Sunday, 10 October 2010

Spaghetti anyone? Made in China .. or does it grow on trees?


Just one brief comment in The Earth’s Crust post by Jannie about the Chinese – “they invented spaghetti, I think”. well ... off I went and yes, to a point they did .. most of us I expect would have said ‘well - Italy’. But come on ... it grows on trees – as we all know ... doesn’t it?!

To add veracity to this statement the BBC in 1957 reported on its current affairs programme, Panorama, a tale of a family in Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from their trees. Well the BBC is renowned for its investigative journalism and it just simply had to be true. A picture appeared on the programme of a woman harvesting the sprouting spaghetti.

Spaghetti Harvest in Switzerland 1957 (above)

A Panorama cameraman had dreamt up the story after remembering how teachers at his school in Austria teased the class for being so stupid, telling them ... if they were told it ... they’d believe spaghetti grew on trees!

The BBC team agreed the spoof and a whole report was dreamt up around the bumper spaghetti harvest, the eradication of the spaghetti weevil, and an erudite discussion on the trees’ breeding programme to achieve spaghetti of perfect length!

Different types of pasta on display in a shop window

Hundreds of people contacted the switchboard and it completely dumbfounded the British public .. and many others .. as like a few of us .. we know it’s April Fool’s Day – but then we forget!

The Director-General of the BBC at the time is quoted as having said “When I saw that item, I said to my wife, ‘I don’t think spaghetti grows on trees’, so we’d looked it up in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Do you know – the Encyclopaedia didn’t even mention spaghetti!”

An amazing story .. but which well and truly hoaxed the world .. the CNN later calling it ‘the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment had ever pulled’. I can’t believe I took cognisance of it in 1957 .. but I do remember later on seeing the picture and thinking that can’t be true ....

So now was Spaghetti invented in China? Well not quite ... but as humans started exploring the huge continent of Asia from their Greek, Roman, Persian, Indian and European bases .. the explorers collected knowledge with which to enrich their masters back home.

It looks like Jannie, and no doubt many other North Americans, were taken in by the Macaroni Journal reprint of 1986, publishing an account of Marco Polo(1254 – 1324) importing pasta from China, with the goal of promoting pasta in the United Sates. Well it seems to have succeeded!

Marco Polo describes a food similar to the Latin word Laganum, which refers to a thin sheet of dough .. possibly heralding the use of the word lasagne, which we know so well today. While spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning "thin string" or "twine".

Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

The truth .. as best it can be ascertained .. seems to be that many different cultures ate some sort of noodle-like food, composed mostly of grain, from as long ago as 4,000 years BC .. while today the cultures continue to adapt and adopt different ingredients to their spaghetti-noodle dishes.


When I found the Macaroni Journal and the Marco Polo legend, it referenced back to a wonderful article about pasta ...which is well worth a read for its evocativeness ... so I quote one passage – as I had no idea the Normans conquered as far south as Sicily – and this passage relays the fact that sightseeing and tourists were a part of life even then, with history being recorded in journals at the same time ...

Sicily at the toe of Italy ..

“In the twelfth century an Arab geographer, commissioned by the Norman king of Sicily to write a sort of travel book about the island, reported seeing pasta being made.

The geographer called it itriyah, from which seems to have come trii, which is still the word for spaghetti in some parts of Sicily and is also current in the name for a dish made all over Italy—ciceri e trii, pasta and chick-pea soup.


Making pasta; illustration from the 15th century edition of Tacuinum Sanitatis, a Latin translation of the Arabic work Taqwīm al-sihha by Ibn Butlan (the Tacuinum Sanitatis is a medieval handbook on wellness,("Maintenance of Health"), an eleventh-century Arab medical treatise.)

The soup reflects the original use for pasta, which was as an extender in soups and sometimes desserts. Serving pasta as a dish in itself with a bit of sauce does seem to be an Italian rather than a Greek, Persian, or Arab invention. (Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, a wonderful book by Edda Servi Machlin, has delicious pasta recipes that show some of the many influences that the Arab world had on Italian food.)”

