Pasta is one of the oldest foods in the world and is a main ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet which is considered to be the key to a healthy life. Even though some historians argue that pasta was first made in Italy, it is generally accepted that Marco Polo met pasta during his travels to China in 1271 and introduced this good to Italy. Historical evidence suggest that Chinese have been eating pasta since 5000 B.C. It is suggessted that the first known pasta was made from rich flour.
In Italy, pasta is made from rough wheat and is shaped into long line, making the spaghetti of our day. The word "Spaghetti" comes from "Spargo" and it means lines. The oldest Italian pastas were similar to "Vermicelli" type in their apperance. Turkish equivalent of Vermicelli is "little worm". Because, these pastas look like small worms. Additionally, there are evidence suggesting that the history of pasta goes further back, to the Ancient Etruscans. In the writings of Roman authors during the first centuries after Christ, it is observed that Etruscans were making long pastas by combining multiple grains.
It is argued that the Ancient Etruscans and Romans cooked pasta in the oven, whereas the boiling method was developed by Italians.
For centuries, pasta found itself a place in Italian tables with different names; at the end of 1400's, pasta was called "lasagna", in 1800's it was called "vermicelli" and between 1400's and 1800's it was called "fidelli" because of its cylindrical shape. Today, Italians call it "pasta spaghetti", Americans "pasta, spaghetti, noodles, English "macaroni", Germans "teigwaren spaetzli", Chinese "main", Japanese "udon" and Tibeteans call it "tsampa".
In 1800's, pasta was among the most popular dishes in Paris. In 1850's, Thomas Jefferson introduced pasta to America. It is suggessted that Jefferson was the first to draw and design machines to produce pasta. First pasta production machines started to be used in Italy in 1800's, first American Pasta Factory was opened in 1848 in New York, Brooklyn by a French person called Antoine Zerega. First pasta complex was opened in our country in İzmir, 1922. Large production complexes however, opened in 1950's. Nuh'un Ankara Makarnasi, opened its first production facility in Ankara, Ulus in 1950.
Pasta is usually made from durum wheat. However, various pastas are being produced from various flours (such as gluten-free pasta).
Pasta, being a nutritious meal, is essential for the tables. The fact that it preserved its existence since the beginning of the human history, is in correlation with this effect.
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- Kurtuluş, S.D., Tüketicilerin Makarna Marka Tercihinde Etkili Olan Faktörler Üzerine Bir Pilot Araştırma, İ.Ü. Institute of Social Sciences, Faculty of Business Administration, Marketing Department, Master's Thesis, 1998, Istanbul.