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Stop Telling People You Invented Pasta, Marco Polo!

November 8, 2017 12:45 pm Published by

Oh yes, oh yes, he did travel all the way to China, or at least he claimed he did (scholars still quarrel about this, while slurping their spaghetti and pouring wine on each other’s heads), and he returned to Venice, where his family were well-known swindlers I mean traders, and he got thrown into jail for good measure (not because of anything having to do with China: his notorious trader family was on the wrong side of a local dispute).


When he was in the clink he passed the time away telling his tall tale of travels – and remember that we are not talking about Etihad First Class with your private shower and bedroom atop an A-380: he bloody walked, left-right, left-right, all the way to China and back, twenty-four years and change.

But what’s this about pasta? (The eager reader of the Yaudah Bistro blog is already starting to get hungry for his favorite aglio-olio spaghetti…)

Well you know what outrageous liars prisoners can be, with nothing else to pass the time. ‘I didn’t steal that flat-screen TV: it fell off a truck, and I just happened to catch it. Damn cop wouldn’t believe me.’ And so on.

Marco Polo’s cellmate, Rustichello da Pisa, liked a good story, and wrote out all the amazing tales of the fabulous East (the traders had returned to Venice loaded with loot). This book became a best-seller all through Europe – remember books? No? Those square things made from paper with all the words inside that you used to swat your dog with? Actually it was a manuscript circulated by hand but that’s all they could do in those days.

Noodles were as popular in China in those days as today – they even made them from rice and soybeans. Marco Polo was apparently a gastronome as he spun quite an amazing story about Chinese food. You like Chinese food? Boy do we have great Chinese food. Actually Indonesian-Chinese but that’s how the locals love it.

So if he didn’t invent pasta, who did? The Italians!! Any doubts dispel when you check out the place names of our delicious dishes at Ya Udah Bistro.

Marco Polo even bragged to his scribe that he ate macaroni in China. Now do you see that he is telling a big one?

Look at his route. Is he lost or not? You’d think he had his old lady sitting on a camel behind him, nagging ‘Turn left here. Watch out for that rockslide. Go right over there. No, not that right, you idiot! The right to the left, that’s the one. Now head downhill up that rise over there.’ But he did not. She stayed back in Venice with her <ahem> much younger ‘bodyguard’. (I just made that up, the same way Marco Polo made up a lot of the crap about China that was later proven a blatant lie.)

(Marco Polo, muttering between gritted teeth) ‘Tell that damn portrait painter to hurry it up, the stupid oaf. If I have to stand in this dumb elegant pose for another six months I’ll piss my pants. I’m not paying the lazy prick to turn me into a statue.’

So if he didn’t invent pasta, who did? The Italians!! Any doubts dispel when you check out the place names of our delicious dishes at Ya Udah Bistro.

Bolognese: The ‘City of Baloney’ must have been the original home of this spaghetti or fettucine (come on now, make up your mind, come on, your waitress is getting older and she won’t catch a husband if she grows whiskers and uses a walker). Slathered in tomato sauce sprinkled with minced beef (check out that mincing boycow), blasted with herbs and oregano AND topped off with cheesy cheese from Parma, ‘the UNESCO Gastronomy City’. Yes it’s that hard scratchy pungent cheese that makes your salivary glands yell for mercy.

Carbonara: Well if you are as old and historical as us you’ll remember Palermo as the scene of an extremely nasty shooting gallery between Wehrmacht Übermenschen and dogfaces of the US Army, but today that’s all forgiven and forgotten (Joke Timeout: ‘What’s the first thing you learn in Basic Training when you join the Italian Army? [Slowly raises both hands in the air])

Our ‘Original Palermo Recipe’ Carbonara is made with fresh mushrooms (no, not magic mushrooms Kevin – sit down and enjoy your dinner), a riotous mix of colorful cheeses and bacon cubes (can’t go wrong with bacon, never) in a creamy cream cream sauce.

Aglio e Olio: You’ll have those vampires screaming and scrambling for the exit when you breathe out your foul garlic-laden breath on them, not to mention the chili peppers and real virgin olive oil, served to you by real virgin waitresses (Who said that? Watch it, Buster!)

Obligatory Expat User Warning: ‘Mild’ means your-eyes-brimming-with-tears-hot, especially if you are a paleface Brit or Yank, ‘Medium’ means your taste buds will be screaming for mercy as the sweat pours off your fevered brow, and ‘Spicy’ means THERMONUCLEAR.

Penne Arrabiata A La Cambria: A man-size platter of Penne Pasta al dente (we’re happy to serve man-size women as well, by the way), the way they enjoy it in Calabria. At Yaudah Bistro we prepare it with a Tomato Chili Basilicum Pesto – now there’s a mouthful. There’s a dusting of Parmesan Cheese on top, along with tasty chicken or pork fillet slivers. User Warning: this plate is spicy – not for the faint of heart.

And finally, from neighboring Switzerland, our original Aelpler-Makronen, a meal-in-a-meal, fill you to the brim with macaroni, potato bits and bacon cubes embedded in a tsunami of rich cheese creamy cream sauce; it’s crisp and crusty – baked in an oven.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Marco Polo. You been busted, Sparky.

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