January 4, 2023

January 4 is National Spaghetti Day

Mary Apel

January 4 is considered National Spaghetti Day in the United States, and we have some ideas on how to celebrate this soul-warming dish. But first a bit of history: Pasta is essentially made with four ingredients — water, eggs, wheat, and salt. The first dish made from pasta was in Sicily, dating back to 1154. While we associate pasta with Italy, some historians say that Marco Polo brought it home from his adventures in China, thus making China the original creator of pasta. Regardless, once pasta made its way to Italy, the locals began making it from hard wheat shaped into elongated strands, leading eventually to what we know as modern-day spaghetti. The word spaghetti is derived from the word “spago,” meaning twine or string. Just like in Italy, spaghetti is cooked around the world to “al dente,” which means that it is soft enough to easily bite into, and a bit chewy. American restaurants offered spaghetti around the end of the 19th century as Spaghetti Italienne (which is believed to have consisted of noodles and a mild tomato sauce flavored with easily found spices and vegetables such as cloves, bay leaves, and garlic). Decades later, cooks added oregano and basil to many recipes. Spaghetti is an easy dish to make from boxed and canned ingredients, and one that even children can typically make for themselves without too much fuss. The noodles can be topped with just about anything, but if you have a special sauce recipe of your own, today is the day to show it off! While pairing meatballs with our tomato sauce is a mostly American thing, made popular by Italian immigrants who could afford to use the meat in their sauces here in the States. Cue the music: “On top of spaghetti all covered in cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed” and enjoy a bowl today.

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