The Abduction of Proserpina, ca 1631. Found in the collection of the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
The Greek Mythological Inspirations Behind Macaroni
By Nick Johnson
Macaroni and cheese has been made for hundreds of years, but despite its popularity, the dish doesn't represent the earliest appearances of macaroni pasta in history. You need to go back thousands of years and travel to the depths of the Underworld to learn about the Grecian history of macaroni noodles.
In ancient Greece, barley-based meals were referred to as makaria, and one particular pasta-adjacent makaria dish became a staple at funerals. Macaria was the name of Heracles’ daughter who was sacrificed to Persephone, and her connection to the goddess of the underworld could have earned the barley-based funeral meal the name makaria.
Though macaroni's name may be derived from Greek mythology, its invention could still be attributed to Italian culture. Using barley to make makaria was first adopted in a Grecian colony called Neapolis (now known as Naples, Italy) when Greek settlers observed locals making the dish.