The spaghetti arrives in orange twirls to accompany a plate of Somali suqaar, while in a Catalan disguise, the short, deeply burnished strands of fideuà form a cradle for prawns. Baked macaroni comes bubbling out of the oven at Greek, Egyptian, and Trinidadian spots. It might be easy to assume that these are concessions to the Italo-American tastebuds of a globalised world, but these dishes have much more complex histories — of imperialism, migration, and trade across seas.
Even before getting into dumplings and noodles, the world of pasta has long extended so much further than the borders of Italy. Across the Greek islands, there are over a thousand names for different shapes and types of pasta, each more floral than the last — hilopites, kritharaki, trahana, aftoudia, flomaria — signalling a long culinary history. Pasta in the Mediterranean likely dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who made fresh pasta for use in soups with chickpeas.
9th century Arab scripts discuss a dried pasta equivalent to macaroni in shape, and there’s a firm trace of that history in the modern Arabic word for pasta too — makrouna. The arrival of spaghetti and lasagne in East Africa has a more recent and explicitly violent history, having been absorbed into the cuisines of Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea in the wake of 19th and 20th century Italian invasions. There’s subversion in a lasagne made with berbere or spaghetti sauce with xawaash spices; the products of their own deep histories and uneven encounters. These dishes can no longer be claimed by Italy.
London’s restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars have reopened for outdoor service from 12 April, with the rule of six in place. Customers can check with individual venues to determine their availability and Covid-secure measures before deciding to visit.Read More