Hold the Parmesan cheese

If only because of US Sen. Hillary Clinton's candidacy for president, we're hearing more talk than usual lately about gender politics. But did you know that there's also pasta politics?

It's true, according to the company that bills itself as the largest maker on the continent of dry pasta products for the retail market and food-service industry. In what it calls a "lighthearted look" at the preferences of Republicans and Democrats, American Italian Pasta Co. of Kansas City, Mo., asks: "Are we as divided about our pasta as we are about our politics?"

Answer: yes.

Crunching the numbers from sales data across the US, especially as they related to the shapes and varieties pulled from supermarket shelves by shoppers in "red" (majority Republican) and "blue" (majority Democratic) states – and factoring in the results of the 2004 presidential election, its analysts came up with the following metric: The GOP crowd tends to prefer spaghetti, whereas Democrats are macaroni-eaters. With one notable exception, that is. In Massachusetts, perhaps the bluest of blue states, spaghetti rules.

The study even uncovered one emerging trend of a bipartisan nature: Democrats and Republicans both seem to be awakening to the reputed health benefits of whole grain varieties of pasta. No word on where sales of penne, rotini, and noodles are strongest, however. Maybe in the "purple" states.

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