) 350
c) 25
d) 600

1. a) ribbons
2. d) little stars
3. b) National Pasta Month is always the month during which Columbus Day falls
4. c) angel's hair
5. a) The Chinese are on record as having eaten pasta as early as 5,000 B.C.
6. d) Pasta alone contains no cholesterol
7. b) Do not rinse pasta after cooking unless the recipe specifically says to do so
8. d) 600

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