How does your dish relate to  the Silk Road? Where did the main ingredients and flavor profiles and originate and how did they end up combined to create a distinct flavor profile?

Squid ink pasta is the perfect combination of the depths of the sea and the beauty of the land. Blacker than night, it leaves a  slight saltiness in your mouth with the combination of fresh pasta.  A goth kid’s fantasy sprung to life, it quite literally leaves a tar-colored impression behind with every single bite.

Squid ink has been being used in food for hundreds of  years all throughout the Medeterarian. Most commonly found in cusines throughout Italy, Spain, and Japan, it is known to have a multitude of uses including adding a rich and subtely salty flavor to various foods. As well as being use in cusine, it is also known to be used as a natural dye and in ink cartgrides.

Cephalopod ink is a dark pigment released into water by most species of cephalopod, usually as an escape mechanism. The ink is released from the ink sacs (located between the gills) and is dispersed more widely by accompanying its  release with a jet of water from the siphon. Its dark color is caused by its main constituent, melanin. Each species of cephalopod produces slightly  differently colored inks; generally, octopuses produce black ink, squid ink is blue-black, and cuttlefish ink is a shade of brown.FullSizeRender 4 FullSizeRender 5 FullSizeRender 6 Humboldt-Squid-001 IMG_5203 IMG_5204 IMG_5426 italy-map-0 th-1 th-2 th-5 Unknown

Green superfoods have been all the rage for quite some  time, but a there’s a new guy in town. Health-conscious folks are beginning to discover the equally impressive benefits of black foods – in this case, squid ink. A 2013 issue of “International Aquatic Research” found that squid ink contained numerous antioxidants, which were present even after the melanin, the compound that produces the black color, was removed. In an in vitro study, scientists found that the antioxidants present in squid ink had strong preventive lipid oxidation abilities – a benefit that might link them to lower risk of heart disease in humans. However, human studies as well as long-term research are still needed, so it’s premature to think of squid ink as a heart disease treatment.

What are some of the ongoing cultural politics around the dish, its ingredients and  its flavors. There are many cultural politics that surround such an unusual dish. For many outside the United States, it may be looked at as something quite normal. Generally speaking, we are afraid of the color black being associated with our food.

Color is often the first element noticed in the appearance of a food product. Humans begin to associate certain colors with various types of foods from birth, and equate these colors to certain tastes and flavors throughout life. For example, we may expect yellow taffy to have a banana or lemon flavor and red candies to have a cherry or  cinnamon flavor. In fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we rely on the color to determine their level of ripeness and or freshness. If the color of a food product does not match our expectations, we may perceive its taste and flavor differently – a psychological effect some food companies use to their advantage.

The role color plays in our perception of taste has long been researched by food companies and organizations to better understand behavior and how that impacts the perception of their products. Without these visual cues, our taste buds might get confused and not recognize the lemon flavor in pudding or cherry flavor in jelly beans that we’ve grown to expect. While food colorants have been highly debated over the past few years due to questionable health effects, food companies know that consumers determine the quality and taste of a food product long before their taste buds have had a chance to process it. Many companies are turning to more natural food colorants  such as beets or other highly pigmented fruits and vegetables to export healthier versions of their products.

The flavors of this dish are fresh and simple. A slightly salty pasta with chewy, altandte texture. Fresh citris flavor because of fresh lemon juice and zest being added. Bursting cherry tomatoes add another element of acidity to the dish.  Addition of basil helps mellow out the intense flavor of lemon but adds depth and earthiness. Parmiggiano  cheese adds additional saltiness and nutiness to the dish. Garlic adds aroma and a slightly sweet flavor when paired with tomatoes.

How did your dish arrive in NYC and how does it connect to the movement of people and goods around the world?

“The Italian immigrants who passed the test of Ellis  Island went about transforming the city that they found before them. Many previous immigrant groups, such as those from Germany and Scandinavia, had passed through New York City in decades past, but most had regarded the city merely as a way station, and had continued on to settle elsewhere in the country. This generation of Italian immigrants, however, stopped and made their homes there; one third never got past New York City. They scattered all over the New York region, settling in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and nearby towns in New Jersey. Perhaps the greatest concentration of all, though, was in Manhattan. The streets of Lower Manhattan, particularly parts of Mulberry Street, quickly became heavily Italian in character,  with street vendors, store owners, residents and vagrants alike all speaking the same language–or at least a dialect of it.”

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/italian5.html

How did you find the dish? Why did  you choose it? And how does it relate to your history and sense of taste? The first time I was introduced to squid ink pasta was in 2001 when my family was traveling throughout Italy. My father had ordered it in a resteraunt in Taourmina, Italy. I’ll never forget my reaction to when the pasta was placed on the table. Being only six years old, it was completely shocking. If only I would have realized how delicious it was! This directly relates to my previous statement about how the color of food directly links to what we think of it. Being young and never having the opporunity to try such an unusual and  technically difficult dish really added to my culinary skills and gave me the desire to experiement in the kitchen. 

I chose this dish because of the close relation to my family’s background and history. My mother’s family is from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy. All of the flavors are very true to Southern Italian cooking. The close proximity to the sea and the warm climate allow for growth of fresh produce and production of cheese and wine. These flavors are the ones that I’ve grown up around, making it extremely easy to use in my dish.

