Fresh Fridays

October 17, 2014
Vol. VI No. 20

In This Issue

This is an apt title for a posting about one of the world's favorite foods. Pasta's popularity was officially confirmed in 2011 when Oxfam, as part of their Grow Campaign, conducted a survey of 16,422 participants from a variety of social and economic backgrounds in 17 countries. The survey found pasta to be the world's most favorite food, ahead of meat, rice, pizza and chicken. One reason may be its convenience -- that it is easy to transport, store and cook.

The Industrial Revolution changed the way many products are made, and in pasta's case, made large-scale production possible. Quoted in a BBC article, long-time friend of Oldways Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City College of London, said, "the reason pasta has been particularly successful is because people liked it and the Italian way of life. It's a cultural phenomenon, not an industrial phenomenon. People like the Italian way of life and their simple, staple foods."

Health-wise, pasta is like Mary Poppins -- practically perfect. The pasta meal is a perfect meal on a plate (or in a bowl). It brings together all three macronutrients in a healthy way: low-glycemic carbohydrates (most people don't realize pasta has a low glycemic index, as do the vegetables that keep it company), good fat (extra virgin olive oil), and some healthy protein (beans, fish, lean meat, for example). As long as you're not eating quantities common at an all-you-can-eat pasta bar and instead, sticking with sensible portions, you can't beat a pasta meal for balancing healthy foods on one delicious plate.

Carbohydrates have been taking quite a beating in the media from the fad-diet, pseudo-science fans of diets that ban most if not all carbohydrate foods. It seems that common sense has been thrown out the window. To bring solid science to the forefront, 17 scientists from 13 countries on 4 continents met four years ago in Rio de Janeiro to discuss pasta and health. After two days of presentations and discussion, the result was a Scientific Consensus Statement on Healthy Pasta Meals.

One more reason that pasta was named the world's favorite food could very well be...taste! Pasta, combined with all sorts of great sauces, vegetables, nuts, beans, olive oil and garlic, and even fruit like lemons, is magical. The pasta meal is transformed, depending upon the partner on the plate. It needs no magic from Mary Poppins - the taste is already practically perfect. 

Click on a photo or recipe title below to link to the full recipe. 
Famed for his love of all things foodie, President Obama has previously declared wife Michelle's shrimp linguine as one of his favorite things to eat, along with broccoli (in contrast to an earlier president!). So we've combined the two in this mouth-watering creation fit for a king. Or president. Whichever.


Recipe, photo and content courtesy of International Collection.
This simple dish brings so many flavors together, and is a balanced meal, all in one dish.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of Barilla.
A perfect combination of crunchy vegetables, spices, citrus, extra-virgin olive oil and pasta makes for a fresh-tasting side dish or lunch. 

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of the North American Olive Oil Association.
This recipe uses prawns and cherry tomatoes, but you could use rocket leaves (arugula) and anchovies or strips of chicken just as easily - so delicious, quick, healthy and easy.

Recipe, content and photo courtesy of Positively Good for You.
While couscous is not a kind of pasta, they are both made from durum wheat semolina. And they're both used in similar ways - as the grain base for healthy meals brimming with vegetables, beans, fruits and other good foods.Like pasta, couscous comes in both refined and whole grain versions; look for whole wheat couscous if it's available in your area.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Natural Delights Medjool Dates; content adapted by Oldways from Paula Wolfert's Mediterranean Cooking.

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be. 

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:     

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)        





Let the old ways be your guide to good health and well-being.       



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Nov. 9-11, 2014
 Hyatt Boston Harbor

Misunderstandings and rumors abound in the grain world. We'll cover all the key grain issues, such as:

Is modern wheat different? Who should avoid gluten? What defines a "good carb?" How can I keep my blood sugar from spiking? What makes sprouted grains worth exploring?

Join us for solid science, delicious food, great networking, and more. Sign up today while there are still spaces available.

12 CPE credits for RDs.

By Domenica Marchetti 
Celebrating pasta in all its glorious forms, author Domenica Marchetti draws from her Italian heritage to share 100 classic and modern recipes. No matter how you sauce it, The Glorious Pasta of Italy is sure to have pasta lovers everywhere salivating.

By Julia della Croce 

The author of several books about pasta, Julia della Croce has written the ultimate collection of more than 100 modern and classic pasta, noodle, and dumpling recipes from around the world. The book takes an up-to-date, comprehensive look at one of our most beloved foods in all its various guises, from spaghetti to soba to lasagna to dumplings.


 By Janet Fletcher


In an engaging celebration of one of the food world's happiest marriages, respected author and chef Janet Fletcher offers cooks everywhere over 80 mouthwatering ways to pair pasta with peak-season vegetables and lively sauces. Organized alphabetically by vegetable, the book's appealing suggestions for combining pasta with fresh produce are quick to prepare, light on meat, and rich in flavor -- perfect for time-pressed cooks who want to serve wholesome meals. 

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