A Short History of Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce – Massimo Montanari

Published By: Europa Compass
Pages: 128
Released On: 23/09/2021

Is it possible to identify a starting point in history from which everything else unfolds – a single moment that can explain the present and reveal the essence of our identities? According to Massimo Montanari, this is just a myth: by themselves, origins explain very little and historical phenomena can only be understood dynamically – by looking at how events and identities develop and change as a result of encounters and combinations that are often unexpected.

*****

Thanks to Europa Compass for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I love pasta – who doesn’t? I will eat it wherever I am, but nothing compares to eating proper Italian pasta on the promenade by the lakes in Italy – usually served by a dashingly handsome man. But where did this love come from? It’s not something I’ve really thought of much before, but this really whetted my appetite – figuratively and literally.

It is this kind of book that makes me regret not pursuing history further than year 9 (13-14 years old). It is fascinating to think that something as deceptively simple and well known as pasta could be so complex.

For such an Italian dish, it is interesting to see Massimo travel through Europe and Asia to find the origin. It’s important to remember that in order to find out the most about our pasts, we must look to other cultures.

It is a very factual heavy book, but at a small page count, it is a quick and interesting read that never feels like a slog or an effort to get through.

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