How does your dish relate to  the Silk Road? Where did the main ingredients and flavor profiles and originate and how did they end up combined to create a distinct flavor profile?

Squid ink pasta is the perfect combination of the depths of the sea and the beauty of the land. Blacker than night, it leaves a  slight saltiness in your mouth with the combination of fresh pasta.  A goth kid’s fantasy sprung to life, it quite literally leaves a tar-colored impression behind with every single bite.

Squid ink has been being used in food for hundreds of  years all throughout the Medeterarian. Most commonly found in cusines throughout Italy, Spain, and Japan, it is known to have a multitude of uses including adding a rich and subtely salty flavor to various foods. As well as being use in cusine, it is also known to be used as a natural dye and in ink cartgrides.

Cephalopod ink is a dark pigment released into water by most species of cephalopod, usually as an escape mechanism. The ink is released from the ink sacs (located between the gills) and is dispersed more widely by accompanying its  release with a jet of water from the siphon. Its dark color is caused by its main constituent, melanin. Each species of cephalopod produces slightly  differently coloured inks; generally, octopuses produce black ink, squid ink is blue-black, and cuttlefish ink is a shade of brown.

Green superfoods have been all the rage for quite some  time, but a there’s a new guy in town. Health-conscious folks are beginning to discover the equally impressive benefits of black foods – in this case, squid ink. A 2013 issue of “International Aquatic Research” found that squid ink contained numerous antioxidants, which were present even after the melanin, the compound that produces the black color, was removed. In an in vitro study, scientists found that the antioxidants present in squid ink had strong preventive lipid oxidation abilities – a benefit that might link them to lower risk of heart disease in humans. However, human studies as well as long-term research are still needed, so it’s premature to think of squid ink as a heart disease treatment.

What are some of the ongoing cultural politics around the dish, its ingredients and  its flavors. There are many cultural politics that surround such an unusual dish. For many outside the United States, it may be looked at as something quite normal. Generally speaking, we are afraid of the color black being associated with our food.

Color is often the first element noticed in the appearance of a food product. Humans begin to associate certain colors with various types of foods from birth, and equate these colors to certain tastes and flavors throughout life. For example, we may expect yellow taffy to have a banana or lemon flavor and red candies to have a cherry or  cinnamon flavor. In fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we rely on the color to determine their level of ripeness and or freshness. If the color of a food product does not match our expectations, we may perceive its taste and flavor differently – a psychological effect some food companies use to their advantage.

The role color plays in our perception of taste has long been researched by food companies and organizations to better understand behavior and how that impacts the perception of their products. Without these visual cues, our taste buds might get confused and not recognize the lemon flavor in pudding or cherry flavor in jelly beans that we’ve grown to expect. While food colorants have been highly debated over the past few years due to questionable health effects, food companies know that consumers determine the quality and taste of a food product long before their taste buds have had a chance to process it. Many companies are turning to more natural food colorants  such as beets or other highly pigmented fruits and vegetables to export healthier versions of their products.

The flavors of this dish are fresh and simple. A slightly salty pasta with chewy, altandte texture. Fresh citris flavor because of fresh lemon juice and zest being added. Bursting cherry tomatoes add another element of acidity to the dish.  Addition of basil helps mellow out the intense flavor of lemon but adds depth and earthiness. Parmiggiano  cheese adds additional saltiness and nutiness to the dish. Garlic adds aroma and a slightly sweet flavor when paired with tomatoes.

How did your dish arrive in NYC and how does it connect to the movement of people and goods around the world?

“The Italian immigrants who passed the test of Ellis  Island went about transforming the city that they found before them. Many previous immigrant groups, such as those from Germany and Scandinavia, had passed through New York City in decades past, but most had regarded the city merely as a way station, and had continued on to settle elsewhere in the country. This generation of Italian immigrants, however, stopped and made their homes there; one third never got past New York City. They scattered all over the New York region, settling in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and nearby towns in New Jersey. Perhaps the greatest concentration of all, though, was in Manhattan. The streets of Lower Manhattan, particularly parts of Mulberry Street, quickly became heavily Italian in character,  with street vendors, store owners, residents and vagrants alike all speaking the same language–or at least a dialect of it.”

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/immigration/italian5.html

How did you find the dish? Why did  you choose it? And how does it relate to your history and sense of taste? The first time I was introduced to squid ink pasta was in 2001 when my family was traveling throughout Italy. My father had ordered it in a resteraunt in Taourmina, Italy. I’ll never forget my reaction to when the pasta was placed on the table. Being only six years old, it was completely shocking. If only I would have realized how delicious it was! This directly relates to my previous statement about how the color of food directly links to what we think of it. Being young and never having the opporunity to try such an unusual and  technically difficult dish really added to my culinary skills and gave me the desire to experiement in the kitchen. 

I chose this dish because of the close relation to my family’s background and history. My mother’s family is from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy. All of the flavors are very true to Southern Italian cooking. The close proximity to the sea and the warm climate allow for growth of fresh produce and production of cheese and wine. These flavors are the ones that I’ve grown up around, making it extremely easy to use in my dish.

Link to Squid Ink Story Map: https://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.knightlab.com/storymapjs/91739c8488ed32c8ace01c95b310b40a/squid-ink-pasta/index.htm