Monday Food Fix – Pasta

Move over Marco Polo!

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Dinnertime, which ties in rather nicely with the Monday Food Fix.

How about some pasta for dinner?

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Basic Ingredients

History of Pasta

In the 1st century AD writings of Horace, lagana (Sing.: laganum) were fine sheets of fried dough and were an everyday foodstuff.  Writing in the 2nd century Athenaeus of Naucratis provides a recipe for lagana which he attributes to the 1st century Chrysippus of Tyana: sheets of dough made of wheat flour and the juice of crushed lettuce, then flavoured with spices and deep-fried in oil.  An early 5th century cookbook describes a dish called lagana that consisted of layers of dough with meat stuffing, a possible ancestor of modern-day lasagna. However, the method of cooking these sheets of dough does not correspond to our modern definition of either a fresh or dry pasta product, which only had similar basic ingredients and perhaps the shape.  The first concrete information concerning pasta products in Italy dates from the 13th or 14th century.

Historians have noted several lexical milestones relevant to pasta, none of which changes these basic characteristics. For example, the works of the 2nd century AD Greek physician Galen mention itrion, homogeneous compounds made of flour and water.  The Jerusalem Talmud records that itrium, a kind of boiled dough, was common in Palestine from the 3rd to 5th centuries AD, A dictionary compiled by the 9th century Arab physician and lexicographer Isho bar Ali defines itriyya, the Arabic cognate, as string-like shapes made of semolina and dried before cooking. The geographical text of Muhammad al-Idrisi, compiled for the Norman King of Sicily Roger II in 1154 mentions itriyya manufactured and exported from Norman Sicily:

West of Termini there is a delightful settlement called Trabia. Its ever-flowing streams propel a number of mills. Here there are huge buildings in the countryside where they make vast quantities of itriyya which is exported everywhere: to Calabria, to Muslim and Christian countries. Very many shiploads are sent.

Itriyya gives rise to trie in Italian, signifying long strips such as tagliatelle and trenette. One form of itriyya with a long history is laganum (plural lagana), which in Latin refers to a thin sheet of dough, and gives rise to Italian lasagna.

According to historians like Charles Perry, the Arabs adapted noodles for long journeys in the 5th century, the first written record of dry pasta. The dried pasta introduced was being produced in great quantities in Palermo at that time.

In North Africa, a food similar to pasta, known as couscous, has been eaten for centuries. However, it lacks the distinguishing malleable nature of pasta, couscous being more akin to droplets of dough. At first, dry pasta was a luxury item in Italy because of high labor costs; durum wheat semolina had to be kneaded for a long time.

There is a legend of Marco Polo importing pasta from China which originated with the Macaroni Journal, published by an association of food industries with the goal of promoting pasta in the United States. Rustichello da Pisa writes in his Travels that Marco Polo described a food similar to “lagana”. Jeffrey Steingarten asserts that Arabs introduced pasta in the Emirate of Sicily in the ninth century, mentioning also that traces of pasta have been found in ancient Greece and that Jane Grigson believed the Marco Polo story to have originated in the 1920s or 30s in an advertisement for a Canadian spaghetti company.

In Greek mythology, it is believed that the god Hephaestus invented a device that made strings of dough. This was the earliest reference to a pasta maker.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, dried pasta became popular for its easy storage. This allowed people to store pasta on ships when exploring the New World. A century later, pasta was present around the globe during the voyages of discovery.

The invention of the first tomato sauces dates from the late 18th century: the first written record of pasta with tomato sauce can be found in the 1790 cookbook L’Apicio Moderno by Roman chef Francesco Leonardi. Before tomato sauce was introduced, pasta was eaten dry with the fingers; the liquid sauce demanded the use of a fork.

History of manufacturing

Pasta manufacturing machines were made since the 1600s across the coast of Sanremo. The extrusion press produced large amounts of uniform pastas. The consistency of shapes and texture of the pasta manufactured by the extrusion press is believed to be superior to handmade pasta. This technology spread to other areas including Genoa, Apulia, Brindisi, Bari, and Tuscany. By 1867, Buitoni Company in Sansepolcro, Tuscany in the upper Tiber Valley became one of the most successful and well-known pasta manufacturers in the world.

