VERMICELLI. a dried paste, manufactured chiefly in Italy in the form of smooth round strings. The name has been given to it on account of its worm-like appearance, vermicelli in Italian signifying little worms. Mac aroni, which the Italians spell maccheroni or maecherone (a word of doubtful etymology), is manufactured of the same kind of paste as vermicelli, and in a similar manner ; but it is rather larger in diameter, and is hollow like the tube of a tobacco-plpe. Fed. land is a kind still smaller than vermicelli.
The paste is made of wheat stripped of the husk, and ground roughly Into a sort of grit. The kind of wheat preferred by the Italians is a small hard-grained species which they now cultivate on purpose, but which they formerly imported from the coasts of the Black Sea —,rano di Mar Nero. The ground wheat is mixed with clear soft water, and made into a paste by kneading it on a large block with a wooden lever ten or twelve feet long. The short end of the lever 13 made sufficiently heavy to lift the long end, on which one or two men or boys get astride, and alternately sitting down and springing up, work the paste for a long time. The toughness and elasticity of the paste result
from this and powerful process of kneading. The paste is next forced by strong pressure through round holes in the bottom of a cylinder ; but, to form maccaroni, a wire extends from a bridge in the upper part of the cylinder tsrough the centre of each of the largest holes, and the paste, being forced through each hole aroun i the wire, is consequently hollow. The strings, several feet in leugtb, whether of maccaroni, vermicelli, or fedelini, having been thoroughly dried, are ready for use.
The Italians manufacture the paste into many other forms ; into thin fiat strips like ribbons, into thin sheets like paper, into round balls, and into beans and peas. The Neapolitans, who use great quantities of maccaroni as their favourite food, use nothing but the pure paste of wheat and water, but the Genoese mix saffron with it, which gives it a yellow tinge. The French, who also manufacture a good deal of it, frequently season the paste with various nandimenta.