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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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semolina is usually made from the very hard durum wheat, a variety of Mediterranean origin which is now grown mostly in the USA and Canada. When coarsely milled, the brittle grains fracture into sharp chips, and it is these which constitute ordinary semolina.

The word ‘semolina’ is Italian, derived from the Latin simila, denoting fine flour. The use of the term in English for coarse chips therefore represents a departure from the original meaning. In fact, however, a finer semolina flour is available; this is used for making pasta, so durum wheat is sometimes called macaroni wheat.