By Mara Papatheodorou, Your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Take note of the noodle. This notable staple has an illustrious past, a very popular present and a formidable future. The grande grain is its base whether barley, millet, rice or wheat. When ground and mixed with water, the resulting flour power does its stuff and dough makes its starchy debut. From there it can be pulled or kneaded, looped or twisted, pinched or prodded, rolled or stretched into any number of noodle concoctions.
Since the growing of grain is worldwide, most cultures have their own versions of noodle mania. Interestingly enough, remnants of its ancient past dating as far back as 4000 years ago, point to China as the first place and “kitchen” to grind rice, wheat or millet to make dough that was shaped into dumplings or turned into strands for a meal.
Noodle methods and types then spread throughout Asia, became a basic part of dining traditions and held ritual significance at celebrations. To this day, serving long noodles at important Asian ceremonies still represents a long life of luck and abundance.
On a trip to China in the 13th century, famed Venetian merchant Marco Polo was enamored by the main entrée served to him in various forms at the Emperor’s feast and traveled back to Europe with dried samples. In later years, Italy became the pasta capital of the world. Whether baked or boiled, served in soups or stews, over or under other elements, thick or thin, long or short, with spices or sauces, noodles have legitimately earned their place of distinction at the table.
CHEF JET TILA STIRS UP HIS FAMOUS DRUNKEN NOODLES
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