Spring Minestrone

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

“The natural progression from boiling water to boiling water with something in it can hardly be avoided, and in most cases is heartily to be wished for.”
– M.F.K. Fisher

The Ligurians invented ravioli, kinda. They claim cooks on ships out of Genoa collected leftovers to pack in little pasta pouches for the next day’s meals. The culinary world seems content to go along with the Genoese and pretend that their 14th century concoction is somehow different from the stuffed pasta envelopes mentioned in a French document dated 1228 or the raviolis mentioned in Venice and England around the same time as the Ligurians were supposedly revolutionizing the putting stuff inside of other stuff industry. Malta’s had a version going back farther still, but the Maltese don’t get conquered as much when people forget their island exists so they won’t be voicing any challenges.

The truth is that we let Ligurians get away with big talk about “their” pasta because we feel sorry for them and nobody really cares anyway. The Basque fishermen kept their favored sites off the coast of ur-Canada a secret and Leif Erickson had shitty PR so the Genoese defaulted their way into discovering America even though people named it after that buttinski Florentine. Eventually, though, it was decided that you can’t discover something that you didn’t know existed so newer text books took away their claim to fame. As a palliative, people figured “Sure. You can have ravioli.”

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