This blog is all about the fact that Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Pompeii is one of the most preserved ancient cities yet no evidence of pasta has been detected. There is a real problem of sources and archaeological interpretation. If fettuccine and pappardelle pastas were as big of a deal in 79AD as it is today, one would expect to find representation in the ruins of Pompeii and other unfortunate Roman settlements around Vesuvius.
Any lava preserved fettuccine and pappardelle pastas probably would have broken apart and piled in with the rest of the rubble. The Romans had many murals and painted objects, pasta surely would appear somewhere. Bread is ubiquitous in these depictions. Various meats, fishes, and wines are shown as a part of everyday life.
Romans are shown laying around several tables full of food in one depiction. The floor is full of animal bones and other food waste for the housepets to munch on and for the slaves to clean up. Fettuccine and pappardelle pastas are nowhere to be seen in this high society depiction. They still cannot be ruled out as staple foods despite the complete lack of evidence in these primary sources.
Fettuccine and pappardelle pastas and fingers have one thing in common, they are both very difficult to draw. Medieval artists had totally lost the ability to draw fingers, and for centuries they simply left them out of the artwork. People have hands, but if the viewer is not familiar with the human body they would not assume there are fingers are attached to the hand. Fettuccine and pappardelle pastas does not have a hand, and there is nothing attached to the pasta, like an artists’ human subject, that cannot be left out.
Humble medieval artists refused to put out crappy fingers in their works. Egotistical Roman artists can’t have been expected to humiliate themselves. For the Romans, trying to fit some fettuccine and pappardelle pastas into their beautiful colors would have been foolish.