The marriage of tacos and spaghetti was a bonafide fad in 2010. The Nickelodeon show “iCarly” enhanced the nation’s taste for the incongruous pairing of these Italian and Mexican staples. We’re no culinary experts, but we can smell a tasty linguistic opportunity a mile away. What happens when you put these words together? Here’s some, ahem, food for thought.
Spaghetti is an Italian word for “string” or “twine.” The popular pasta is referenced in a later Italian import, the Spaghetti Western, or cowboy film shot in the arid, rustic landscape of Italy. The movies, unfortunately, have little to do with pasta, or string.
Taco refers to a light snack of a corn tortilla filled with spicy meat and salsa, literally meaning ”filling.” While the word is Spanish, the food is indigenous: the Aztecs were noshing on fish tacos when the conquistadores arrived.
The word pasta entered English as the shortening of the Italian pastasciutta, which, somehow, was originally a Greek word for barley porridge with salt (pastos). Italy takes its pasta seriously: according to Italian law, only durum wheat can be used to make dried pasta. Durum gives the pasta the al dente texture that is coveted by aficionados.
For many years it was debated in kitchens from Shanghai to Sicily whether the noodle originated in Italian or Chinese cuisine. Did Marco Polo bring spaghetti to China or did he bring wheat noodles to Italy? China wins the latest round of the debate: Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 4,000-year-old bowl of half-eaten noodles in North China. However, neither culture can take credit for naming noodles, the word originates from the German nudel.
On the topic of foods that kids love, let’s address the classic hot dog question. Is the gross story of how hot dogs got their name true? Click here to find out.