Noodle theory: The mythologizing of food loves linear narratives. Remember learning that Marco Polo was the first Italian to taste pasta ― in China? Charles Perry put that oversimplification to rest long ago ― pasta has a complex history all tangled up with trade and adaptation. You can sense that through the lines of Single Guy Ben's report of yesterday's Noodle Fest, which straddled the invisible line of demarcation between North Beach and Chinatown, a distinction as murky, in places, as the origins of spaghetti. "Is this from Chinatown or North Beach?" asks Ben beneath a pic of flour-dusted pasta pillows. "They kind of look like dumplings right? But they're asparagus ravioli from Colosseo Restaurant."
We love the implications of that: Whatever subtle differences attend roughly similar foods developing in isolation from each other over centuries unraveling, becoming more similar, in a San Francisco where sheer density of population might mean adaptation is inevitable.