How I’m not going to let the backlash get me down
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
First Atkins, and now gluten-free: my beloved pasta has experienced several vicious push-backs since 2001’s meteoric rise of the now less-popular low-carb diet, and the currently wildly popular grain-free trend. It makes me wonder; if we don’t all stand up and say we love pasta, then what next? Will pasta police come in the night to swipe our spaghetti, confiscate our cannelloni, or recall our rigatoni? I don’t want to find out, so I’m taking a stand and making a statement: I love pasta!
According to the International Pasta Organization (IPO), pasta in some form has been in existence since the time of the Ancient Etruscans, who lived in the area now known as Tuscany, around 760 BC. These ancient Italians “made pasta by grinding several cereals and grains and then mixed them with water, a blend that was later on cooked producing tasty and nutritious food product.”
Pasta was created and re-created several times over the centuries, and was popular due to its long shelf-life and easy transportation. You could say that pasta formed the backbone of Italian civilization; a society dedicated to cured meats, flavourful cheeses, and fresh tomato sauces. According to the IPO’s World Pasta Industry Report, Canada produced 170,000 tons and Canadians consumed 6.7 kilograms of pasta per capita—a number that is sure to rise once more people come out with their love of this dinnertime classic.
You can love pasta for its rich history, its portability, or, like I do, simply for its divine and unpretentious flavour. I like my pasta all ways, from my mom’s complicated-yet-legendary lasagna, to a plain al dente bowl of rotini with butter. I like pan-fried gnocchi and zucchini, I like orzo in turkey soup, and I love me some deli-bought, mayo-laden macaroni salad.
Whether hot or cold, saucy or simple, over-cooked or standing up (in piedi), pasta needs you and I’m here to take a stand for this starchy staple. Just like the Ancient Etruscans loved proto-pasta for its accessible nutrition, students all around the world praise this cheap, packaged product for its ability to fill your boots on a budget.
Pasta is also super-versatile: store-bought sauces can be punched up with herbs and veggies (I like adding fried mushrooms to my Alfredo sauce), and cooked pasta can be stored in the fridge for up to three days. Just make sure you store it in an airtight container, because pasta’s delicate nature means that it can absorb other flavours from the fridge. To reheat the pasta, simply boil water and pour it over the cold pasta in a colander. Presto, delicious!
So do me a favour this weekend: make a pasta dish, and take back this ancient sustenance from the evil forces that would have you believe that it is bad for you. Boil your pasta to your desired tenderness, slather it with delicious sauce, and top it all off with fresh herbs and cracked black pepper. Your taste buds will thank you.