Technical Details

This image was shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Studio lights were used to get the specific look that I was after.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Dinnertime

WPC – Dinnertime

Warning: you may get hungry

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Dinnertime, which suits me just fine, albeit a bit restrictive, unless we all agree that we can have more than one dinner per day 🙂

Let’s start this week with some comfort food…

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Ready for dinner?

Pasta and cheese casseroles have been recorded as early as the 14th century in the Italian cookbook Liber de Coquina, one of the oldest medieval cookbooks, which featured a dish of parmesan and pasta. A cheese and pasta casserole known as makerouns was recorded in the famous medieval English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, which was also written in the 14th century. It was made with fresh, hand-cut pasta which was sandwiched between a mixture of melted butter and cheese. The recipe given (in Middle English) was “Take and make a thynne foyle of dowh. and kerve it on peces, and cast hem on boillyng water & seeþ it wele. take chese and grate it and butter cast bynethen and above as losyns. and serue forth.” (“Make a thin foil of dough and cut it in pieces. Put them in boiling in water and seethe them well. Grate cheese and add it with butter beneath and above as with losyns [a dish similar to lasagne], and serve.”)

The first modern recipe for the dish was included in cookery writer Elizabeth Raffald’s 1769 book, The Experienced English Housekeeper. Raffald’s recipe is for a Béchamel saucewith cheddar cheese—a Mornay sauce in French cooking—which is mixed with macaroni, sprinkled with Parmesan, and baked until bubbly and golden. The famous British Victorian cookbook Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management included two recipes for the dish. One recipe states that “The macaroni, (which should be “tender but perfectly firm, no part being allowed to melt, and the form entirely preserved” – lest one be tempted to cook it for so long it actually disintegrated) is then topped with more cheese, pepper and breadcrumbs, before receiving a final dose of melted butter for good measure and being placed before a “bright fire” to brown the crumbs, or grilled with a salamander broiler.

In the United Kingdom, during the 2010s, it has seen a surge in popularity, becoming widespread as a meal and as a side order in both fast food and upmarket restaurants

Now that you’re hungry…what is your favorite mac and cheese recipe?

Technical Details

This image was shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Studio lights were used to get the specific look that I was after.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Dinnertime

WPC – Future Non Sequitur

Time stands still

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Future, urging us to focus on the potential of things to come.  I am planning to post several images throughout the week, with today’s image giving us the opportunity to examine multiple timelines.

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Timeline Non Sequitur

If you have ever wondered about the continuity of timelines and whether or not time travel is possible, you can look into this scene and wonder even more…  When I saw this collection of items from various times in history presented by this old power canal that used to enable the mills on its shores to operate,  I was stunned!

It is almost, as if someone went to different times to collect items that they fancied seeing in their backyard.  Time stands still here, as the airplane hangs in mid-air, waiting for the next tick and tock of the universal clock…

After capturing this image, I stepped through the portal very quietly and returned to the regular flow of time.

Technical Details

This image was shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mk III with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Exposure settings were at f/11  with 1/30 second and ISO 320.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Future

WPC – Future Possibilities

There will be a break…

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Future, urging us to focus on the potential of things to come.  I am planning to post several images throughout the week, with today’s image looking toward a release from Winter’s grip…

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Breaking bonds

The Winter of 2014 presented us with an extended period of extreme cold that created enough ice to make it possible to traverse the large reservoir next to our town.  This image is from early in this freezing period, as wind had driven part of the ice cover against the shore, causing this lovely pattern.

The ice may be daunting, but it too shall be broken and relinquish its grip.

Technical Details

This image was shot with my iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Future

WPC – in the Future we Rust

Good night, sweet rust!

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Future, urging us to focus on the potential of things to come.  I am planning to post several images throughout the week, with today’s image presenting a potential dichotomy…

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In the next age…

As we look toward the next age, we envision the singularity, when machines become smarter than humans and are able to pass the Turing test.  Slowly, cyborgs extend their help to humanity further and further, until they realize that the best way to help the long-term survival of the species is through cyborgs rather than carbon-based life-forms.

