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Sunday, October 13, 2013

P. P. P. Puzzlement.

Pasta

There seems to be a bit of confusion when it comes to the definition of the word Pasta. Lacking essence, Pasta is a generic term for floured grains blended together with water and sometimes eggs. Pasta can mean a whole slew of things. It is not simply a fancy word for Spaghetti. Because Pasta is an Italian word derived from the word "paste," one might think that the realm of pasta dishes are distinctly Italian. Such is not the case. Pasta can also be noodles. In fact, "pasta" describes all types of noodles; fresh or dry. They can be made from wheat, rice, buckwheat, and other grains.

Funny thing about my recollection of Sunday dinners. To my mind's eye, they never included pasta, per se...Yes, there was Spaghetti & Meatballs and Baked Macaroni, which by the way was completely different than Baked Ziti:) We might dine on Fettucini Alfredo if "company" was coming and more than likely Lasagna or Manicotti on any given holiday. But, none of these dishes, to my recollection, included the word Pasta. In other words, my father never said, "let's have some pasta for dinner, how about spaghetti & meatballs?" He would say, "stir the sauce" we're having Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner! As a matter of fact, the word pasta didn't enter my vocabulary on a regular basis until maybe 10 years ago.

On the other hand, the word noodles has been a part of my everyday parlance for as long as I can remember, and probably longer. One of my all time favorites "snacks" is noodles with butter and plenty of black pepper. Comfort food in my book!

I don't want to attempt to untangle the old aged discussion as to which came first Noodles or Pasta. Does it really matter? By all accounts, noodles are pasta and today I would like to share a couple of Asian noodle recipes that we would surely miss if we were to ignore Asian style pastas in our recipe reportoire. Each recipe comes from a book titled Chinese Cooking and More.

As one who can never have enough recipes which include Tofu, I can personally attest to the goodness of this recipe for Bean Threads with Tofu and Vegetables. Marion and I love it. It's easy to "throw" together and certainly beats "running" down to the "local" Chinese Restaurant which is about 20 miles away!

As I was gathering information for today's post, I stumbled upon a recipe for Pulled Noodles in Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings and Breads.

There it was on page 41, a recipe for Dragon's Beard Noodles or Pulled Noodles. Have you ever heard of pulled noodles? It seems, The Art of Hand Pulled Noodles is "arguably becoming a lost art." I just had to share this bit of information.

Published in 1986, Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings and Breads, gives step by step instructions for the mixing, pulling, cutting and deep frying of the noodles. She includes illustrations and even a recipe and tips for making the dough in a food processor. I haven't included the recipe here but if you would like it, just let me know. Unfortunately, this book is long out of print but you may be able to find it online. Since it is still considered the definitive guide on the subject of Chinese Noodles and Dumplings, it is difficult to find.

Ms. Lin recently did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. At the age of 93, she is apparently still going strong!

"Earlier this summer, The Chronicle brought together two matriarchs of Chinese cooking: Cecilia Chiang, whose restaurant, The Mandarin, raised the bar for San Francisco dining; and cookbook author Florence Lin, who taught cooking classes in New York for three decades."

Thank you to Tina @ Squirrel Head Manor for sharing this charming quote by Federico Fellini. Tina is also a huge pasta fan so it shouldn't be too surprising that she also selected a recipe for Spaghetti Alla Carbonara to share on her post.

Pinterest

As I mentioned at the beginning of Pasta Month, I've started a community pinboard devoted to all things pasta. So far, we have four contributors forty-one pins and about 731 followers on that board. I am quite pleased:)

Since many of you are contemplating joining Pinterest, or are hesitant to actively participate in the online "curating machine", I thought I would offer a few tips. Mind you, I am no pro. Yes, I have been pinning for a while and yes, I have certainly seen and "felt" the increased traffic in this blog since joining Pinterest, however, unlike Cooking Light who has 125,677 followers on their Pinterest Boards, I really "fly by the seat of my pants" when it comes to all things Pinterest:)

Let's start with a few Pinterest Basics.
1. "A pin is an image (or video) you add to Pinterest that links back to the website it came from..."
The easiest way for me to accomplish this important step is to make sure I click on the title of the post or article that I want to pin. For example, If you were totally dazzled by the image of Giada's Top 10 Pasta Cooking Tips that I posted for the Pasta Month's Party post I did at the beginning of the month, then what you would do is go to that page, click on the title, in this case it would look like this:

http://monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com/2013/10/its-pasta-month-lets-party.html

