Gopnik's Daily Pic: Pastaesthetics
By Blake Gopnik
The latest feed from my morning musings about art and objects at www.blakegopnik.com.
Stringozzi, from Umbria in Italy, is to ordinary linguine or spaghetti what Edward Hopper is to Norman Rockwell.
The Umbrian version cooks to a perfect al dente that most fresh pasta cannot achieve, but doesn't have a standard dried pasta's noodle-soup surface over an underdone center. It has a gorgeous roughness that makes sauces stick, and a lovely, sweet-wheat flavor. And, considering it's just what used to be called macaroni, it poses a philosophical dilemma for me.
I reject fine art that does no more than fiddle with the potential of its art supplies, or that rejoices in their material excellence. So why don't I do the same when it comes to my gustatory aesthetics? One possible answer: Food is still working through formalist issues, where the crucial moves in its game are about sensation and perception -- it's at a Greenbergian moment, if you will, that may or may not be superseded, but that is perfectly valid for now. After all, there's no reason that all artistic disciplines should move at the same pace, or address the same issues at the same time, or proceed through anything like the same "stages."
Another possible answer: I'm a wimp, and like foods that taste great.