The article appears in the 1986 version of The Atlantic magazine (see below) (ex Macaroni Journal) .. and I’ve checked the book is still available – it looked so interesting.

So does spaghetti grow on trees? – no ... but it does provide a good story 50+ years on .... and was spaghetti made in China ... probably not ... but the peoples of this world seem to end up utilising their resources in much the same way ..


Boy with Spaghetti by Julius Moser, c. 1808

The ingredients vary .. but that wonderful mix of slurping spaghetti – be it with a fresh tomato olive oil rich sauce, a Genovese pine nut, basil and parmesan pesto, a Mediterranean herby based sauce, or the Bolognese loved by so many .. makes for a delicious meal at any time of the year.





Marinara sauce is an American-Italian term for a simple tomato sauce with herbs—mostly parsley and basil—but, contrary to its name (which is Italian for coastal, seafaring) without anchovies, fish or seafood. In other countries, marinara refers to a seafood and tomato sauce.

There’s sweet spaghetti too .. as evidenced in Mrs Beeton using a sweet custard, or the Arabic mixes of spices and fruits, SuZen of ErasingtheBored blog mentions serving Spaghetti squash to her kids, which I’ve only ever eaten as a vegetable, which as she describes it: They actually LIKED spaghetti squash once I added butter, raisins and a bit of cinnamon.


Liu Xiaobo - the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner

And one last small reference out of the Saturday Times yesterday – the journalist Jane Macartney in Beijing advises that she met Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident, just awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, back in 1987 when he dined at her house.

She says he sat at the head of the table, battling with his stammer and a dish of Spaghetti Bolognese to ensure that every guest could hear his views on contemporary Chinese writing and the Cultural Revolution.

The piece in the Saturday Times 9 October 2010 is titled “China bloggers beat news ban as jailed dissident wins the Nobel Peace Prize” – unfortunately not free to read .. but here’s some more information on an interesting journalist, Jane Macartney.

Spaghetti Bolognese

So bloggers, people wishing to spread the word, and China’s youngest professor .. all of us eat spaghetti in some form or other .. with or without meatballs, with or without custard ... but we do like to get our stories, views and opinions over ...

Long may spaghetti grow on trees to amuse the future generations .. and long may food travel and evolve as much as it has ... as is evidenced from the original Macaroni Journal article in 1929.

Dear Mr Postman .. my mother has been enjoying the Commonwealth Games so we’ve been spending quite a bit of time together, which is good. We’re having incredibly balmy weather at the moment .. it is really lovely being outside ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

68 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

What a delightful and informative post. I love the story of spaghetti growing on trees. Your post made me wonder, does anyone still sell (or even have) Encyclopaedia Britannica? It would be a shame if they didn't.

Glad your mother is enjoying the games and the two of you are having a good time.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mason .. thank you .. I'd forgotten the spaghetti tree .. but when I saw the reference .. I thought here's a post!

Well I do!! .... I have the Encyclopaedia from my Uncle .. all 24 volumes of the 14th edition 1929, first published 1768! I do use it too ...

I think they'd be sold still .. to reference libraries .. but they have been having profit challenges ..

A snippet: Although publication has been based in the United States since 1901, the Britannica has maintained British spelling

It is now on line .. - the 1929 version has some wonderful articles - historically going back in time: the modern articles omit interesting aspects ..

Yes - my mother is enjoying her waking moments .. she does love her sport ..

Thanks Mason - great seeing you here .. have a happy Sunday .. Hilary

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Hilary. Wonderful post. I remember reading in a past issue of Reader's Digest about a spaghetti tree. This had to have been several years ago. I think it was part of several short stories.