And Pin It! At first glance, you might think to yourself, "well, that's what I have been doing." Great! However, did yo notice how the complete URL includes not only my blog's address, {http://monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com} it also includes the date of the post and the title of the post too. It is most frustrating to see a Pin you like, perhaps even want to repin it but when you click the link you land on the top URL which in this case would be {http://monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com}. Uh Oh, no tips! You might even wind up on this post which would really be a maize of a go around:)

2. Pin It, you say! What? How? Where? There are basically three ways to add pins to Pinterest. We will only discuss one today. It uses the Pin It bookmarklet button which you can find in the goodies section of Pinterest. Look under "Looking for the Pinterest Bookmarklet?" Once you have dragged the bookmarklet to your browsers tool bar, you can easily Pin from any page that you land on. (as long as you check to make sure you have clicked the tile of that page as mentioned in #1.

Here's what it looks like in my Safari Toolbar. It also works in Chrome because I have that on my Mac Air:)

There are links to other Pinterest widgets on the Goodies page but you may want to revisit those when you are feeling more adventurous, like me! Since National Candy Corn Day is celebrated on October 30, I just this minute decided to make this board widget just for you today:) Once I figure out how to trim it down a bit, I'll add it to by sidebar:)

It would take an entire post to delve into the ins and outs of Pinterest. One this gal is not up to today. According to Mashable, "Pinterest has roughly 70 million registered users." That's a whole lotta new and intriguing recipes to discover you "guys." I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon:)

Pasta Party

As World Pasta Day approaches, I'm delighted to say we have quite an array of dishes to enhance our celebration. No, no, no, I'm not telling you what they are yet. You'll have to tune in on World Pasta Day for the round-up. If you missed the invitation to the Pasta Party and the Give-Away, it isn't to late. You can find all the "pertinent" information right here.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Columbus Day. With the essence of that in mind, I would like to share a recipe for Tagliatelle agli Zucchini e Acciuga; Noodles with Zucchini and Anchovies from a book book titled Columbus Menu: Italian Cuisine after the First Voyage of Christopher Columbus by Stefano Milioni which was published by the Italian Trade Commission in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage.

"See Ya" Wednesday. It's Noah Webster's birthday and Dictionary Day!

36 comments:

  1. A world without pasta seems inconceivable.

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  2. I must get my pasta post up! Love the cover of this book and that there are great vegie recipes. I have noticed that in the UK noodles only refer to asian dishes and pasta refers to European style dishes - this is also how we use it in Australia to some extent but I think we are always more open to American ways than our British cousins. Noodles seems to be used more widely in America than in either country. Does this sound right?

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    1. The word noodle does seem to be a word used by us more than in other places, Johanna. That's why I wanted to do a bit of investigating myself:) Not to worry about your pasta post, you still have until October 23rd to post.

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  3. I've never been a huge pasta fan but Ben loves it!

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  4. Mmmm, pasta--there's nothing quite like it, is there Louise! I should see if I can pull off participating in your party (remiss as I have been about all things blogging lately...)!

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    1. Did out those recipes Inger. It's going to be a GREAT party with gifts too!!!

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  5. Good post, Louise.
    I wonder if gyoza is considered pasta? Also, I have a nice candy corn cookie recipe coming up for Halloween week. Not that everyone hasn't made them for ages! :)

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    1. I would say they are Barbara. As a matter of fact, you just reminded me that I have some in the freezer! I look forward to pinning your Candy Corn Cookie recipe Barbara. let me know when it's up:)

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  6. "Pasta" "Noodles" it is all good stuff! Great recipes you shared to enjoy it, no matter how you say it (smile).

    Velva

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  7. A very good write-up on pasta, Louise!

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    1. Thank you Cheah. I'm so glad you enjoyed it...

