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👀 Pandemic Pasta
#349 | Some missions are just impastable
The internet is full of odd and fascinating people constantly doing odd and fascinating things. So much that nothing ever really shocks us anymore.
But some things are so odd and fascinating that you can’t help but sit up and take notice. For me, this was Dan Pashman’s quest for the perfect pasta shape.
I started listening to The Sporkful, a podcast Dan hosts about food and the people who love to eat - this was towards the end of the lockdown when we were all listening to podcasts and doing arts and crafts. The Sporkful has won multiple awards and accolades, including a James Beard award (the Oscars for people who think about food constantly) despite the strange-seeming tagline, “It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters”.
I think The Sporkful works because it doesn’t play into elitist notions about food. It has everything from interviews with Padma Lakshmi to discussions on the usage of the term ‘plantation’ when it comes to food. It even tells you how to become a Beer Sommelier. It’s the perfect podcast for people like me who are interested in food without necessarily wanting to make a career out of it.
Great stuff all around, but nowhere as fascinating as Mission Impastable, Pashman’s years-long quest to create a new pasta shape. Pashman, who is decidedly not a chef, concluded one day that there exists no pasta shape that is just right, shocking chefs, food critics, and Italians all in one go). He spent the years between 2018 and 2021 attempting to create the perfect pasta shape.
Through the podcast, he explains the many intricacies and complexities of his quest for the perfect pasta shape with a dogged determination I found admirable. Reminded me of those triumph of the underdog or good vs evil (in this case convention versus pasta) stories. When he finally succeeds, it feels like you’ve achieved something with him.
Mission Impastable is ultimately a triumph of good storytelling, and you really should give it a listen.
What’s your favourite pasta? Write and tell me.
I am a Filmmaker and writer currently based in Brooklyn, New York. I’m on the hunt for good pav bhaji in New York, i have been terribly unsuccessful so far. But koshishe aksar kamiyab hote hain so I will be continuing my search against all odds.
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