October 22, 2008

Wheat Foods Council Explores Pasta Around the Globe With ‘World of Pastabilities’

PARKER, Colo., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of World Pasta Day on Saturday, October 25th, the Wheat Foods Council explores pasta's global influence with World of Pastabilities. Beginning in October, people can get a "taste" of pasta in a variety of ethnic cuisines via educational information and authentic recipes for Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, North African and Russian pasta dishes at http://www.wheatfoods.org/ .

"World of Pastabilities challenges people to think outside of what they traditionally consider pasta and discover how others around the world consume the popular grain food," said Marcia Scheideman M.S., R.D., president of the Wheat Foods Council. "No matter the country or cuisine, pasta is a nutritious, delicious and economically efficient food and a sizeable amount of that pasta is made with durum wheat grown right here in the United States."

At http://www.wheatfoods.org/, people can taste pasta as it is enjoyed in other countries and cultures through the following recipes: Spiced Couscous (North Africa), Shrimp Fideos Soup (Mexico), Sausage with Fettuccini (Italian), Pasta with Shrimp and Feta (Mediterranean) and Beef Stroganoff (Russian). Visitors will also find pasta information, including the wheat from which it is made, its history, nutritional content and proper preparation.

Pasta, an Italian word meaning paste, describes the various shapes and sizes of products made with flour and water. There are more than 600 pasta shapes worldwide, ranging from the tiny bead-like North African couscous, Greek-favored orzo and German spaetzle to the larger, ingredient-filled Italian ravioli, Asian wontons and Polish pierogis. With the highest per capita pasta consumption at 62 pounds, Italy is the country most commonly associated with pasta according to a 2006 survey conducted by Union of Organizations of Manufacturers of Pasta Products of the EU. The Italians are followed by Venezuela at 29 pounds, Tunisia at 26 pounds, Greece at 22 pounds, Switzerland 21 pounds and the United States at 20 pounds.

While opening eyes and mouths to pasta in other countries, the Wheat Foods Council also recognizes the important role America plays in pasta production. Much of the world's pasta is made from durum wheat flour. Durum is the hardest of the six classes of wheat grown in the United States and North Dakota leads the country in Durum production. Italy followed by Tunisia, Venezuela and Nigeria were the top importers of U.S. durum wheat in 2007.

"Durum is considered the gold standard for pasta production; the wheat kernel's density and high protein and gluten content result in firm pasta with consistent cooking quality," said Kyle Martin, communications director, North Dakota Wheat Commission. "This program teaches people about the origins and culinary diversity of a food that connects cuisines and cultures around the world. It's a true celebration of World Pasta Day."

About the Wheat Foods Council

The Wheat Foods Council is a nonprofit organization formed in 1972 to help increase public awareness of grains, complex carbohydrates and fiber as essential components of a healthful diet. The Council is supported voluntarily by wheat producers, millers, bakers, and related industries.

Wheat Foods Council

CONTACT: Tracie Lesser, +1-312-596-3521, [email protected], for theWheat Foods Council

Web site: http://www.wheatfoods.org/