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Pasta by Design Hardcover – September 19, 2011
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“The book classifies 92 kinds of pasta, organizing them into an evolutionlike family tree.” (New York Times)
“On first glance, this design-based typology of pasta appears to be a mathematically inclined reference that makes an ideal gift at holiday time. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll find an amazing cookbook.” (Gastronomica)
“Culinary advice on cooking these forms accompany an artistic presentation suitable for arts and culinary holdings alike.” (The Midwest Book Review)
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Top Customer Reviews
Actually, this is just a meaningless bunch of information with a very disappointing execution. The idea sounded nice, to represent pasta with mathematical formulas, and the initial "pasta taxonomy" tree is a good starting point. What comes next is a total waste of trees: wrong pasta names (pasta shapes are much, much more than what is represented here, and authors really don't realize names also change a lot), meaningless maths which is done only to WOW a non expert but it's only a bunch of xyz equations so long that any shape can be actually drawn in this way, there is no real interesting maths inside, and - most important to me - totally wrong and disappointing photography. Pasta is not easy to photograph, I know by personal experience, but some of the images are really worse than any schoolboy could get by playing with the camera one hour. Postprocessing is totally not professional, result is a bunch of washed out photos.
Sorry to say this, but this is a pointless book originating from a quite good idea,
Conclusion: save a tree.
Since there's no "look inside" for it, let me describe what it looks like: it's a very complete list of pasta shapes, each taking two pages. One has a nice picture; the other contains a very short description (~25 words, maybe saying where it's most popular or what kind of sauces go well with it), parametric equations to describe its shape, and a 3D wireframe-ish figure. It also has an interesting "pasta map". So, if you're looking for a quirky book on pasta for a mathematically minded person, this might be the perfect one. But don't expect any recipe here!
This book does that, but I took a further step and put the equations into a programming language called Mathematica; which allows me to show "3D" graphics of the pasta shape on a computer screen based on the equations. I can spin the shape around and replace values in the equation to show how the shape changes. When I show this to young children, they all say, "Wow, lemme do that!".
This is the kind of book that can change a child's life. For adults not particularly interested in math or pasta, the book has a nice graphic design for presenting technical information which I have shamelessly stolen to boost my consulting rate.
This is not a book to get if you are looking for in-depth histories or math. Like I said before, it's just a fun novelty for when you're bored.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Only an engineer or scientist would appreciate this, but it was a fun gift for my techie friend!Published 18 months ago by W. Lewis
Great both for the Kitchen and the coffee table! Just perusing it made my mouth water, even without cooking. Tastefully and well-done!Published 22 months ago by Leona Rund Zions
Interesting details you never expected about the world of pasta. You'll enjoy reading about all the cool shapes and how they came to be.Published on February 4, 2013 by Tucson Bob
Excellent illustrations. A great conversation starter. The perfect book for math lovers to ponder over dinner. A great host/hostess gift depending on the audience.Published on January 27, 2013 by Kris Wilk
The photography is amazing! I wish the history of each pasta would have been a little more detailed and maybe a few recipes here and there. Overall it is a great book!Published on January 23, 2013 by Diane Wiese
The book is a treasure! The creativity is remarkable.
Warning -- It does take some knowledge of mathematics to appreciate the equations.