Glad you and your mom are enjoying the time together. Have a great week!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Suzanne .. thanks so much. I'm sure it would have featured in Readers' Digest .. seems a fun short article to promote .. I just hadn't come across it in recent years .. April Fool Jokes .. I try and remember the day - then forget and get taken in .. I did this year!!

Yes - we are .. she's enjoying the Games .. which is lovely to be with her and share these times .. Thanks so much - you too have a great week .. Hilary

TALON said...

lol! I think the spaghetti tree is right next to the money tree!

I'm glad you're enjoying a run of fine weather. We are, too, after weeks of rain and unseasonably cold weather. Sunshine sure goes a long way to improving moods!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talon .. so right .. the money tree - I wonder which came first .. ?!

Yes - it hasn't really got cold yet .. in fact a rose is blossoming outside .. if they'd pruned the bush - we'd have a lot more!

Having said that .. the cold weather no doubt is on its chilly way (sadly) ... and yes sunshine and dry weather certainly improve the mood ..

Long may your Indian summer last .. as we all head towards Halloween and season of mists and mellow fruitfulness .. Hilary

Dot said...

Custard? Good grief! I love spaghetti and meatballs, though.

Stephen Tremp said...

We get the BBC news here on channel six. I love the BBC because its so much less biased than U.S. news, which is so sensationalized. And I remember pasta-like dishes originating from China and other places thousands of years ago. I'm so tired I'll have to re-read this most interesting post tomorrow. Just wanted to stop by and say hi.

Stephen Tremp

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dot .. very American then! Spaghetti and meatballs is very US of A. I know I thought custard – yuck .. but then when I read SuZen and spaghetti squash and custard .. why not? Arabic cooking has many sweet and savoury things together .. Interesting how our tastes change over time. Good to see you .. have a great week – Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Steve .. I’m not surprised you’re tired .. you have one amazing goal to aim for .. with many many little ones in between ...

I listen to the BBC - and watch Channel 4 –which is more independent and better, I personally think news wise – I guess you can get that too.

Well enjoy your read sometime when you get back .. and thanks for calling in. You’re right re the pasta like dishes occurring the world over long long ago .. Amazing what the archaeologists unearth and then analyse to be able to tell us how they lived back then .

Thanks for the ‘hi’ .. good to see you .. have a great week, after a good night’s sleep I hope! Go well - Hilary

Soul Dipper said...

I seem to remember a person from England telling me about this spoof. Likely lives on well.

I love spaghetti squash. That reminds me that it's time to have a good feed of roasted veggies from the fall gardens.

Glad your mom and you can enjoy great weather - me too on the West Coast of Canada.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amy .. I'm sure it's done the rounds .. but another airing will bring it briefly back to life ..

I agree -I love spaghetti squash and first time I had it was in the States back in 1976! Roasted veggies .. can do no wrong .. aren't they delicious.

It's glorious again today .. quite wonderful this sunny interlude .. Glad to hear the West Coast of Canada is enjoying some 'spring' too ..

Enjoy the week .. Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

Ahhhh, so that's how Spago's restaurant most likely got its name.

Methinks CNN forgot about the War Of The Worlds -- Orson Welles, as perhaps having been the biggest news hoax ever? Then again, CNN is not noted for great research.

A Medieval health book eh? I suppose there were chapters on leechings and such? And is she making that pasta on an abacus? :)

Bolognaise is so so good -- reminds me I still have to put together my video for you all of me simultaneously blow drying my hair, eating spaghetti and reading blogs. While drinking wine!

xoxo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. sounds like thin string doesn't it .. the name - "Spago"?! Hope it's good ..

Maybe CNN forgot they're a reputable news agency .. or even one??!! I can't remember that hoax .. perhaps it was in the 80s .. ?

You certainly picked up interesting aspects .. re leeches - I regret to say I haven't read it!!

You're right re the look of an abacus .. I just love those old pictures .. they tell us so much .. it was about the same time double accounting was invented!!

Ah I've reminded you .. I didn't want to bring you down from your tree - that video will be some viewing ..

