Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Well, This Gives New Meaning to "Leftover Pasta"

From the Associated Press, via The Globe and Mail:

A 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles has been discovered at an archeological site in western China, possible proof for the argument that China invented pasta before Italy.

“These are definitely the earliest noodles ever found,” said Lu Houyuan, a researcher with the Institute of Geology in Beijing who studied the ingredients of the pristinely preserved pasta.

The discovery of the delicate yellow noodles in Minhe County in China's western province of Qinghai is reported in this week's edition of Nature magazine.

“Chinese people say Marco Polo brought noodles from China back to Italy, and Italians say they had noodles before that,” Mr. Lu said. “All this has been based on documentary material, on personal accounts and menus. But we've been unable to find any actual material – until now.”

The fist-size clump of noodles was found inside an overturned bowl under three metres of sediment from a flood that researchers suspect wiped out the Qijia Culture of the Late Neolithic era.

When researchers lifted up the bowl, they discovered the 50-centimetre-long noodles sitting atop an inverted cone of clay that had sealed the bowl, it said.

The noodles were made from a dough of two local varieties of millet – broomcorn and foxtail millet – rather than the more common wheat or rice. The dough was pulled into long strands before being boiled.

I've eaten pulled noodles before -- there are a couple of places in Burnaby, B.C. that specialise in fresh noodles made this way out of wheat flour.

Mind you, I'd hate to think what an accompanying egg roll would look like ...


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