I’m sure we’ve all thought about how weird the word lasagna is. I mean, it’s got this weird silent g that still impacts pronunciation! So how did it get such a strange name? I’m sure you’re thinking of all the pasta-bilities. Here’s what I’ve found.
It all starts in Greece. They called chamber pots (essentially toilets) lasanon. They were typically rectangular. The Greeks also called their rectangular, flat pasta a variation of this: laganon. Gross. In Rome, they found out about this and jokingly called rectangular cooking pots and pans lasanum. It caught on a bit more, and Italy took to calling the pots lasagne. Eventually, the pasta used for it got the name of the dish it was cooked in. The food itself was named depending on what it was cooked with, like lasagna rosa (pink lasagna) if it was cooked with tomatoes. Years later, English speakers learned of the dish, and though it was just lasagna, independent of whatever it was cooked with. English is boring.
But you’re left wondering about the food itself. So, where did it come from? Again, we start in Greece. When Rome overthrew them, they adopted some of the local culture and food. The Romans made the dish a bit more decadent, adding some sauce to it. But that’s not the dish we all know and love, is it? The final form of lasagna, the modern kind, originated in medieval Italy. However, some Brits have recently found the first record of a lasagna recipe- written in 1390, it was King Richard II’s cookbook. This has allowed many British people to lay claim to it, or so they think. There are still local legends in Italy, and it is a known fact that most pasta originated from Italy and Rome.
And there you have it. A beef history of lasagna. Pasta la vista! Oh, and before this article is over, make some lasagna. Or buy it. Trust me, it’s worth every penne! Sous you later!
By Jonas Suskey
Online Etymology Dictionary
Food Facts and Trivia
Culture Cheese Magazine
Image: Taste of Home