Pot luck for pasta masters

01.04.33: A 900-YEAR-OLD earthenware cooking pot has thrown food historians into a quandary over the origins of pasta - and may throw new light on the diet of the 12th-century English.

The find, made by a 10-year-old boy digging for whelks in Southend-on-Sea, is being studied by historians at the University of East Anglia. They have confirmed that the pot is not, as was first thought, a vessel used to store holy relics. It is, in fact, an ancient lasagne dish.

It had been thought that Marco Polo, the 13th-century explorer, introduced pasta to Europe when he brought noodles back from China. The Italians then substituted durum wheat for rice. But now it seems that pasta was first invented by the English.

Scientists have used a new molecular scanning device to establish that the pot contains traces of durum wheat. But sceptics argue that radiation may have altered the clay's structure. KB

Go to -