Whether you’re sitting down in front of a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, or a bowl of steamy, sumptuous pho, there’s just something comforting about noodles. Moms everywhere — and Campbell’s Soup, of course — have made their reputations on delivering chicken noodle soup to their sneezy children, and believe me, no one is yelling “Mangia! Mangia!” over a green salad. Pasta has as many styles, tastes, and uses as there are ways it touches our hearts and stomachs.
Here are just a few of the ways we can begin to count them up.
Types of pasta
There’s some debate here about how many actual types of pasta there are, what counts as “pasta,” and who gets to decide. Good old Wikipedia lists 175 different types in detail, but conventional wisdom defines pasta loosely as dough made from wheat and water, shaped into individual pieces or strands and cooked in boiling water.
Year of the first reference to pasta in Italy
It’s no more than a casual observation in the Book of Roger, a work of world geography commissioned by King Roger II, but it’s the first that places this dish in the European nation to which it’s become inextricably linked. The Sicilian town of Trabia was described as producing a form of pasta from hard wheat, and that this product — shaped into long strands — was manufactured in large quantity for export to other regions.
Last year that a new type of pasta was invented
Scientists call it “anelloni,” and it’s meant to demonstrate the complicated shapes that ring-like molecules can take on. What is essentially a large thick loop of pasta, anelloni was used by two physicists at the University of Wharton in the United Kingdom to show how a certain type of polymer molecules can easily get tangled up with each other.
Rewards Network Asian restaurants serving noodles in the United States
We tend to think of Italy first when we think of pasta, but nearly every style of Asian cooking, from Chinese and Japanese to Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese, employs some form of noodle made from flour and water.
Bowls of ramen prepared at Katsu Ramen every day
Ramen has been taking the United States by storm in the last few years, and authenticity is key to success. And no one knows what it takes like Katsu Ramen in Aurora, Colorado, whose chef hails directly from Osaka, Japan. And what it takes is between 55 and 90 pounds of noodles a day cooked in broth prepared for 12-15 hours in the most traditional of ways. Our mouths are watering already.
Packages of instant noodles sold in 2014
According to the World Instant Noodles Association, more than just a few college freshmen are buying instant noodles for dinner. In fact, the United States comes in sixth in world consumption of these tasty, quick dinners in a packet, behind China, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Vietnam.
Tons of pasta produced each year in Italy
The International Pasta Organisation reports that Italy leads the world pasta production by a very wide margin, beating out its next two largest competitors — the United States and Brazil — even when combined. It also exports nearly half of the world supply.
Pounds of pasta per person eaten in Italy every year
From spaghetti and linguini to ravioli and gnocchi, pasta is a basic staple of Italian dinner, served nearly every night in traditional households. Believe it or not, though, pasta consumption in Italy has actually dropped 23 percent since the turn of the century!
Tons of pasta consumed in the US each year
But that only works out to be 19.4 pounds of pasta per person, one third of the amount consumed per capita in Italy every year. (We probably have the drop on them with pizza consumption, though.)
Rewards Network Italian restaurants serving pasta in the United States
Italian-inspired cuisine exploded in America with the influx of Italian immigrants in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, “Italian” is considered one of the largest ethnic cuisine styles in the country, and its growing variety is stunning. Take for instance the rich, mouthwatering Lobster Ravioli at Nothing but Noodles in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mmmmmm. That’s not your mama’s pasta dish.
Dollar advance on “The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”
Scientist Bobby Henderson received this advance in 2005 from Random House for his book, upon which the religion Pastafarianism is based. Officially classified as a humor book and widely considered a spoof by scientists critical of educational practices in the United States, The Gospel today has sold over 100,000 copies and inspired dozens of adherents to have their driver’s license photo taken in ceremonial garb — with an inverted pasta colander on their heads.
Number of possible flavor combinations at Mac-O-Licious
With 10 macaroni and cheese dishes and 10 different customizable toppings, the math starts to get crazy on how you like to eat your macaroni and cheese. We’d like to pretend you could never test them all, no matter how hard you try, but we suspect Southern California Mac-o-licious fans are not going to give up that easily.
Gallon of water for every pound of pasta you want to boil
And believe it or not, pasta experts the world over claim that a little less than 1/3 of a cup of salt is the right amount to use in a gallon of water to get the most flavor out of your pasta once cooked. Seems like a lot, but we’re told the results speak for themselves.
So, ready to twirl your fork and earn rewards the same time? Search our program restaurants for your next pasta adventure: