17 Feb SHAPE OF THINGS / PASTA
Can pasta be designed?
Pasta is one of the most traditional foods in Italian culture. It is not just something you eat, it is part of a daily ritual, so it’s a very delicate topic in the design world. But what about its shape?
Like most of the things, it has a handcrafted version and an industrial version.
The industrial version was primordially made as a conversion of the handmade one.
Let’s talk about spaghetti, for example.
If you have a look at the original process, you will see how flour and eggs are put together, then the dough is spread and cut with tools, like knives or others.
You can see this video to better understand what I am talking about.
The industrial process instead is something that wants to simulate the final shape, but the steps involved are totally different.
The ingredients are different, and so the tools are.
Most of the pasta is made by passing the dough through a matrix.
The best crafted matrices are made of precious metals, like bronze or gold. That ensures roughness and porosity, but it is quite a slow process for the industrial era. So companies started to use plastic molds, losing the little roughness remained. Then they tried to save the situation with the striped pasta, in order to hide the smoothness that makes the product looks too much artificial.
Nowadays, we are used to eating striped pasta, both low or high quality and our palate (especially for Italians) has set its standards.
So how can we design something like that which is new and that is capable to pass the taste test?
Who tried to shape the pasta?
Have you ever tasted one of those? Probably not, but I did. Click on the name to see how they look like.
Even if it is normal to be curious about how these pastas can taste, once you eat, they do not pass the taste test very well. In your mouth, the consistency is quite strange. It is a sensation that you do not have with “rigatoni” or “pennette”.
So how can we pass the mouth taste? Probably it is not just a matter of fancy shape and cooking resistance, but it probably demands an analysis on what happen when it touches teeth, make a proper sauce recipe for that new format. Or maybe it is just a matter of habits?