Great seeing you .. hugs to all xoxo Hilary

Connie Arnold said...

What an interesting, informative and enjoyable post, Hilary! I'm so glad we have spaghetti, no matter where it came from, whether it grows on trees or not, I love it! Thanks for sharing the great post.

suZen said...

Hi Hilary! Gosh I must have missed that spaghetti growing on trees - haha! I do enjoy rice noodles (Asian) and Sobo noodles which I think are Japanese. Wonder if Columbus had rice noodels? Maybe he took those back to Italy and they said oh haha we can make these BETTER? Maybe we'll just never know. I'm just glad there are so many varieties today to chose from! I buy strictly organic pasta here since our food supply is laced with GMO's!

Thanks for the mention about spaghetti squash. I love it! And the kids sort of forgot they were eating a vegetable. You can't imagine the thrill I had lately when my grown daughter asked me for the recipe for lentil loaf! (my meatless version of meat loaf). My son hated it but the dog even begged for it. Go figure! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Connie .. good to see you .. thanks so much. Spaghetti is just one of those delicious meals however we serve it .. as long as I have strong tasty cheese with it (preferably Parmesan)!

Glad you enjoyed .. have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi SuZen .. well well! Now you know! It was a really good hoax. Rice noodles .. well that's an interesting thought ..

Many varieties of pasta and noodles .. I have to say I don't know much about Asian or Japanese food .. something I really should address. The different types of pasta are many and varied too .. great choices for various suppers ..

Pleasure about the spaghetti squash .. just struck me as a coincidence and I was going to include spaghetti squash .. so worked in well.

We do change our foodie interests as we grow older .. the lentil loaf sounds delicious .. but I love vegetarian food .. Boys and food? - not straight to his tummy liking! .. I get the dog loved it .. any extra treats!! and a delicious sprinkling of lentils in his doggy bowl .. what could be better?!

Thanks for the great comment - lovely seeing you .. happy week .. Hilary

Talli Roland said...

That while spaghetti spoof story is hilarious - I'd never heard of that before! Spaghetti harvest! Ha!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. it is so funny isn't it .. I'm looking forward to telling my mother about it .. she may remember .. but she'll laugh!

Having spaghetti tonight from your local tree .. ?? Don't work too hard .. snoring husband or not!! .. cheers Hilary

Patricia said...

Oh Hilary this was just a great post and I do remember the spaghetti tree spoof being talked about at school when I was in elementary school...

We use a lot of Chinese Noodles at our house because they a low gluten when made from tapioca flours and sweet potatoes...

Great post and glad to hear the weather is nice for Autumn these days. I actually walked in sunshine this morning!

Together We Save said...

Oh my... how funny, spaghetti growing on trees!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Hilary, thanks for posting some very interesting information about Spaghetti

My mother use to make the best Spaghetti in the world and she was from Texas! My wife is a close second :-)

BTW, did I tell you I love Spaghetti!
:-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. thanks .. glad you remember the Spaghetti Tree spoof .. it was fun wasn't it ..

I can understand you using the Chinese Noodles so they don't irritate your system .. I'm lucky that I can eat everything just about ..

Yes - wonderful early Autumn days we're having .. and lucky you walking in the sunshine .. it's a glorious time of year ..

Lovely seeing you thanks for coming over .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise .. thanks for coming over and glad you enjoyed the fun story .. have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ron .. thanks for coming over .. and enjoying the post .. ok I believe you .. your Mum the best cook before your wife .. seems to make sense!!

Do you slurp too?!

Great seeing you and enjoy your spaghetti meals .. have fun eating them!! Cheers Hilary

Holly Ruggiero said...

I guess that’s why my spaghetti tree never bloomed. I had a great sweet noodle dish with pineapple and in it once. This article got me thinking of a “sweet” bean dessert/drink I had once.

Evelyn Lim said...

