Pasta is the quintessential Italian dish. Spaghetti and Meatballs was the American-Italian dish that I grew up loving and associating with Italian eating. But food cultures are constantly changing, and Italy’s food culture is no different. A recent report that pasta consumption has dropped 23 percent this last decade shows a significant change.

There are a variety reasons, but it seems that there are two big factors. The first being an increased interest in food from around the world, with sushi being particularly popular, along with other Asian foods.

As someone who loves Asian food, I am glad that Italians are experiencing the joys of sushi more often now. On the other hand, there is something a little sad to me about being able to find the same type of food in so many countries. As more barriers go down between countries, beautiful food is more likely to be shared. But there is also something lost in the uniqueness of each country's culture when we can find McDonald's, sushi bars, and Chinese restaurants wherever we are.

The second significant factor is a growing concern about pasta being fattening. An increasing number of women in their mid-20s and 30s think pasta is fattening and have decreased their consumption of it. While pasta was once considered a healthy addition to a healthy diet, many are losing faith in the healthfulness of pasta dishes, which has lead to an increase in rice- and meat-based dishes.

In response to this decline, pasta companies are fighting back through ads pointing out the low glycemic effect of pasta and the low calorie count. Gluten-free pasta is also becoming more popular as many are simply trying to avoid gluten.

Restaurants are also changing up pasta menus to regain their customers' interest. This just goes to show that even the most traditionally focused cultures can gradually change.

What do you think of the changes? Are they good or bad?

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