The History of the Meatball
The Famous Meatballers offers Italian-style meatballs in marinara sauce. Sounds simple, but the modest meatball has a history which goes back many centuries. Written evidence and anecdotal stories take the meatball back as far as the Greeks and Romans. Let’s review some history of this delicious globe of meat.
The traditional Italian meatball known as “polpettes” are smaller than what we see in the United States and are normally eaten plain in a soup broth. They are served as the main course of a meal and can vary in composition including even turkey or fish. They are not found on Italian restaurant menus as polpettes are considered a food served in the home.
From where did polpettes evolve? That is not clear, but they clearly trace their origins back to the Romans and even earlier. A collection of Roman recipes from the 4th or 5th century reference meatballs made from a variety of meats. Historians feel many of these recipes were adapted from Greek foods known to the Romans. Even earlier than the Greeks, the meatball may have originated from the Persians with a dish known as “kofta”, a dish made from a choice of meats including beef, lamb, pork, or chicken and mixed with rice, bulgar wheat, or lentils. This dish appears to have passed from the Persians to the Arabs, because kofta is known to exist in early Arab cookbooks. By this time it was often made with lamb, rolled into balls the size of an orange, and glazed with egg yolks and saffron. In this form the early meatball traveled along trade routes to Spain, Africa, and Greece. Kofta is still served today in many Arab countries.
Regardless of its origins, the mighty meatball is served globally in nearly every culture. The American meatball is an amalgam of the old and new … the history of rolled meats with the convenience of a food served hot or even cold, with pasta or without, and even eaten plain. Famous Meatballers has taken the history of the meatball and placed it carefully in our secret recipe of Italian-style marinara sauce to offer you a convenient dinner option which is fresh, healthy, and delicious. They are created by Chef Joe Chiodi, a local firefighter who adapted his mother-in-law’s original recipe.
Look for The Famous Meatballers Italian-style meatballs in your favorite supermarkets and groceries including Salpino Italian Market, Key Food, City Acres Market, North Shore Farms, C Town, King Kullen, and other locations to come!