You've got me initially. For a while I was puzzled: spaghetti tree? And really, did spaghetti come from China??

Spaghetti happens to be a favorite dish of my children. I like how you have demonstrated that food can travel. Your post is making me hungry!! Meals at home can be anything from the east to the west. I enjoy tasting a nice selection of foods of the world from my own kitchen.

With love,
Evelyn

BK said...

For a while you almost had me; I was wondering if Spaghetti does grow on trees. Hilary, thank you for providing this fun read. :)

Glad to hear that both you and your mother are enjoying time together.

Chris Edgar said...

Wasn't the spaghetti tree broadcast the one narrated by Orson Welles, where ominous pods from outer space fell to Earth and grew into dangerous Daintree Rainforest-style stinging trees? No, the narrator was definitely Chinese.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Holly .. by the sound of it you probably didn't water your spaghetti tree with enough nectar to satisfy the bees' and your sweet tooth??!!

It sounds like you really like your sweet dishes .. sweet noodles with pineapple .. I think would probably be quite nice .. and the sweet bean dessert/drink .. not sure about!!

Thanks for coming by and having some fun! Have a great week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Evelyn .. good!! They're fun stories aren't they .. your kids would love them?!

I'm sure the food in your home is very east and west .. I'd love to visit Singapore and the East one day .. to see and wonder at the 'new to me' foods available.

I suspect you're a very creative home cook.. blending your tastes from your experiences of the world.

Thanks - hope you had something to satisfy your hunger pangs .. lovely seeing you here .. with love to you and the family .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BK .. thanks .. I just loved the way foods travelled .. but actually were probably just adaptions to the local plants available .. with the different glutinous content ....

Just so pleased to hear you enjoyed it .. and yes thank you .. we're both well and enjoying time together .. Have a great week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chris .. you had me thinking there .. I suspect it was someone from Alberquerque or nearby .. talking away so the world can start to hear her .. and it was a woman ..

Spaghetti a spoof ... woman - not a spoof .. and your interview was great .. loved it.

Thanks Chris .. as always you've taken the comment to another level .. Orson Wells .. had such a wonderful melodious voice ..

Have a wonderful rest of the week .. Hilary

R.S. Mallari (SpK) said...

One of the universal foods I guess is spaghetti. I really have read your article "string" by "string."

Now I am hungry. You did your research very well Hilary.

And so the capcha... spells "astring"
what a coincidence.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_xo7GHwtzerc/TLQk1P67hGI/AAAAAAAAAxY/lUbQk0rBdKE/s512/astring.png

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi RS .. great to see you here .. wonderful comment .. and then you get astring as your captcha ..

Coincidences .. and as you say you're hungry .. my tummy rumbles! Oh well .. Spaghetti later on perhaps ...

Thanks - lovely comment ..

The string thing added the extra line .. odd .. but oh well!

Have a great rest of your week .. Hilary

Joanne said...

Don't you just love the stories behind common, everyday things? They are really fascinating. I like my spaghetti with just a plain tomato sauce and a little ricotta, and if a spaghetti tree did exist, I'd like to plant one in my backyard! Cheers to pasta :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joanne .. exactly .. it's so interesting learning how things came about.

I love spaghetti all ways .. but with a simple plain fresh tomato sauce - too delicious .. I think I'd add feta, or parmesan .. probably parmesan .. but with a fresh green salad to go with it - so simple yet wonderful.

Love the idea of a spaghetti tree in the backyard ..

Thanks - great seeing you and cheers too .. Hilary

Sara said...

Hilary -- This was such a fun post. I loved this line, "as like a few of us .. we know it’s April Fool’s Day – but then we forget!" What a great April Fool's Joke BBC did with the spaghetti...I know I would have fallen for that:~)

I'll have to take Suzen word about hte spaghetti squash. I'm not a big fan of squash.