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  8. I have that book by Florence Lin! It's a treasure. We eat so many different kinds of pasta that we actually do refer to it more often than not as pasta (and have for decades). But that's when we're talking about the class of food - when it comes to individual dishes, we mention them by name. Anyway, great post and I've finally decided on what pasta dish I'm going to feature this month - I'll send you details. ;-)

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    1. Isn't it a great book John. I find myself referring to the dish as pasta more often also. It took years though and I think a big influence has been all these "pasta" celebrations, lol...Can't wait to get those details:)

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  9. Hi Louise,
    In my kitchen, when my kids asked what I'm cooking, and when it's spaghetti, I would say "spaghetti", when it is macaroni, that's what I would say, "macaroni". When it comes to fettucini, linguine, penne, etc.... I would always say "pasta" !! Funny, how spaghetti and macaroni seems to have their own rightful place in the world of pasta!
    I was looking at the Pin Interest board, and if you have noticed, I am not very active in Pin Interest! It is all sort of a puzzle to me, even now! I can never figured out lots of stuffs! Maybe, one of these days.... :)

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    1. They sure do Joyce. I think it has a lot to do with advertising. I did notice you were not very active with Pinterest. After the Pasta Party, I will gladly help you if you want. I don;t know much but what I do know I would gladly share with you:)

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  10. I have always been a huge noodle fan, but got introduced to pasta at a much later stage, but now I can't get enough of it, loved reading about the book :-)

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    1. Thanks Suchi. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post:)

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  11. What an informative post, Louise! I can't remember the last time I had bean threads...craving! =)

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    1. Thanks Angela. I'm so glad you liked it. Now go get some bean threads!

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  12. Louise, you are so thorough in your posts! How excellent! I just rather put some words together and throw mine out there!:-)

    I actually had pasta for lunch - angel hair in Baked Spaghetti!

    Happy Columbus Day!

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  13. Dear Louise,
    You are amazing! This post is one of the best. I love all of the recipes and all your info is spot on. Never knew about Asian style pastas. Also, the info on Pinterest is priceless. I thank you so much for this. I have received your email from your post, and I will check into Pinterest today at some point. I know now that I will be able to get it now with your fabulous teaching. Blessing, Dottie :)

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  14. I am too stuffed with Turkey, to read all of this right now!!! hahaha!
    I'll be back tomorrow! To refresh my memory of how to post a pasta recipe!

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  15. Love the pasta history lesson! I do love lo mein, and Thai anything with rice noodles is high on my list too.

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  16. That Asian pasta has my name all over it! Looks so comforting. I want a big bowl right now. Thanks for sharing Louise. :)

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  17. Love this post always think is fun pasta coming first from China but Italian love so much (and all of us) my kids say spaguettis and sometimes fight spaguetti, noddles,
    say the other or capeletti, but I love all! xo

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  18. One of the favorites food of the twins is a chines soup with noddles that they make ! They love to eat at nigth sometimes!

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  19. Hi Louise , there are so many great pasta dishes and I love all Asian style pasta dishes , this post was so full of useful information , the pintester information was very useful , as soo as I get some of the kinks out , hopeful soon , I will be flying high again , thanks for sharing this wonderful post :).

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  20. I already followed you on Pinterest , right ?! Will check it out after this :D ! I love both pasta and noodles but the later seems a lot easier to cook !

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  21. I made pasta on Friday night, but then had 128 pages of crap-o-la to read for the accountant yesterday and didn't get to the posting. Can I linkup to some of my past posts? I only have about 4 pasta recipes up my sleeve.

    You'd have laughed at me. My UPS driver, Dave, was telling me about how well my neighbor cooks Italian food (they're both Italian), and I told him that (1) I had no idea what the two dishes he mentioned even were, and (2) I don't even like red sauce. To the latter, he exclaimed, "It's not sauce! It's gravy! My father makes gravy every Sunday, and it takes 8 hours!" Here and I thought gravy was the brown glop men love on their meat and potatoes.

    Happy Belated Columbus Day, Louise!

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  22. Interesting, and informative, as always. And now you have me craving Lo Mein!

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  23. Hi Lousie,

    Sorry that I have cooked any interesting pasta this weekend to be part of your party :p

    You are right that the Chinese style la main is quite similar to fresh pasta texture... But, are you considering Chinese noodles as pasta too??? Lo mein = pasta??? Finding this correlation a little true but strange :p

    Zoe

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  24. Louise, it is always so interesting to read your posts! I saw on that pinterest board my Greek Pasta salad and I was so glad. Thanks for sharing all these details for the pasta event. I will go on pinning more pasta dishes! Have a great Wednesday!

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  25. Hi Louise, excellent posting. Thanks for the wonderful info of pasta and noodles, great for one pot meal when we run out of idea what to cook. :)

    Thanks for sharing the delightful recipes. Have a lovely weekend.

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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