Period History of Pasta in America

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
Pasta was introduced by Thomas Jefferson to America. When he served as Minister to France from 1785 to 1789 he was introduced to pasta during a trip to Naples. When he returned to the U.S., he brought back crates of "maccheroni" and a pasta making machine. He actually went on to redesign the machine.

The first commercially produced pasta was by a flour miller, Antoine Zerega, from Lyon, France in 1848 when he established America's first pasta factory in Brooklyn, New York. he had a horse in his basement that pulled the millstone and hung his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry, just like the Neapolitans did. Today, the fifth generation of the Zerega family run the leading supplier of pasta to the foodservice industry in North America.

At first only upper-class Americans purchased pasta. But once factories sprouted up, the cost of pasta became more affordable. By the time of the Civil war (1861-1865), even the working class could afford a pasta dinner. In cookbooks of the period, they still showed that the common way to prepare pasta was still baked with cheese and milk.

It is written that pasta became the successful dish it is today, with the huge wave of Italian immigration to U.S. at the end of the 19th century. From 1880 to 1921, more than five million Italian immigrants came to America, and three quarters of them from the regions south of Rome.

Many of the immigrants from Campania, became grocers and sold tomato paste, oregano, and garlic basic to their region's cuisine. They also sold the "seasonings" used for Italian food, but had to change some of the seasonings that had been available in Italy. Thus, what became Italian-American cuisine was different from the old country cuisines. One of the differences was adding meatballs to the spaghetti.

Meat was expensive in Italy, so they didn't make the meatballs we have today. They had meatballs or other meats with their spaghetti for only special religious festivals. They used meatballs the size of walnuts when used. The American version used meatballs the size of eggs. They also started using ham and boiled eggs.

The larger portions of spaghetti served and the seasonings of garlic, oregano and hot pepper flakes are American developments.

As an aside, one of my ancestors, a great Uncle opened a grocery store in Corona, Queens, New York in the late 1880s. They came from Naples.

information from Pasta History. http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/pastas/pasta-history.asp
 

nitrofd

Retired User
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Location
north central florida
Being this is about the history of pasta I went looking for an old recipe.I found this recipe from 1860 that was in "The Virginia Housewife".
VERMICELLI
Beat 2 or 3 fresh eggs quite light,make them into a stiff paste with flour,knead it well,and roll it out vertical thn,cut in narrow strips,give a twist and dry them quickly on tin sheets.it is an excellent ingredient in soups,particular those that are thin.Noodles are made in the same manner,only instead of strips they should be cut in tiny squares and died.These are also good in soups.
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
October 12 is the actual Columbus Day. Did you know it was celebrated as early as the 18th Century. It didn't become official holiday until 1937. Now celebrated on day before or after a weekend. This year it will be October 14, a Monday.

You may ask why bring up pasta for his date. Well it is the perfect Italian comfort food. So as an Italian American feel a pasta dish be perfect dish to celebrate Columbus Day.

"Happy Columbus Day with Pasta."
 
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