Jeff Petriello ’09

Maksymilian Nosevich

Jeff Petriello ’09 was at a drag show when inspiration struck. His friend Rob Truglia performed a Q&A to determine audience members’ pasta-personality types, assigning each person a noodle he felt expressed their spirit. As a Tarot reader, Petriello instantly imagined the possibilities pasta could have in a deck. A linguine sword? An orecchiette cup? Why not combine his interest in Tarot with his pride in his Italian-American heritage? And because the idea was born at a drag show, he wanted the deck to also portray a diverse representation of gender and sexuality. Thus, The Pasta Tarot was born.

Petriello and Truglia reached out to artist Lindsay Mound, and the trio worked to design a new type of Tarot: one that celebrated the co-founders’ queer identities and Italian-American heritage while staying true to the substance of the cards. In October 2021 they launched a Kickstarter for The Pasta Tarot, hoping to raise $29,000 to produce the deck on a large scale. They quickly surpassed their goal, raising more than $45,000 from an audience that was hungry for a modern Tarot interpretation.

The four traditional Tarot suits — wands, cups, swords and pentacles — are deliciously reinterpreted as corta (short pasta), ripiena (stuffed pasta), lunga (long pasta) and minuta (tiny pasta), and the illustrations portray the diversity of the human experience. “This deck is such a joyful expression of our unique identities,” Petriello says. “It’s something that I never had access to when I was growing up. So it’s become a beautiful, culturally significant thing to me.”

Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, acquired the rights to the deck; The Pasta Tarot became available in stores and through major online retailers in December. Says Petriello, “I imagine myself as the teen Tarot reader and how much it would have meant to me to see not only the culture that I was growing up in, but also my identity, reflected in a deck.”

— Anne-Ryan Sirju JRN’09