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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Around the World from A to Z: Norway

When most people imagine a place widely considered to be the best and most developed country in the world, a place that is one of the largest producers of oil and has the fourth largest per capita income, they probably aren’t thinking of Norway. Settled so far north the sun barely rises in the winter, this sparsely-settled country is one of the most prosperous and naturally beautiful places known.

Norway, officially referred to as the Kingdom of Norway, is home to just over five million people, almost a million of whom live in the capital city of Oslo. The main language spoken is Norwegian. Their government is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and although it is not a member of the European Union, it has very close ties to the region. Norway’s largest industry is by far its natural resources – it produces the most oil of any country outside of the Middle East, and also has noteworthy amounts of natural gas, lumber, fresh water, seafood, and minerals.

Norway is bordered by Sweden to the east and Finland and Russia to the northeast. It has over 25,000 kilometers of coastline along the Norwegian and North Seas, most of which is islands and fjords. The northern parts of Norway are mostly covered in frozen tundra, while the more southern parts have mountains, plateaus, and valleys. Around the country, the winters can vary from mild to very cold, and the summers are mostly mild, except in the lowlands near Oslo.

Norway’s long history has been mostly characterized by the Vikings and a later alliance with Denmark. After unifying the country in 872 AD, the Vikings ruled until 995 AD, when Christian influence increased and the first King of Norway was crowned. Norway later joined the Kalmar Union with Sweden and Denmark in 1388. They tried to rebel along with Sweden, but they failed and stayed in an alliance with Denmark until 1814. In 1814, they declared their independence and adopted a constitution inspired by those of France and America. They stayed neutral in World War I, and attempted neutrality again in World War II, until Germany invaded in 1940 and they were under Nazi occupation for five years.

While many may view Norway as a cold and desolate place, it is far from it. Norway offers some of the most stunning scenery in the world. The fjords that dot its coastlines are dramatic and unmissable. National Geographic ranks the West Fjords as the number one World Heritage site.

Something else Norway is well-known for is its outdoor activities. Anyone who loves nature would never be bored in this country. The hiking trails through mountains, valleys and fjords attract tourists from all around. The mountains of Norway are also home to many quality ski resorts with hundreds of challenging trails.

One of the, by far, most interesting events that draws people to Norway is the midnight sun. Because of the country’s position so near to the North Pole, in the summer there are often up to twenty hours of sunlight per day. In the far northern parts, such as North Cape, it never even sets.

It’s the things like this, along with the natural beauty and booming economy, that make Norway one of the world’s best countries. Even if cold isn’t your thing, Norway is a place that you truly have to see before you die.

Links:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/no.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway

http://www.visitnorway.com/us/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com//news/2006/10/photogalleries/best-worst/photo5.html

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.

Around the World from A to Z: Honduras

Lying surrounded by Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador in Central America, Honduras is a beautiful, culturally rich country, especially well known for it’s huge coral reef, the third largest in the world.

Honduras is located in Central America. The capital city is Tegucigalpa, and the population it 7,754,687 people. The country is northwest of South America. There are many ethnic groups in the country, such as mestizos, Lenca, Tolupán, Chorti, Garifuna, Tawahka, and Miskito. There are also ten languages ​​in Honduras: Spanish, English, Ch’orti’, Garifuna, Lenca, Miskito, Pech, Sumo Tawahka, Tol, and Honduras sign language, which counts as an official language of its own. Ninety percent of people in Honduras are Roman Catholic. Three percent are Protestant, and the remaining seven percent consists of the rest of the religious minorities in the country.

Photo Credit: USFWS Pacific

Honduras’s national flower is the orchid, a beautiful species that has “beauty, vigor, and distinction”, according to the decree that dictated it. The national animal of Honduras is the white-tailed deer, which was appointed as an effort to stop excessive depredation. The unit of currency in Honduras is the lempira. A lempira is equivalent to five cents in American money. The main exports are coffee, fruit, and nuts.

The flag of Honduras has a lot of symbolical value for the country, as does the coat of arms. The flag has three stripes, blue, white, and blue, from top to bottom. In the center of the flag are five blue stars. The stars represent the first members of the Federal Republic of Central America. Blue symbolizes the sea, the sky, truth, justice, and loyalty. White means peace.

The coat of arms of Honduras has an eye, a cornucopia, and trees and cliffs.

The triangle means equality and freedom. Trees and cliffs represent the natural beauty of the country.

The coral reefs in particular make the natural beauty of Honduras stand out. The reefs in Honduras are actually part of a larger chain, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, that stretches along the coasts of four Central American countries. This spectacular reef is home to more than 65 types of coral, 350 types of mollusks, and several hundred different species of tropical fish. Many of these species are endangered, so multiple protections have been placed on the reef. The coral is also home to one of the world’s largest populations of manatees, another endangered species.

The coral is only one of the many attractions in Honduras. With it’s rich culture and astonishing natural beauty, Honduras is a great place to visit, and one that is certain to offer an experience that will never be forgotten.

Next in series: Around the World from A to Z: India by urvi011235

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

High Tide Good, Red Tide Bad

For many weeks now Florida’s situation with red tide is rising. This is mainly happening in the southwest region of the state.

On a recent trip to Florida, I noticed that the beaches were littered with dead fish and other marine life. This is called the Red Tide. Red Tide is the overpopulation of algae, when it overproduces it has lots of toxic waste which affects people, fish, and other marine animals. Fis and other marine life will die slowly. People could get itchy red eyes, throat and nose irritation.

This Red Tide can affect tourism with thousands of fish and dead animals being washed up on the shore line, foul odors and unpleasant sights of fish with no eyes being ripped apart by savage birds makes you want to leave. Clean up crew started to clear the beaches in the morning ,and by the end of the day the new dead fish crowded the beach again.

Naples, on the southwest coast of Florida is a town with a medium range of damage with the Red Tide. Just north of Naples, the problem of Red Tide was worse.

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