What do you know about macaroni?

The main dish of Kazakh people are meat and dairy products. When we cook national meal “Beshbarmak”, we add dough. There are a few foods without dough in our kitchen. That’s why wheat flour cookies are very common too. Today Kazakh meal is something different from the old one. The assortment of food groceries was changed slightly. Flour products were widely spread, especially macaroni. It is the easiest way to cook and cheapest product for students. But what do we know about macaroni?

The name “macaroni” comes from Italian maccheroni, plural form of maccherone. Some words like “vermicelli”, “spaghetti” came from Italian. From IV BC Italians produce macaroni from durum wheat. At that time Egyptians also made macaroni. But, it was from another type of wheat. Italians does not accept macaroni, they accept as noodles, if it is made from soft-wheat. Italians call noodles a “pasta”.  “Pasta” means in Italian language “meal”.  Pasta can be short or long, handmade or factory made, stuffed or not, floating in broth or tossed with sauce. It can be made of durum wheat or soft-wheat flour with eggs and water. In the USA, Spain, Canada macaroni made from durum wheat. You can save macaroni from durum wheat for several years. This was an effective food to feed the troops.  In Russia and East Europe countries macaroni made from soft-wheat.

(Photo: Spaghetti vendors in Naples, late 19th or early 20th century)

(Photo: Spaghetti vendors in Naples, late 19th or early 20th century)

Did the ancient Greeks or Romans invent macaroni and did they know of hard wheat? It does not appear so. At early time Romans war down Europe and accept its culture. As seven days a week, alphabet, fight of Gladiators, they learned how to cook macaroni. In XV-XVI centuries all Italians began to eat macaroni. But at that time it was very expensive. People ate it with sugar and honey. Around Orvieto, macaroni (fettuccine) was served as threshing lunch. For Christmas Eve, the same pasta, dressed with honey and walnuts, became maccheroni.

In XIX century Italy was divided into 4 countries. Durum wheat was planted only in Sicily Island. It was very expensive to import wheat. There were deficit of products. People demand integration of Italy into one kingdom. After some wars Sicily Island joined again to Italy. Owners of factories began to plant durum wheat in all regions of Italy. That’s why the cost of macaroni decreased. Giuseppe Garibaldi was right.

“It will be maccheroni, I swear to you, that will unify Italy,” – Giuseppe Garibaldi.

So who invented macaroni? History of macaroni is very interesting. One cook suddenly saw that his daughter, playing with dough, by making a ‘tube’. Cook boiled it, and sold it. People very liked it. After some days, cook became very popular by its macaroni. After that he opened a factory, which produces macaroni, and became rich. His name was Marco Aroni. His macaroni sold in whole Europe. There was a word “It is macaroni!” synonym to the “it is okay”.  In the middle ages Italians believed that pasta has healing and magical qualities.

Macaroni came to Kazakhstan through Russia. When Peter I invited masters to make ships, Italian masters also came. They lived in Russia several years, and tough Russians to make a ship. Russians learned how to make ship, and how to cook macaroni. In 1913 year in Russia were 40 factories that produce 30 thousand tones of macaroni.

There is a museum of macaroni in Rome. In the museum you can see early machines, recipes of pastas, and pictures of people, who eat pasta with great pleasure. Third president of the USA Thomas Jefferson’s favorite meal was pasta. Pasta was introduced by Thomas Jefferson to America.  When he served as Minister to France from 1785 to 1789 he was introduced to pasta during a trip to Naples. When he returned to the U.S., he brought back crates of “maccheroni” and a pasta making machine. He actually went on to redesign the machine. In 1789 year he opened factory of macaroni in the United States.

In 1957, 1st April BBC journalists reported joke news about spaghetti grows from Earth. Hundreds of people called the corporation after the broadcast asking where they could get hold of a spaghetti bush, so they could grow their own crop. But the broadcast, which showed a Swiss family harvesting spaghetti from trees, has gone down as one of the best April Fools of all time.

Macaroni has microelements like riboflavin. It also has A, E, B, PP vitamins.

Article was written by Kaiyrzhan Torezhan, from “Aikyn” newspaper.

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