Back in 1957, the BBC broadcast a brilliant April Fool’s Day hoax about spaghetti growing on trees, and showed footage of the harvest taking place in a small town in Switzerland. It was so well made that my daughter, who was quite young when she watched it, totally fell for it. We played along because, well, it was hilarious. She’s since found it in her heart to forgive us. If you’re curious about the story, you can view the video on YouTube, then grab some wagon wheels and sea shells, and prepare to make some fabulous pasta patterns.
- variety of pasta shapes
- food colouring
- rubbing alcohol
- plastic baggies/ziplocs
- trays eg. cookie sheets
- newspapers or paper towels
- aluminum foil
- cardboard or canvas boards
- white glue
1. Select a variety of pasta shapes to colour. Place the pasta into small plastic baggies, and add enough rubbing alcohol to cover the pasta. I used about 1/4 cup for each bag. Add about 10 – 15 drops of food colouring, seal and mix well so all the pasta is well coated. Cover cookie sheets with aluminum foil to protect against leaks, and lay the bags on top. Make sure to turn the bags over often, so all sides of the pasta are well covered. We left ours overnight, and the colours looked great by morning. One type of pasta resisted the dye, but all the others worked out well.
2. Drain the liquid out of the bags by opening up a small corner. Once drained, empty the contents onto a cookie sheet lined with newspapers or paper towels. Spread out and allow to dry.
3. Use the pasta to create patterns on a cardboard or canvas board base. Once the design is complete, you can use white glue to keep everything in place.
All this pasta reminds me of a wonderful children’s book called Strega Nona. It’s a really fun story about a grandma witch, her magic pasta pot, and her naughty helper. My kids and I loved it, and probably read it a zillion times, using our best Italian accents, of course.