If you go to a restaurant and tell the waiter you want to order Pasta, he wouldn't know what to bring you because that's such a broad category with many different choices. In fact, there are over 600 different shapes that can be prepared in more than 350 different dishes. On National Pasta Day on Tuesday, October 17, people around the country will eat some form of pasta to join in with other people around the country who are doing the same thing.

Origin of pasta

Pasta is the Italian word for dough. It is the shape that gives the dish its name. If you love it you should know that it was President Thomas Jefferson who was the one credited with introducing it to America.

He first tasted it in Naples, Italy and loved it so much that he wanted to share it with the America that he loved. In 1789, he brought the first pasta machine back to the United States along with crates of macaroni. Today, the food is a staple in America and has become a favorite around the dinner table because it is so versatile, nutritious, delicious, affordable, and quick and easy to prepare.

So many choices

A person could eat pasta every single day for a week without eating the same dish twice. It can be eaten as a main meal or as a side dish. It can be eaten by itself or in a soup or salad. Also, it can be eaten hot or cold. Popular dishes include spaghetti, lasagna, rotini, tortellini, macaroni, linguine, fettuccine, gnocchi, ziti, ravioli, noodles, manicotti, pastina, penne, radiatori, rotini, and a long list of others.

It has been estimated that the average Italian eats over 60 pounds each year. It is estimated that Americans consume less in comparison. They eat about 20 pounds each year in some form. Altogether, this means Americans consume about 6 billion pounds yearly. This makes it the 6th highest food eaten in the country. People can easily feed their families because many children love it, and it is one of the most affordable meals.

To celebrate National Pasta Day along with others in the United States, enjoy a delightful dish of your favorite meal topped with a delicious sauce and grated cheese. A lot of people love to eat a piece of garlic bread along with the dish. If you are going out to eat, make sure you tell the waiter which pasta you want. If you decide to make your own dish at home, remember to have plenty on hand because your family will more than likely want seconds.

What is your favorite pasta dish? Do you think you eat 20 pounds of it each year?