"The shape was crucial on two counts. The first was durability: it had to withstand canning and reheating. The second was damage control: long pasta and young children mix dangerously, with child, chair and walls ending up beribboned with dripping strands. A simple “O,” Mr. Goerke realized, would solve both problems. Its stable shape allowed a thinner strand of pasta to be used, making the reheated product less gummy. It also fit tidily in the bowl of a spoon. Shapes considered and rejected by Mr. Goerke’s team included baseballs, cowboys, spacemen and stars."