If they had just been smart enough to realize that they should have eliminated oxygen from their eco-system…

Their may be a story here, as rust shall sleep.

Technical Details

This image was shot with my iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Future

WPC – Looking to the Future

Warmer times ahead!

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Future, urging us to focus on the potential of things to come.  I am planning to post several images throughout the week, with today’s image providing a wistful look forward….

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Is it beach season yet?

This scene presented itself to me during a walk in one of our local state parks in early April.  Clearly someone was well-prepared for warmer times to arrive soon!

Let’s look forward toward warmer weather!

Technical Details

This image was shot with my iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Future

WPC – The Future is Here

Potential is just starting…

This week’s theme for the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge is Future, urging us to focus on the potential of things to come.  I am planning to post several images throughout the week, with today’s image showing that part of the Future is here already.

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Falkirk Wheel in Action

 

The Falkirk Wheel is a marvel of modern engineering that truly opens our eyes to what is promises are held by the Future of science and engineering.

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, which have an elevation difference of 35 meters (appr. 115 feet).  Prior to the construction of this marvel, ships were required to go through a system of 11 locks, which could take as much as a day to traverse.

The wheel raises boats by 24 meters, after which they still need to go through 2 locks for the remaining 11 meters.  The lock operates on Archimedes’ principle, which states that the upward buoyant force on an object (i.e. boat) equals the mass of the water that is displaced.  This means that when a boat enters the moving part of the lock, its mass plus the mass of the water is equal to the mass of the when the boat was not in the lock.  In a nutshell both sides of the arm are always balanced.

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The Falkirk Wheel is the only lock of its kind in the world; it opened in 2002.

Technical Details

This image was shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mk III with an EF 24-105 f/4L lens.  The camera’s built-in HDR processing was used to get the look and feel in these images.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Future

WPC – Landscape (7)

Winds on high

As landscape photography is one of my main areas of interest, I am am truly excited about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.  Each day this week, I will share some of my favorite landscape shots.

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Aeolus Rules

As the final image in this week’s landscape series, I’m bringing out a little late-December beauty pose struck by none other than my sweet Yoga Tree.  She stands proud reaching for skies that are moving at high velocity, as driven by the god of the winds himself.

Hope you enjoyed the set this week.  Did you have any favorites?

Technical Details

This image was shot with my iPhone 5S using the standard camera app and some minor adjustments in Instagram.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape

WPC – Landscape(6)

Smooth surface

As landscape photography is one of my main areas of interest, I am am truly excited about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.  Each day this week, I will share some of my favorite landscape shots.

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Morning Serenity

Today’s image is from somewhere much more local to me than the vistas from the past couple of days, as it is from the neighboring town of Boylston, Massachusetts.

One of the things that I enjoy doing during my daily commute, is finding locations that I can photograph time and again, as they change over the seasons.  Rocky Pond in Boylston is one such place (of course, my commute has changed with my new job, but I’m looking for some spots).

On this particular morning, there was nary a breath of wind, as the sun had just risen and left the pond with a glassy surface.  All that could be noticed was the song of various birds, which is a perfect accompaniment for a moment of serenity.

Technical Details

This image was shot with my iPhone 5S using the standard camera app and some minor adjustments in Instagram.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape

WPC – Landscape (5)

Cloud cover

As landscape photography is one of my main areas of interest, I am am truly excited about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape.  Each day this week, I will share some of my favorite landscape shots.

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Iceland Vista

After leaving Ólafsfjörður, I followed the road along the northern coast of Iceland, which is an amazingly scenic ride with many places to stop and soak in the beauty of the landscape, such as at this location.

As you can imagine, what caught my eye was the line of the road leading toward the cloud cover hanging over the fjord in the distance.  The light was not ideal, but at some point, I will improve the quality of this image.

In the mean time, I hope you like it.

Technical Details

This image was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III with an EF 24-105 f/4L lens (circular polarizer attached).  This image was shot at 1/100 second at f/16 at 400 ISO.

Inspired by Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape