This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Word To Use Today: pasta.

There are a hundred annoying rules about pasta - how long to cook it, what sauce you can eat with each variety, in which course you should serve it - but, hey, anarchy rules, okay, so away with all the guilt about liking the wrong sort of pasta and let's just delight in the truly disgusting things we're shoving in our mouths.

There are various creatures: vermicelli, for instance, which of course means little worms, and farfalle, which are butterflies.

If that's not revolting enough then there are the body parts: capellini, little hairs; mostaccioli, moustaches; linguine, tongues; orecchiette, ears.

Or to top it all you can have creature body parts: the charmingly-named occhi di pernice, which means partridge eyes; and occhi di lupo, wolf eyes.


Or, lastly, there's the pasta which fights back: strozzapreti, or priest-strangler.

Beware of what you eat today.

Word To Use Today: pasta. This word comes from the Italian, of course* and before that the Latin, where pasta meant dough or cake. This in turn came from the Greek pasta, which means barley porridge, and pastos, which means salted.


*But does pasta really come from Italy?

The Roman writer Horace ate something similar, but he fried his. The first boiled flour-paste is mentioned by the Greek Galen, and by the third century AD they seem to have been eating it in Israel. By the 600s the invading Libyans brought pasta to Sicily, and from there they began exporting pasta all over the place.

Except to my house, where pasta didn't arrive until the 1960s, and then only, sadly, in tins.

1 comment:

  1. This is a marvellous post! Love Pasta in all its forms except tinned! That's not pasta that's a travesty...I'm sure there's something to be said about TRAVESTY!