Durum wheat has been a staple of North Dakota agriculture. In 2004, North Dakota produced about 70% of the US durum crop. Pasta is an important product main from durum wheat. A bushel of durum wheat can make about 42 pounds of pasta. In 1997, 74% of Americans reported having between 1 and 5 packages of pasta in their kitchen at any given time. Pasta is now becoming a part of the North Dakota economy, with companies like Dakota Growers Pasta Company in Carrington, North Dakota, starting to produce pasta as well as the durum wheat.
Frank D'Andraia, a past Director of Libraries at UND, was greatly interested in the role of pasta in North Dakota. He began to collect a small collection of pasta literature for the Chester Fritz Library. D'Andraia was also active in promoting pasta in the community, and was a member of the steering committee of the Grand Pasta Party on the Prairie.
Due to the importance of pasta in North Dakota, Grand Forks hosted a Grand Pasta Party on the Prairie for several years. The first one was hosted in the summer of 1997. This was an event dedicated to celebrating pasta. The event included a pasta cook-off, demonstrations from pasta chefs, live music, local exhibits and vendors and a multitude of other events. The Grand Pasta Party was cancelled in 1999 due to lack of sponsorship and has never been rescheduled.
Donation; June 1, 1998 (Acc.98-2198) and (Acc.99-2259)