The Origins of Spaghetti

Mar 6, 2014 by

This article was written by Phin Upham

Pasta has been in use for thousands of years, perhaps for as long as humans have existed. Pasta can trace its origins back to China, Italy and a half dozen other locales, but the precise combination of pasta and marinara may not have come around until the 1600s.

Today, marinara is a staple of Italian cooking. It’s a recipe obsessed over, with entire articles dedicated to crafting the perfect version of the sauce.

Tomato sauce has equally murky origins. Though tomatoes were a product of the New World, they could not have been in Sicily prior to the 15th century. So stories of sailor’s wives with a knack for tomato sauce may be fabricated.

The closest recipe is like a roux made of salted pork fat and tomato puree, but it’s still not exactly close to marinara. There are some accounts that Italians ate their pasta dry until the 17th century, but that may not be right either. We know the Greeks were using olive oil as a dipping sauce in ancient times, so it’s not too far of a stretch to assume Italians were combining it with garlic to eat pasta with oil. Pesto is equally old and likely helped pave the way for red sauce.

The closest recipes to marinara sauce may be as recent as the mid 1800s. The good ol’ plate of spaghetti and meatballs may not have risen to popularity until the 1920s.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website

Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply