Ever wondered what the most popular cuisine in the world is?
How does the classic bangers and mash compare with Coq au vin? In the world food league does a Thai curry come higher than a chili con carne and is a paella top banana or relegation fodder?
Well, thankfully, the argument has been settled. A Yougov poll asked 25,000 people in 24 countries what cuisine they had tried and whether they liked it.
The results didn’t make good reading for Peru and Finland finishing bottom with an approval rating of just 32%
Britain achieved mid table respectability, alongside Taiwan with a 50% approval rating.
But the creme de la crème of cuisine, the cherry on the top of the world food cake and a clear six points ahead of the rest of the world with an 84% approval rating was…..Italy.
Yes pasta takes the biscuit when it comes to global popularity so fittingly with World Pasta Day upon us let’s explore how the likes of spaghetti, ravioli, penne and linguine came to be.
First of all we need to clear up a few myths. Marco Polo did not bring pasta to Italy – clear evidence exists of the food being consumed in Sicily and beyond well before he set off on his epic journey of discovery.
And, contrary to a broadcast by the BBC on April Fools Day 1957, spaghetti is not grown on trees. The spoof actually led to some viewers contacting the beeb for advice on cultivating such trees.
There are over 600 types of pasta –fresh or dried – which generally share the base ingredients of wheat flour, eggs, water and salt before being cut or shaped.
Whilst Italy’s climate is perfect for producing the durum wheat most often used to make pasta, the staple food is now so popular in its native country that wheat has to be imported to meet demand. Italians are the largest consumers of pasta chomping their way through 25kg per person per year. Tunisians come next with 16kg and Venezuela mops up third place with 12kg. The UK consumes a measly 2.5kg per person in comparison though these figures were before lockdown which saw a major increase in pasta consumption with British supermarket shelves running on empty at one stage.
Just remember though that when buying pasta, every penne counts!