I'm please you and your mom are enjoying the balmy weather...may it stay you for a bit longer:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. thank you .. I got completely hooked this year by Writer Dad .. and honestly for a week or so .. thought what's going on .. mind you I had masses of other things going on around me - so perhaps not surprising!

We do get taken in so easily sometimes! .. The old days were the good days - when they were able to publish ridiculous things for the one day .. and no-one minded .. now .. oh oh ...

I love squash .. but custard and squash .. and I love north African, Arabic-Persian tastes to food ..

The weather is glorious .. it's bucketing with rain down in the Mediterranean I gather! We're on the cooling slope here I'm afraid - but it has been lovely ..

Thanks for the thoughts .. cheers to you .. Hilary

The Exception said...

Hi Hillary –
Okay, I confess, some of the best spaghetti I have had was actually spaghetti ice cream in Freiberg, Germany!! It was delicious and not easily found form what I can tell!!
This was a fun post. My daughter and I are great Italians with a taste for fresh pasta and the most simple sauces. There is a huge difference between fresh pasta and the dried variety – no comparison. And if you are ever in DC… and craving pasta – I can tell you where to go!!
Love this post – and yes I thought it was the Chinese that created pasta… Thanks for the information.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. I saw a reference to spaghetti ice-cream .. but by the time I'd gathered the other info .. eg the Nobel Peace Prize Winner .. I rather let it slip icily past!

I hadn't 'twigged' you were both Italians .. well if one is - I guess the other is? n'est pas?!

I know .. I didn't bring in fresh v dried .. and there is a huge difference .. I usually have fresh .. and that Macaroni article brings that out too ..

& OK when I get to DC .. I'll definitely be in contact and maybe we can go together ..?!

Thanks .. well as long as it amused and entertained .. that's all I worry about .. because I love seeing everyone and their comments ..

Great - have a lovely week both of you .. Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

Hey, Hils -- just dowm from my tree a moment to say "Hi!"

Apologies to CNN, I have bones to pick with them in general, sorry to bring it up on your uplifting blog.

Actually, I erred -- the War of The Worlds was a radio show that caused great grief, maybe not a news show. About Martian invasion. Listeners thought was real.

Having spags bolognaise tonight -- yum, yum. Picked the noodles this a.m.

xoxoxo

BB sends everlasting love.

J.D. Meier said...

That's a great reminder to believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

Good job digging to the bottom of the hoax.

It's a shame though, I wouldn't mind planting a spaghetti tree, right next to my money tree.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm so glad your Mum is doing well and that you are having nice weather. :)

Great post! I love the thought of spagetti growing on trees...I could so see this as a picture book topic. :-o

Davina Haisell said...

Hilary, this was a really fun post! Loved it. So funny that people would actually think spaghetti grew on trees. Just goes to show how much power the media has over us, eh?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. glad to see you have time to get down from your tree .. thought you'd be there for ever directing and conducting all your projects .. praying that BB and his pals would help?!

So I wait for .. in your words:

reminds me I still have to put together my video for you all of me simultaneously blow drying my hair, eating spaghetti and reading blogs. While drinking wine! - with flax seed in .. I see from Patricia's blog ..

I just was 'lost' re the CNN and Orson Wells .. missed so much in South Africa .. because the news etc was so poor .. Ah - it was the reading of the War of the Worlds .. I've heard parts from it .. one day I must listen to the whole .. it's an excellent book.

Spag Bol last night .. am sure it's good .. and you picked noodles for it .. JD would like a cutting or seed from your tree ..

Lovely seeing you again ... and having everlasting love from BB - special Managimints person.

Bye and hugs .. hope you're all sleeping tight .. xoxox Hils

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. that's a good thought .. to believe half what we see, and none of what we hear .. so often people just believe - without any thought.

Thanks .. the hoax was Wikipedia-laid out for me .. cannot take any credit! Just bringing it to your attention for another outing on my small universe!!

