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I've heard that splitting spaghetti in half before cooking them change the taste. Is it true?

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Texture, which would change, is part of the taste. –  Tim N Jun 30 '11 at 11:29
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Is it bad that I assumed you meant horizontally, so you'd have two spaghetti of equal length but half the diameter? –  Yamikuronue May 31 '12 at 20:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

No, it's not true. It will not change the way they cook. Noodle cooking times vary by what they're made out of and by thickness, not by the length of the noodles.

The kids and I seem to prefer eating shorter noodles and dodging the hassle of spinning the noodles, but when there's company over we tend to do it the classic "right" way. No difference in taste.

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I can think of one way it would really change the taste, and for the better.

If you don't have a spaghetti pot and are cooking your spaghetti in a shallow pot, you first throw your spaghetti in at an angle, and a large part of them remains over water. As the lower portion cooks and gets soft, it flexes, and the upper parts slide into the water and start cooking too. In this case, half of each spaghetti rod is cooked for a longer time than the other half - if you leave them on the stove for the perfect time, one half will be slightly undercooked. Depending on how big the difference in time is, this can produce a noticeable problem in taste.

Of course, this is not a problem if you have a pot which is deep enough for the pasta to be submerged when still stiff. So your statement is true, but only under the correct assumptions.

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I often cook spaghetti in a too-small pot - but I just gently help push it down as it softens, which really doesn't take long, so the difference between one end and the other is small enough that I never really notice. –  Jefromi Jun 1 '12 at 0:28

A thought that may sound a little sciency:

You have 50 long spaghetti and 100 short spaghetti (half the length of the long ones). The short ones have twice as many spaghetti endings, so the surface of the endings of spaghetti is twice as high for the short ones.

If you believe that the endings of a spaghetti have a different taste than the central parts, then the taste of the endings becomes more influencial with shorter spaghetti.

You could try using small spherical spaghetti to get the highest possible influence of the taste of the endings.

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7  
Or conversely spaghetti hoops should be without that taste as they have no endings. –  Rincewind42 Jun 30 '11 at 4:44
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The endings of spaghetti noodles have a tiny fraction of the surface area, and are no different from the rest. I should give you -1 for abusing scientific reasoning... but instead I'm going to hope you're just joking or trolling. –  BobMcGee Jun 30 '11 at 5:11
    
@BobMcGee, definitely not trolling! I hoped that showing a thought process which one could easily derive an answer from, would be nice. You are right, the surface area of the endings is small, but I assumed that to be known. And I wrote "If you believe that the endings have a different taste" which would mark an unexpcted extreme case. The taste of a dish could be changed though, shorter spaghetti means more sauce to stick on them, changing the ratio of sauce to spaghetti. If the sauce had a not infinitesimally small thickness, it would make a difference. But sorry, did not want to offend. –  Sebastian Langer Jun 30 '11 at 11:13
    
@bobmcgee The taste does change if we take it as far as Sebastian suggests. The core of a properly cooked pasta piece is al dente, while the outer layers are soft. A spherical or nearly so pasta shape (orzo, couscous) has a very different ratio of aldente to soft parts when compared to a spaghetti shape. But of course, the effect is negligible when reducing spaghetti from 20 cm to 10 cm length. –  rumtscho Jun 30 '11 at 13:11
    
@rumtscho: That is a valid point, for other shapes of pasta where the ratio of surface area to volume is small enough that breaking the pasta changes it greatly. –  BobMcGee Jun 30 '11 at 14:37

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