What is food for a designer? Designers design for humans. A car for someone to drive in, a cup to drink from or a coat that keeps a person warm. Being a designers how close can you get to the human being? My designs go inside your body. They feed you, they became a part of you. Even after you carried them to the toilet they will feed the soil that feeds the trees that will feed you again.
Marije Vogelzang

lunedì 20 maggio 2013

PASTA - origins and legends.

The name Pasta stands for all the things from the preparations based on a bran flour, grainy hand-made fragments, as couscous, up to the preparations, usually really soft, as the Alsatian's Spätzle or some Chinese pastries almost liquid whose shapes are fixed only when they are boiled in the broth.

According to the legal definition, PASTA is the result of a chain of technical operations (domestic scale, artisanal or industrial) applied to a mixture of wheat flour or durum wheat semolina and water, or other substance more or less liquid, that allows to obtain a dough that is then cutted into small regular shapes, which will be cooked in the moist heat. The series of technical operations includes: the mixture of the ingredients, kneading the dough and the fragmentation of it, modelling, the possible drying and the eventual conservation. The pasta is then boiled in hot water. (*)

In spite of the simplicity of pasta, it is a recent discovery. On the contrary to the bread, which, as archaeological excavation indicates, can be traced to the neolithic era.

The most famous theory says, that Marco Polo brought PASTA to Italy after his trip to China in 1296, but in that time already existed a big trade of obra de pasta all around the Mediterranean.

In various environments, both China and Italy have developed their own culture of PASTA, according to very different concepts and to their own history.
China came up earlier with the idea of pasta than Italy, but as they never known durum wheat, they stopped at the stage of fresh pasta, essentially artisanal, expanding instead the range of its products through the transformation of other cereals into pasta .
On the other hand, in Italy the idea of pasta went through several stages. Italians refined their knowledge about the grains, developing in the same time a highly diversified production of fresh PASTA and the authentic culture of dried PASTA made from durum wheat, which varies typical according to the climate, giving rise to an highly specialized industry.

Another legend claims that we owe the invention of PASTA to the Arabs - nomadic people who could consume pasta easily during their continuing movements.

Genuinely, during the migrations they preferred to carry the whole grain and roasted flour only;

it was much easier to both use and transport it, as they could not get water and milled flour regularly.

Focaccia and breads were the simple daily meals in the camps.

This latest version about the origins of pasta is not thruth, though the Arabs had an important role in the spread of one of the types of pasta in the Middle Ages, when their kingdom expanded into the West.


 Serventi,Sabban - La Pasta, storia e cultura di un cibo universale - Edizioni Laterza, Bari, 2004

(* ) Legal definition of pasta, cf. Discipline for the food-processing and trade cereals, flour, bread, and pasta, italian law n.580 of 04/07/1967, "Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italina" n.189 of 29/07/1967.

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