Six things about spaghetti


First thing: it’s delicious

Marco … Polo!
Although it's commonly believed that Marco Polo brought noodles to Italy from Asia in the 13th century, there is evidence that pasta-like dishes were being eaten by Arabic occupiers during the conquest of Sicily, which began in 902 AD.

Fork me? Fork you!
Forks were not commonly used in Western Europe until the 16th century, so early spaghetti dishes did not resemble those we know today. They had to be dry so they could be eaten with the hands and, until the mid-1800s, were never covered in tomato sauce.

Longer, once it gets warmed up
Traditionally, spaghetti strands were 20 inches long, but in the 20th century, as the food became popular in North America and the need for packaging and shelving grew, it shrunk to the now familiar 12 inches.

Good name for a kitten, too
Meatballs are a recent and North American addition to spaghetti. In the Old World, meat was a scarce resource and eaten only occasionally. In the New World, however, meat was more plentiful as well as cheaper, so it could be added to pasta on a regular basis.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a deity worshipped by Pastafarians. The religion's central belief is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the invisible and undetectable force that created the universe. Pastafarianism originated in 2005 in response the the teaching of intelligent design in Kansas schools. A contemporary version of “Russell's teapot,” the Flying Spaghetti Monster represents the argument that the burden of proof for unverifiable claims lies with those making the claims, not those who reject them.

Grow your own
On April Fools Day 1957, the BBC ran a three-minute report about a fictitious Swiss family harvesting a bumper crop spaghetti from their “spaghetti tree,” thanks to a mild winter and the eradication of the “spaghetti weevil.” The dish was not, at the time, widely eaten in the UK so the hoax made waves. Hundreds of viewers phoned the next day, some doubting the story and some asking how to grow their own spaghetti trees. V

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