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.

 

Why You Should Watch Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society is, by Gene Shalit’s words, “One of the most magnificent motion pictures I’ve ever seen.” Robin Williams stars as professor John Keating at Welton Academy, a prep school set in 1959. It also features an great performance by Ethan Hawke as Todd Anderson, one of the main characters in the movie.

Welton Academy is an all boys prep school that is defined by sports coats and conformity. When professor John Keating comes to teach English, he tells the kids to be free-thinkers from day one. The first lesson he gives is unusual to the students but shows a point. “Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” All the while, the Dead Poets’ Society, a group of poets and romantics, reconvenes with several students from Keating’s class including Dalton, Perry, Anderson, Pitts, Cameron, Meeks, and Overstreet. They become free-thinkers and Keating shakes things up at Welton, even influencing some of the teachers there to do the same. It all unravels into an unexpected, but one of the greatest, endings.

Dead Poets society is one of the best movies ever made and teaches about the dangers of conformity. This also relates to our eighth grade theme here at Worcester Academy, which is “disturbing the universe.” Keating teaches in an unorthodox way that allows students to see for themselves and to “suck the marrow out of life.” Go and buy Dead Poets Society now. You need to see it.

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.

Solid Palm Sugar

I took this picture in The Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. They take the liquid palm sugar from the palm fruit and cook it until it is solid like a sugar cube except all natural.

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

The History of Food: Haggis

HAGGIS! The famed dished claimed to have originated from Scotland. This remarkable dish has an interesting history. To understand haggis, first we must ask ourselves, what is haggis? Well, to be concise, haggis is a sort of meat pudding, made … Continue reading