Friday, 16 July 2010

Angel hair football coach?

Much has been written recently about one Fabio Capello, and some confusion has arisen about him, many people arguing that he is a kind of pasta and others saying that he is connected in some way with football or some such game.

For an authoritative answer to this question we can turn to that veritable vade mecum of sporting lore, Alan Davidson's Companion to Food, where Capello appears in the plural as:

Capelli d'angelo ('angel hair), capellini ('little hairs'), the thinnest form of the spaghetti family.

So that clears that up. While we are on the subject, let us note the names of a few other kinds of pasta which also have no connection with sport. Skipping those we all know like LASAGNE, MACARONI, VERMICELLI and so on, here are some of the less familiar (in England at any rate) ones:

BIGOLI, a thick spaghetti from Venice; BOMBOLETTI, a short cylindrical form with a smooth exterior; ELBO MACARONI, an American term for short, curved macaroni; LUMACHE, like snail shells; ORECCHIETTI, 'little ears'; SIDANI, a S. Italian sort of macaroni ridged like celery; ZITE/ZITI, a tubular pasta from Naples.

Davidson describes thirty-eight types of pasta. It is easy to see why it is said that 'Surface-to-volume ratio is important; marrying a particular form of pasta to a particular kind of sauce is an art instinctively acquired by Italians from an early age but needing to be learned by others'.

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