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The term pasta in Italian means paste. Centuries ago primitive people learned that grinding grain and mixing it with water, and then drying the product, resulted in food that could be cooked quickly but also preserved longer than the grain itself.

History is very unclear as to whether pasta originated in the Arabic countries or in China. We know for certain, however, that Marco Polo did not introduce spaghetti to the Italians. Sicilians and Neapolitians were eating macaroni (far more complex to make than spaghetti) for 2000 years before Marco Polo was born. It is more probable that the ancient Arabic mariner, Sinbad the Sailor, in trading with China, discovered their use of dies or presses for extruding their egg cereal grain mixture to make drying easier.

Artifacts discovered in Sicily reveal extrusion dies for pasta were made over 3000 years ago.

The making of noodles is not too difficult a task even for primitive people, since they discovered this method of preserving their cereal grains. Because pasta or noodles are essentially neutral in taste, they are perfect conduits for carrying myriad flavors to one's mouth.