Don’t forget your secret ingredient to make it your own!
A Little General Tomato History
When tomatoes first arrived in Europe they were initially thought to be inedible, and believed to be poisonous.
The English word tomato is derived from the word tomatl, used in the Aztec language.
A Roman chef who lived in the late 1700’s called Francesco Leonardi created this recipe.
The practice of tomato canning was first started by the peasants of Parma, who used to dry tomatoes in the sun, before turning them into sauce.
This tradition paved the way to a widespread network of manufacturing industries, first established in Naples.
When Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889, Raffaele was asked to make them a pizza.
“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”
A whole 300 years after the first tomato was introduced to Europe.
The earliest known recipe for spaghetti in tomato sauce dates back to 1844.
Historians justify the late popularity of the tomato sauce to immigration and the industrial revolution.
In addition, what actually made the italian tomatoes more affordable and widely available, were the improvements in cultivation, processing and exporting.
History of The Tomato In the Middle East.
John Barker, a British consul in Aleppo around 1799 to 1825 introduced tomato cultivation to the Middle East.
The main reason why there was an increase in the use of the tomato in Ottoman cookbooks after 1844.
Today tomato is a widely used ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.
Shanklish is very popular in Syria and Lebanon, and other countries of the Levant.
Arab History in Italy and Its Influence on The Food
Between 827 to 1061, Sicily was under Arab rule.
It was a period of enlightenment, with long lasting cultural, social and economic influences.
After the birth of Islam in the 7th century CE, the Arabic world soon rose to dominate in many fields, such as medicine, mathematics, farming and cartography.
Ziyadat Allah took control over Mazara del Vallo, and the push continued towards Palermo.
The Arabs exploited Sicily’s potential as a wheat producer, introducing a variety of crops, including citrus fruits.
Additionally, dried pasta was first produced by Sicilian Arabs.
Arab pirates known as Saracens had settled and lived for 400 years in Sicily in Southern Italy.
The influence by the Arabs on Italian food is clear.
The Arabs introduced durum wheat to Sicily in the 9th or 10th century.
“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”
Because durum wheat is hard and high in gluten, it helped to store products like pasta and couscous for long periods of time.
This type of wheat also improved the quality of pasta dishes.
The addition of these new varieties of foods also helped in the reduction of the starvation issues during the middle ages.
The food of Pugli, the southern region forming the heel of Italy’s boot, is highly influenced by the Muslim Arabs.
In addition, Arab agriculturalists also introduced the orange tree to Europe, through Sicily.
It is also known that the best oranges come from Sicily!
Fun facts about tomatoes
- Tomatoes are fruits that are easy to grow, a couple of tomato plants will produce great quantities of tomatoes.
- Tomatoes are very rich in lycopene which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men.
- There are over 10,000 varieties of tomato, they come in different colours including pink, purple, black, yellow and white.
- In Ohio, USA, they love tomatoes so much that they made tomato juice the official state drink.
- Tomato seeds have been grown in space.
In Spain, there is a tomato fight festival, called La Tomatina, where more than 40,000 people throw about 150,000 tomatoes at each other.
Pizza Sauce (The Arabic Connection)
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.