• Question: why does pasta need cooking?

    Asked by zizzy to Akram, David, Gill, Jack, laurenceharwood on 16 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Jack Snape

      Jack Snape answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Interesting question … pasta gets dried out so it lasts longer. You can buy fresh pasta that is soft, but this can go mouldy because the moisture inside it is good for germs to grow.

      You don’t really have to cook dried pasta… but it tastes a bit gross if you don’t!

      It’s also good to cook things to kill germs so you don’t get sick (there might be some germs on dried pasta if it’s really really old) 🙂

    • Photo: Akram Alomainy

      Akram Alomainy answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      I totally agree with Jack on the germs and bacteria part and you should be generally careful about food you eat!!

    • Photo: Laurence Harwood

      Laurence Harwood answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      I used to hate pasta but my partner, Janet (another chemist), loves it and now we make our own pasta and I have discovered a totally new taste experience. Pasta rolling machines are really cheap to buy and it is so easy – and so much fun – to make. Then we dry it – and even I can eat pasta now. It is so different from supermarket stuff.

      The thing about drying food is that living things need water to live and grow, so spoilage organisms can’t grow on dry food very well. When you cook pasta, you rehydrate it. One of the rules of thumb is that a chemical reaction doubles for every 10C increase in temperature so boiling pasta for 20 minutes (assuming room temp of 20C and the boiling point of water to be 100C) increases the rate of hydration by 256 times (as well as warming it up) which relates pretty well to the day or so it takes to dry out.

      I now like pasta………………..

    • Photo: Gill Menzies

      Gill Menzies answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      Our tongue has different tastes in different places of the tongue – the tip tastes sweet things, while the sides taste salty things. The middle tastes sour things and the very back tastes things that are bitter. When we heat food they have more taste than cold things – because they start to change state and give off vapours that we also smell (smell and taste are strongly linked). When you heat the pasts it tastes better and satisfies our hunger better 🙂