History of Food: Pasta

The first form of food similar to pasta was in the writings of Horace where thin strips of dough were fried and served with spices in the 1st century B.C.E. A few centuries later, we see an ancient ancestor of modern day lasagna come out in the form of lagana. It was described to be consisted of sheets of dough with meat filling in between. In the second century, the dough started to be made with flour and water instead of juice from lettuce. Later, Arabs adopted a similar form of noodle in the 5th century and lead to the Italians making thin strip noodle pasta.

 

If we jump to the 15th century, dried pasta was very valued because it could be stored for very long periods of time.That’s why many exploring ships brought dried pasta to the New World. Believe it or not, tomato sauce was only invented in the 18th century! Before this, people would just eat pasta with their hands. Now, people eat it with forks because the tomato would get too messy without it.

 

Today, the average Italian eats about sixty pounds of pasta per year, while the average American eats about twenty pounds of pasta per year. Writings suggest it originated in Italy, but why is it popular in North America? It’s because Italian immigration to the Americas that we love pasta so much. Italians have also had a mass immigration to South Africa, making spaghetti and meatballs a major part of Italian cuisine.

 

Do you like pasta? How do you eat yours? Comment, if you want, I guess.

 

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Bruins: Game 7 Against Toronto

Photo Credit: (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Photo Credit: (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

You may think I am crazy but… the Bruins have been playing very lackluster for the last few games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Overall the outcome of the series was as expected, the better team came out with a “W”.

The first four games you thought the season would be over for the Toronto Maple Leafs, down three to one going into the nest of the B’s. Think again, Toronto won the next two games to tie the series one to one in Boston. Those two games were ones that were tough to watch, with almost everything going wrong for the B’s. You could just say that they did not care, and they wanted to try to get to a new stage of a new series.

Heading into game seven of the first round series, the Bruins were lucky with their house to back them up against the thirsty Maple Leafs. The Bruins started off good with the first goal of the game, but then that was quickly shut down by the Maple Leafs with a quick goal back. One-one  heading into the second period, the Bruins give up another. Heading into the third period, we lost it, they scored another two. Now they were down three goals in the third period of a playoff game, it seems impossible for the Bruins to come back. The fans might as well go home, some in fact, did. But the truth is, they missed a great comeback, and now are sorry for leaving. The Bruins score one back, and with minutes left they pull out the goalie Tuukka Rask and score a goal! Closing the gap to just one. No way this can happen in hockey, and no fan  though they could come back and win the game in the third. With all of the luck in the world Bergeron scored the tying goal with just fifty two seconds left on the clock. A few minutes into overtime Bergeron scores the go ahead goal to win. People say it was all Bergeron, but reality is that the whole team contributed. Even Tuukka Rask who had a O.K. night made a great save to keep the B’s alive in OT.

Although the Bruins pulled together for game seven in the last period, it is clear that they are not good enough to win another Stanley Cup. I have nothing against them, but they have seen better years.

Angkor Wat: The World’s Largest Religious Monument

Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia, is the world’s largest religious monument. “Angkor” comes from Sanskrit and means “city” while Wat is Khmer for “temple.” Cambodians are usually referred to as Khmer people and Thai are referred to as Siem. So, the name Siem Reap means “Thai Defeat,” but that’s another story. Angkor Wat also appears on the national flag of Cambodia.

Angkor Wat was originally built in the 12th century by king Suryavarman II as a Hindu temple. It was a dedication to Vishnu. Later, in the 16th century, Buddhism took over and Angkor Wat was converted to a Buddhist temple. The Buddhists tried to paint the giant wall mural depicting several scenes from Hinduism and in some parts, you can actually touch the carved stone on the mural.

Angkor Wat lies on an island 1km x 1.5km with a 1 km wide moat on all sides. There are two entrances: the front in the west and the back in the east. Angkor Wat, unlike most temples, faces to the west instead of the east to signify that Suryavarman was intending to be buried there. Inside the temple, there is a central point where you can see in all four directions, many intricate and sometimes unfinished carvings, and a big central tower which was the king’s tomb. The central has really steep stairs that you could be afraid of going up and down.

Overall, Angkor Wat is a great place and has a lot of extra history and details to it, and it is also a great tourist destination.

Hehe, It’s a Lizard!

I took this picture of a really cool lizard in Cambodia.

Gods Versus Demons

This picture was taken by the wall mural in Angkor Wat. If you look closely, the ones facing to the right are different from the ones facing to the left. The gods are facing to the right and the demons … Continue reading

Khmer BBQ

I took this picture in Cambodia of a Khmer hot pot barbecue. They give you all the raw ingredients and you cook them yourself.

The History of Food: The Best of the Best: ICE CREAM!

The earliest known form of ice cream was in the Persian Empire when grape juice concentrate was poured on top of snow for a treat when it was hot outside. People have been doing this for centuries. Sorbet is said … Continue reading

The History of Food: Escargot

Ewwwww… escargot. These creatures are a treat for the French, but we think of it as being disgusting. These are snails that have gone through heliculture and have been stuffed back into their shells with garnishes. Years ago, in ancient … Continue reading

A Short History of American Football

Since the Superbowl is coming up, I felt that is was appropriate to write about football. Even though football is the most played sport in America, many people do not even know the history behind it. American football was invented … Continue reading

Contacts vs. Glasses

Photo credit: geoffoldredhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffoldred/463173671/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Photo credit: geoffoldred

Today, we will answer the age-old question (since 1948) which is better, contact lenses or glasses!

Not many people think this is a big deal, but if you are one of the millions like me, who are as blind as a bat without glasses, this is a huge part of our lives.

But to fully understand the universe behind contact lenses, we must take a look at their history.

The idea for contact lenses was thought up by Leonardo Da Vinci (who else would think of sticking pieces of glass in your eyes?)

The first physical model was made about 300 years later. They were basically glass bowls that completely covered your eye. As you might have guessed, they didn’t necessarily become the latest trend.

The next milestone in the world of contact lenses was when William Feinbloom combined glass and plastic to make a lighter type of contact lenses, which were a vast improvement to thick chunks of glass on your eye.

And finally in 1959, two Czech chemists named Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim created the contacts that we know and love today.

Similarly, to understand glasses, we must delve into their history also.

No one really knows who invented glasses, but we think they were thought of during 1268 through 1289 AD.

We do know for a fact that the earliest ones were made of quartz often set in a bone frame. Talk about being as solid as a rock! (Please excuse the bad pun.)

And we all have heard the story of how Benjamin Franklin created spectacles. He cut his reading and distance glasses in half and smelted them together so he wouldn’t have to keep switching pairs of glasses. What people will do to avoid getting up!

So, which is better?  Continue reading