Me too .. I asked Jannie to send you a seed of her noodle tree .. if it works please send me one over! Happy dreams .. money trees and noodle trees together in happy harmony .. lovely seeing you here - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sharon .. yes it is comforting to know that all is well up at the Nursing Home .. and we can have some good times together ..

Ah .. you've taken the spaghetti tree one stage further .. a picture book .. creative thoughts .. that's what we all need ..

Great to see you .. have a wonderful day .. Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Hilary, a 90 year old friend of mine recently had a stroke which paralyzed her right side. Doctors say this is the reason she does not recognize people who visit her in hospital. I sense she actually does recognize voices. Twinkles in her eyes and deliberate winks speak volumes. Spending moments with those you care about remind you to make the most of time.

By the way, certain kinds of speghetti do grow off cupboards. You may know people who throw strands up on the wall to test whether it is cooked. People create the experience they believe. If you sense money grows on trees, you are more likely to come across a money tree. Remember Enid Blyton's enchanting stories? Many intriguing things grow off the magic Faraway tree. What you do not believe in is less likely to appear or cross your path. Nurture the imagination and it continues to expand. Extinguish the creative fire within and you douse water on the idea that anything is possible. Myths emerge from the mist.

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

No one gets to claim spaghetti then?

Too bad.

Thanks for giving us an interesting noodle of history (as always)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. sorry - your post must have slipped through the abacus .. as Jannie called it ..

It is fun to remember and talk about - a couple of kids were totally bemused by the tale - saying surely not?! Then you were taken in .. oh yes I say ... easily done!

At times .. certainly the media does pull or push us .. and probably more so in its dumbing down on items.

Still at times .. it can be fun .. thanks lovely seeing you here - thought you would be .. so not sure where comments disappear to sometimes ..

Enjoy Thursday when it reaches you .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. that's great that your stroked friend can communicate with a wink and a twinkle .. twinkle such a lovely word. I'm pleased you can feel her connection .. I'm sure it's there. My mother certainly appreciates my time with her .. and as you say make the absolute most of the time we have available for life ...

Does it grow off cupboards? Having been lovingly planted there?! I am certain small boys would toss some spaghetti strings around to see if they'd make a lovely gloopy slidy mess down the wall ..

Is the gelatinous state of the spaghetti or noodle defined by its stickability?? Then it's cooked?

You're right we do create our own experience .. I remember being entranced by all the fairy stories as a kid .. and I must have read the magic of her fantastical books .. Faraway Tree and other tales ..

But those with children can experience them again .. but you've reminded me and I must have another read of them - thank you!

Belief in and nurture of the imagination, as you say, it certainly continues to expand and lead the way to new opportunities.

Thanks for reminding us all - we need to open our hearts and our minds ..
lovely seeing you here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. I guess Canada could have a go - at claiming spaghetti as their original produce? Or as TE mentions above .. ice-cream spaghetti perhaps? - might be more appropriate.

Hope your class of kids enjoy the story sometime .. and that clever comment ..

Have a great rest of the week .. Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

I started reading this the other day, but didn't get to finish (had to get ready to work). I had the window open but then my computer needed to be restarted and I didn't come back until now.

What a funny story. When people see or hear something as news or have photo "proof", it's hard to believe it's wrong. I have a hard time teaching children that news can be biased. Or in this case, funny.

I love pasta. Just love it. I read Heat by Bill Buford. He spent many months in Italy learning how to make pasta. I was a little jealous.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. great to see you .. I do that too .. sometimes I just don't get back.

Good for you to encourage the children to think the news through .. and think about what came before or what may come after .. and why perhaps it's happening .. I love this story .. and perhaps it's more pertinent now - in that it teaches kids that spaghetti doesn't come from a shop.

I didn't know about Bill Buford - sounds interesting .. I may just get one of his books ... interesting journalist .. and I love this sort of book - teaching while telling a story ..

Thanks Theresa .. lovely seeing you .. have a lovely weekend .. Hilary

Short Poems said...

Hi Hilary
Thanks for sharing with us an interesting post about noodles :)
Love your writing!
Take care
Marinela x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marinela .. thanks so much .. it was a fun write up - but so much information .. who'd have thought it?! Still oodles to say about noodles!!

Thanks for the lovely words .. have a great Sunday .. and you too look after yourself .. Hilary

Sibyl - alternaview said...

Another good one Hilary. So interesting. I have to admit I knew absolutely nothing about the origin of spaghetti and the spaghetti tree before I read this post. I really love consuming all this great information from your site. I always have so many good things now to share during dinner conversations. I will bring this one up when we have spaghetti :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sibyl .. thanks for coming over .. and I hadn't thought about this blog providing snippets of interesting information for dinner/supper parties - another thought to add to the mix.

Well I know it does provide me with rather a lot to say .. should be interesting to see what's said .. I wonder how many remember the spaghetti tree ..

Enjoy your dinners and this weekend .. Hilary

Vered said...

Tonight for dinner: spaghetti and meatballs! Which is a very American dish, I think. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Vered .. absolutely American .. but we do have them here! We used to and probably still can get them in cans - disgusting! Good standby for camping though ..

Great to see you - hope you enjoyed your dinner?! Thanks for coming over - Hilary

Tony Single said...

This is just so brilliant, Hilary! And I actually know about that BBC hoax from a doco I saw back in my college days. It's amazing how we will buy into something if it's told to us in a confident enough manner by a reputable source. Hilarious! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tony .. well it brought back some memories for you .. college days! How right you in your comment - we will buy into something if it's told to us in a confident enough manner by a reputable source ..

Loved that you thought it hilarious .. Great to see you back .. hope all's easier and well now .. Thanks for the visit .. Hilary

Paul Martin said...

Sorry to go off topic, but I have to ask you... about the BBC... as someone who probably gets to hear more of it than I do…

I was worried when I heard about a year ago that Rupert Murdoch had bought the BBC.

I get part of my news from BBC - the best, most reliable part. But I'd swear I've noticed a change for the worse in recent months: more laughing it up to be entertaining and more following and repetition of those most sensational stories that all the rest of the media spends its time following, most recently the Chilean mining thing...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paul .. not a problem. First Murdoch hasn't bought the BBC - it's publicly owned: "The BBC is a 'public corporation': neither a private corporation nor a government department. The high ideal is that it is held in trust for the public of the UK by the BBC Trust"

You're right .. it has become much more Facebook and Twitter oriented. Everything in bite size pieces .. especially the tv news.

It's not as sensationalist as the American news channels .. as someone from the States recently mentioned.

I watch Channel 4 news usually .. it is independent and pretty investigative .. http://www.channel4.com/news/ I don't know if you can get it? Interesting to know once you've tried .. thanks.

I do listen to Radio 4 on the BBC -
http://www.channel4.com/news/ Not sure if you can get this .. because of the Licence Fee?

BBC World Service has some wonderful pieces and covers world news .. but is very interesting service ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/ again there may be a different website for access from overseas.

I did hear this morning that the BBC is adding a lot of 'propaganda' into its broadcasting regarding the economic cuts that are being proposed by the Government this week .. trying to explain what's happening - and encouraging anyone who isn't already computer literate to get on line .. because there's more information there.

They have built story lines into soaps about divorce, gays etc ..

Anyway .. let me know what you think .. you can email - you have it I think .. full name (no hyphen) at gmail.

Thanks good to hear from you .. Hilary

Paul said...

Yes, I've always liked it a lot too and still do but have notice similar changes. About a year ago I absolutely heard a reporter announce, either on BBC or NPR, that they'd been bought by Rupert Murdoch. Hope you're right and that the reporter had that wrong.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paul - no he definitely hasn't bought the BBC!!

Murdoch's been trying to buy something .. can't remember what now .. the Monopolies Commission keep an eye on things ..

Cheers Hilary