Below is a strong podcast script. It is not perfect (there is some light editing with spaces between speaking), but it is well-researched and well-written. I'm grateful to Matt Karamushko for his willingness to share his excellent script.
The following is the script for an episode of the podcast “Did They Eat Pasta?” by Roberto “Bobby” Spaghetti and Rebecca “Betty” Spaghetti:
Notice: New sources have been added for the podcast, listed below the script.
****Start of Script****
[Betty] Hello and welcome back to another episode of Did They Eat Pasta, brought to you by your hosts Bobby and Betty Spaghetti, where we examine the lives of historical rulers to answer the question: Did They Eat Pasta?
Over to you, Bobby.
[Bobby] Thank you, Betty.
Today we’ll be taking a look at Amir Timur of the Timurid Empire.
We’ve received a lot of fan requests asking for this ruler to be starred on our show.
[Betty] According to the Arabian historian Al-Makrizi–I probably butchered that pronunciation-- Timur, also known as Tamerlane, was born in the Islamic year of 728, which correlates to somewhere between 1327-1328 A.D.
He lived for about eighty years, during which time he established the Timurid empire, which stretched from modern-day Turkey to India, and from the Persian gulf to the Kaplankyr reserve.
Apparently he had begun a march to try conquering a part of China, but he died along the way in 1405 A.D.
[Bobby] In addition to his vast and impressive conquests, Timur was also known to be a patron of the arts, as during his reign several painters, poets, and architects flourished in his courts.
While the historian J. Michael Rogers writes that some accounts of Timurid creativity may have been a little inflated by his successors for political reasons, there is still much evidence that the arts and sciences were pursued within his empire.
For example, Ulug Beg, a descendant of Timur and a later ruler of the Timurid Empire, was also an astronomer and mathematician who constructed the largest observatory in Central Asia.
In addition, there are several examples of intricate Timurid artwork, including jade carvings, paintings, manuscripts, poetry books, and glazed plates and bowls.
Many of these artifacts have been carefully preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
[Betty] Now let’s take a pivot to the history of pasta.
According to an article by PBS, pasta was first produced “in central Asia thousands of years ago”.
However, this wording is too vague to be of use for our specific question.
An article by David R Knechtges states that ancient China learned to make leavened dough during the warring states period, from 475 to 221 BC, and developed noodles and other dough-based foods shortly after.
The term for the noodles, tang bing, is translated literally as “boiled pasta” in David’s article.
For this reason, I think it’s safe to say that Chinese noodles would then be similar enough to pasta.
[Bobby] I agree.
This also means that Timur lived well after the invention of Chinese pasta.
There is also significant evidence of the cultural influence that China had with the Timurid Empire.
The painting titled “Royal Feast in a Garden” is a particularly interesting artwork for our topic.
The painting not only includes a cameo of three Chinese officials identified by their black hats, but also shows several Chinese porcelain vessels.
This is a direct indication of the cultural exchange between China and the Timurid Empire, demonstrating that both people and products could move between the two countries.
I would also like to point out that this wasn’t just at any old feast, but specifically at a royal feast.
Royal feasts were held as a prestigious symbol of power and wealth, which means two things:
One- the king would probably be eating there, and
Two- there would probably be a variety of different foods from different places, to demonstrate the vast expanse of the Timurid Empire.
With all these factors taken into consideration, I think it's very likely that pasta was present at such a royal feast, and that Timur himself must have tasted it there.
[Betty] Well there you have it, folks!
Amir Timur of the Timurid Empire most likely did eat pasta.
While it’s not possible to directly prove that he ate pasta, when considering the historical and cultural facts, we can say with confidence that it's more than probable he did eat pasta.
[Bobby] Thank you for listening to our podcast and don’t forget to tune in for our next episode, where we will be examining St. Olga of the Kyivan Rus.
[Bobby & Betty together] Spaghetti Out!
End of Script
Sources not included in Prepare assignment:
Ito, Takao. “Al-Maqrīzī’s Biography of Tīmūr.” Arabica, vol. 62, no. 2/3, 2015, pp. 308–27. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/24811585. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.
ROGERS, J. MICHAEL. “CENTRALISATION AND TIMURID CREATIVITY.” Oriente Moderno, vol. 15 (76), no. 2, 1996, pp. 533–50. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25817434. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.
Knechtges, David R. “Gradually Entering the Realm of Delight: Food and Drink in Early Medieval China.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 117, no. 2, 1997, pp. 229–39. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/605487. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.
“Royal Feast in a Garden, Recto of Left Folio from the Double-Page Frontispiece of a Shahnama of Firdausi (Persian, about 934–1020).” Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940–1019 or 1025) 1956.10, opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper, 1444. The Cleveland Museum of Art; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Collection: Islamic Art; Department: Islamic Art; Gallery: 116 Islamic; John L. Severance Fund, JSTOR, https://jstor.org/stable/community.24604125. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.
Yalman, Suzan. Based on original work by Linda Komaroff. “The Art of the Timurid Period (ca. 1370–1507).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/timu/hd_timu.htm (October 2002)