When many people think of pasta, Italy instantly comes to mind. Noodles have a history dating back thousands of years, but according to history.com, the first written record of a tomato sauce and pasta recipe is from a French cookbook published in 1797. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Italians added tomatoes to their diet on a large scale. Pasta has a place in American history as well because farmers in the 1920s used pasta as a marketing campaign for wheat. During the Great Depression, pasta became a staple in households because it was filling and inexpensive. Here in Fayetteville, though, say the word “spaghetti” and most people think Greek because for more than half a century, the local Greek congregation has served this delicious dish as a fundraiser.Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church presents the 58th annual spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
For days leading up to the spaghetti dinner, volunteers labor in the kitchen making both pasta and pastries. The recipe is the same as the one that was used for the first spaghetti dinner. “We serve about 10,000-12,000 boxes of spaghetti, and the city knows about us because we have been very consistent,” said Litsa DaRosa, secretary of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church.
“This thing started over 50 years ago and is a fundraiser for the church,” said John Bantsolas, president of Parrish Council. “It started out small as an eat-in dinner and it evolved into carryout.” Bantsolas added that not only do they sell spaghetti, the ladies prepare homemade Greek pastries that people can purchase when they come in.
The funds raised this year will be used for various organizations such as the local Red Cross, Autism Society of Cumberland County, Second Harvest Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, Vision Resource Center, The Salvation Army and others. “The money also helps our church,” said DaRosa.
“We invite everyone to come out and enjoy a spaghetti dinner,” said Bantsolas.
The cost of the spaghetti box is $7. For more information call 484-8925.
Did you know?
Italy produces almost 3.5 million tons of pasta a year. The U.S. produces about 2 million tons.
The U.S. consumes 2.7 million tons of pasta while Italy consumes about 1.5 million tons.
Pasta was first referenced in a book in 1154, but it is believed that the Chinese were eating pasta as early as 5,000 B.C.
There are more than 600 types of pasta. The three most popular are penne, spaghetti and macaroni.
Dried pasta doubles in size when it is cooked.
Many give Thomas Jefferson credit for bringing macaroni to the U.S. after he tried the dish in Naples, Italy and fell in love with it.
The first American pasta factory was in Brooklyn, New York. It opened in 1848.