As I was making dinner tonight, I think I came across a marine biology discovery. Yes, it sounds odd, and your furrowed eyebrows are completely valid. Here’s what happened:
I was making pasta. Mostaccioli, to be exact. Essentially, it’s the same thing as penne, which is a fancy name for round-tube-pasta. This is an important detail. I got the water boiling, then poured my pasta in. I stirred it once or twice to make sure the pasta wasn’t going to stick on the bottom and burn. Then I left for a while. When I returned, the pasta were making an effort to align themselves vertically. They didn’t all express this alignment, but there were enough that one could easily notice a general trend. Perhaps this is not unusual of your round-tube-pastas like rigatone (they’re all round-tube-pastas, why can’t they all have the same name?), but it seemed odd to me.
Naturally I sought an explanation for this behavior. My first theory was that air bubbles sought to travel from the bottom of the pan to the top of the pan so the air bubbles would over time push the pasta into an arrangement that would facilitate the most efficient transfer. My second theory relied on the fact that the pasta were expanding and alignment was a way to optimize the space in a pot of limited size.
I think my first idea was best, though, and watching the little tubes wave about reminded me of a coral reef. Perhaps in reefs things align themselves according to flow of gas bubbles.
Perhaps I’m reading into it too much. Anyway, it was good, aligned or not.