Friday, March 12, 2004

ARAMAIC WATCH. An article on Lasagna in Tandem says the following (my emphasis):
No one is absolutely certain where and when pasta came to be. But there are certainly a slew of theories. There are some highlights throughout history. Etruscan archaeological findings, (found mainly in near present-day Rome) display stucco relieves of several tools used for home pasta-making.
The first certain record of noodles cooked by boiling is in the Jerusalem Talmud, written in Aramaic in the 5th century AD.
Naples became Italy's pasta centre in the 1500s. The King of Naples, Ferdinand II hired an engineer who devised a system where a machine took over the job of kneading and cutting.
It's considered common knowledge that lasagna is an Italian invention and probably got its start during the Ancient Roman era.
That claim went undisputed for centuries until last year, when the BBC reported news that stunned the culinary world: lasagna is British.

Is the bit about the Talmud true? Typically, the article does not give a reference. Does anyone have it?

I had heard years ago that pasta was brought to Italy from the Far East by Marco Polo, but this article says nothing about it and I have no idea if it's really so.

UPDATE: A reader who doesn't give a name points me to messages 441, 448, and 462 on the Apicius (ancient Roman cookery) list. According to the last of these, noodles are mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud in Betza i, 60d; Nedarim vi,39c; and Hallah i, 59d.

UPDATE (13 March): The reader was Justin, The Mad Latinist.

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