Fun & Easy Science for Kids
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Mama Mia! Everyone loves pasta. This delicious dish has been around for a long time. People ate it in China 5,000 years ago. Researchers have found evidence that people were eating it in Italy by at least 400 B.C.


Fun Facts

  • The explorer Marco Polo probably didn’t bring pasta back to Italy from China. People had been enjoying pasta in Italy for several hundred years.
  • Thomas Jefferson first tasted pasta when he was on a tour in Europe. He loved it so much that he sent cases of macaroni back to America.
  • We think of pasta as being served with tomato sauces, but pasta has only been eaten this way for the last 400 years. Before that, people probably ate it with vegetables or olive oil.
  • In 1848, Antoine Zerega opened the first American pasta shop in Brooklyn, New York. He made the pasta in his basement and dried it in the sun on the roof.
  • For a long time, pasta was considered ‘peasant food’ because it was so inexpensive. In recent years, fancy versions of spaghetti and macaroni and cheese have made it into a fancier food.
  • Most pasta is made from wheat. Semolina or durum wheats are specific types of wheat used for pasta.
  • Some pasta is made from other grains, such as rice or corn.
  • Spinach, pumpkin, and tomato are sometimes added to pasta. The vegetables add color and nutrition.
  • Pasta on its own is a good source of carbohydrates, which give the body energy, but little else. Pairing pasta with a vegetable sauce makes it much more nutritious.



  1. Macaroni: curved tubes of pasta
  2. Carbohydrate: a source of energy in food


Questions and Answers

Question: Do Americans eat as much pasta as Italians?

Answer: Americans do love pasta, but not as much as Italians. On average, Italians eat about 51 pounds of pasta each year. Americans eat only 15 pounds.


Learn More

Learn how to make spaghetti from scratch.

Tour an Italian pasta factory.



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