September 28, 2011, 9:54 am

A Taxonomy of Pasta

By Lisa Agustin

Leave it to an architect to diagram the pasta family tree. George L. Legendre has profiled 92 different kinds of pasta in his new book, Pasta by Design, classifying them into types using ‘phylogeny’ (the study of relatedness among natural forms). From the publisher’s site:

Each spread is devoted to a single pasta, and explains its geographical origin, its process of manufacture and its etymology – alongside suggestions for minute-perfect preparation.  Next the shape is rendered as an equation and as a diagram that shows every distinctive scrunch, ridge and crimp with loving precision. Finally, a multi-page foldout features a ‘Pasta Family Reunion’ diagram, reassembling all the pasta types and grouping them by their mathematical and geometric properties!

Check out this one for Cavatappi:


Many of the pasta shapes are diagrammed on the Z-axis (a d/D favorite!), showing the delicate shapes in their full undulating glory (view more pasta diagrams on the NY Times site). I’m hungry already.

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Filed under: Books and Articles, Charts and Graphs, Diagrams, Visual Explanation

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