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Name: Emily
Status: student
Grade: n/a
Location: MD
Country: USA
Date: April 2009



Question:
Why does spaghetti curve when cooked in hot water?


Replies:
I am not quite sure what you are asking in your question -- do you mean why is cooked pasta flexible, but dried pasta is not? Spaghetti is made mostly of a long type of molecule called 'starch'. When wet, the starch molecules inside the pasta can slip and slide past each other, making for flexible, bendy pasta. The water is a little like a lubricant for the starch. When dried, the water is gone, so the starch molecules 'lock' into place, and become stiff. When cooked, water can get back in to the noodle, and the noodle becomes flexible again.

Hope this helps,
Burr Zimmerman


Emily,

Starch molecules can be considered as a long chain molecules that in uncooked spaghetti has been frozen into a shapes that retain a linear uncooked spaghetti form and is made that way from the production process. In this process, water is removed from the uncooked spaghetti while the pasta is in a linear shape and so the molecules conform to structures that retain the linear shape. The linear, stiff pasta is only this way because there is no water. (In contrast, for example, freshly made pasta is actually soft and pliable.)

When the pasta is cooked, the starch molecules are rehydrated - water goes back into the starch which then are able to go into structures that are more pliable. The starch molecules go into structures that they were in before they were straightened and dried.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)



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