Monday, October 25, 2021


Pasta Names

Oretta Zanini De Vita, Popes, Peasants, and Shepherds: Recipes and Lore from Rome and Lazio, tr. Maureen B. Fant (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), pp. 4-5:
The same holds for pasta: poverty and imagination lay behind the proliferation of all the many types that changed name from town to town: the stracci of one become fregnacce of another, and the Sabine frascarelli differ little from the strozzapreti of the Ciociaria, the region's southern hinterland. The popular imagination gave whimsical names to the simple paste of water and flour, and only rarely eggs, worked with the hands or with small tools. Thus we have cecamariti (husband blinders) and cordelle (ropes), curuli, fusilli (also called ciufulitti), frigulozzi, pencarelli, manfricoli, and sfusellati, as well as strozzapreti (priest stranglers), the lacchene of the town of Norma and the pizzicotti (pinches) of Bolsena, while the fieno (hay) of Canepina has, accompanied by paglia (straw), been absorbed into the repertory of the pan-Italian grande cucina. All these pastas were served with much the same sauce, plain tomato and basil, though on feast days, pork, lamb, or beef would be added.
See also her Encyclopedia of Pasta, tr. Maureen B. Fant (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009), p. 117 (s.v. fregnacce):
The term fregnaccia in the dialect of Rome and Lazio means "pack of lies, silliness, trifle" and emphasizes the simplicity of the preparation. It comes from the dialect word fregna, meaning "female genitals." It is curious to note how often popular terminology for pasta, an important dish in the everyday diet, makes reference to sexual organs: along with fregnacce, there are cazzellitti (see entry), pisarei (see entry), and others. All of them are in addition to the many pasta terms that refer to things, animals, or general words of disparagement.

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