Monday, March 6, 2017

BOOK NOTE: Pasta by Design


I was looking over some old Mad for Mod postings this morning, and came across my book review of "Pasta by Design" (Thames and Hudson, 2013), which is intriguing and a lot of fun. Thought I'd repost it today, for no particular reason. Buon appetito!

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I discovered this intriguing title when I was book reviewer for the late great Modernism magazine. My original review is below. This is the first in what turned out to be a series of book recommendations for holiday gift-giving. Buon appetito!






Pasta by Design
Thames & Hudson, hard cover, 208 pages, 189 illustrations (93 in color), $29.95

You’ll never tuck into your fettuccini alfredo quite the same way again, once you’ve perused this one-of-a-kind book, which ranges in tone from whimsical to scholarly to visually enchanting. Author George L. Legendre, principal of IJP Architects of London, presents everyone’s favorite food as an exemplar of design excellence as well as culinary adaptability. He examines 92 forms of pasta, ranging from tubular (cannolicchi) to crimped (saccotini), bell-like (gigli) to rippled (mafaldine). Some shapes, such as lumaconi rigati (“big ribbed snails”) appear to have been designed by NASA engineers, with eye-glazingly complex mathematical formulae illustrating their structural development. Each pasta shape is treated poetically, as a work of architecture and object of desire, and is accompanied by a full-page glamour shot by Stefano Graziani, schematic diagram, tale of its origins, and recommended sauces, meats or seafood to accompany its specific configuration. The book ends with a foldout seating plan for a pasta “Family Reunion”, wherein solid, hollow, and “semi-open” shapes are grouped together for an imaginary evening of – what else? – conviviality and delectable Italian dining.


Originally published 12/4/13



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