Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

A difficult term. It has two main current meanings in English. First, it denotes certain types of occidental pasta, especially those which are in the form of narrow strips and are served in soups (cf OED). This meaning has a tendency to be expanded in respect of E. European pasta. Secondly, it refers to most of the numerous kinds of Asian pasta.

Usage in other languages differs somewhat. Thus the French term nouilles is used in a more general way than the English ‘noodles’ in the first sense; but it may refer specifically to the Alsatian dish known as nouilles (tagliatelle). The German Nudeln denotes any kind of pasta served as a dish in its own right, but also has the English meaning of ‘noodles’ when served as a soup ingredient.