Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Original General Tso's Noodles


Archeologists excavating an ancient Chinese settlement turned over an upside-down clay bowl and found a surprise: this small pile of well-preserved noodles.

The bowl lay under 10 feet of sediment in the ruins of a small community beside the Yellow River that was destroyed by an earthquake about 4,000 years ago. That's about 2,100 years earlier than any evidence of human noodle-making, at least in China.

When the archeologists examined the starch grains and microscopic mineral particles that form in plants called "phytoliths," they received another surprise: the ancient noodles were not made from wheat like modern noodles, but from millet, a type of grain that, along with rice, formed the foundation of agriculture in ancient China.