Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ramen Noodles, Anyone?

By: L.A. Kohl
January 8, 2007
(published in the Jan. 24, 2007 edition of "The Bullseye")

A short time ago, my husband entered the house and somberly asked, “Where is Jessie?”
Little five-year-old Jessie came running at her father’s mentioning of her name, and he said, “Sit down Jessie…I have some very sad news to tell you.”

I thought, “Oh no, what’d he do…run over one of the cats – or did the cats eat her favorite cardinal?” (Jessie has decided that a cardinal would be a wonderful pet – but as we had to explain that they are a wild bird that wouldn’t like to be caged, she just watches out the window and claims whatever current cardinal she catches a glimpse of as her own.)

No, as it turned out, the news was of an entirely different nature…
“Jessie, I’m very sorry, but I just heard on the radio that the man who created Ramen Noodles died today,” her father stated, while putting is arm around her tiny little shoulders.

Wow, what a blow. Ramen noodles are to Jessie what lobster and a rib eye steak are to many of us – a wonderful treat. Almost all of my children love them, even the nineteen year old…but to Jessie, they are the best, the most wonderful thing that mom could ever fix for her lunch. Unfortunately, mom realizes that they have little nutritional value, and thus refuses to fix them for her more than once a week or so.

She wasn’t too terribly upset by the news – after all, there were packages of Ramen noodles sitting in mom’s pantry, and more to be bought at the store when those were all gobbled up…so what did she really care about the man who invented them?

Some of the rest of us were rather interested in hearing some of the facts, however…and I thought perhaps you would be, too. There are very few of us who haven’t consumed a few packages of those things during our lifetime.

I myself began enjoying them during my short college stint. It was such a simple thing to heat water in the hot pot, dump the package in for three minutes, then drain off the water and stir in that wonderful seasoning packet. Unfortunately, cleaning up the hot pot afterwards was a big pain. (I guess I didn’t own a bowl to dump the noodles into???) On top of that, my room mate had to go and inform me about the extreme amounts of sodium that were in that seasoning packet, and how it would harden our arteries by next month if we kept eating them…and thus, I guess I consumed much less of them than most young adults do.

Which brings up this little tidbit of information…do you know which group of people consume more Ramen noodles than any other group? Graduate students! What other food can you get like a hundred servings of, for the low price of $3.19? And so quick and easy to prepare, as well? It’s like a graduate student’s staple food.

Do you know how long Ramen noodles have been around? (This was a surprise to me.) Their creator, Mr. Momofuku Ando, developed them during the 1950’s, when he decided that an affordable, filling, and easy to prepare food was needed by the poor people of Japan, who were still struggling and diligently working to rebuild their country. Ramen noodles weren’t imported to the United States until 1970; but its worldwide market is now enormous, as a total of 85 billion packages were sold in 2005.
Mr. Ando died on January 5, 2007, at the ripe old age of 96. He claims to have eaten Ramen noodles almost everyday since inventing them in the 1950’s.

Could it be that my room mate was a little overzealous in her artery-hardening claims? Perhaps. So come on, Jessie – let’s go eat some Ramen noodles!

No comments: