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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Poison Ramen

posted by on October 25 at 13:50 PM

Via BBC.

Two large Japanese food manufacturers have found insecticide in their instant noodles, triggering a food scare.

First, Nissin - which invented the instant noodle - recalled 500,000 pots after a woman became ill. She had eaten from a cup containing insect repellent.

Now another Japanese food giant, Myojo, says it too has found the same substance in two of its own pots.

That’s bad timing—a ramen panic just as global markets are “diving,” “plummeting,” and having a “meltdown.”

Instant ramen was invented for economic depressions—during the food shortages after WWII, Nissin founder Momofuku Ando saw people lining up to buy bowls of soup from black-market street stalls. And voilà. He became a millionaire and dead last year of a heart attack at the age of 96. When I lived in Japan, my neighbors told me not to eat instant ramen because the flavor packet was poison that would kill all my sperm. It’s population control, they said, to get rid of the poor people.

Ramen became popular in the west during England’s economic depression in the 1970s. (In Mexico, they combine the poverty food from both hemispheres by cooking instant-ramen noodles in the orange glop you get in instant mac ‘n’ cheese.)

The first time I ever saw ramen was at my elementary school in a New Orleans. Justin Rambo—a tough-ass Cajun kid whose dad once came to class to give him a whupping after the teacher called to say he’d been acting up—would step on the plastic package to break up the noodles, then open it and pour in the flavor pack, then eat the little chunks. Soon, all the kids were eating ramen during recess.

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This is why you find no bugs in Capitol Hill studio apartments.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 25, 2008 2:17 PM

The flavor packets are quite vile. The primary ingredient is usually MSG, which stimulates your tongue and brain to think "meaty/savory". Which is why you feel a craving to slurp down more.

For a healthier alternative, throw out the flavor packet and use a spoonful of soup starter. Pennies more but easier on your liver.

Also, dropping in a beaten egg during the last minute or so of cooking will give you a bit of protein. Adding kimchee gives you a bit of green.

Posted by eclexia | October 25, 2008 2:31 PM

Man, I thought we were the only ones who ate the dry noodles all crunched up like that.

Posted by Darcy | October 25, 2008 2:36 PM

And floating a hit of blotter on top gives you everything.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 25, 2008 2:47 PM

I long ago took to throwing out the flavor packets and using tamari as a broth instead. That way I can buy the carnivore scum Top Ramen flavors and instantly convert them to vegan soupy delight. Yum!

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | October 25, 2008 3:28 PM

that stuff is almost nutrition-free, anyway. i knew a political activist who was so busy and committed that she lived almost exclusively on the stuff and had to be eventually hospitalized for problems arising from malnutrition. i say, good riddance to the crap. hello, world: try real food. you'll be glad you did.

Posted by ellarosa | October 25, 2008 4:18 PM

I love ramen. It's delicious. Maruchan chicken is the best. I always add veggies and meat to it to make it healthier, so I don't think it's that bad.

Posted by sepiolida | October 25, 2008 5:22 PM

Everyone knows the cups of ramen are worse than the cheaper ramen you buy without the cups.

Plus you can get 7 for a dollar at Fred Meyer.

Posted by Will in Fremont | October 25, 2008 6:04 PM

One of my highschool teachers had collected hundreds of Ramen recipes and made a cook book for outbound seniors on their way to college. I wish I still had mine.

Posted by Y.F. | October 25, 2008 7:00 PM

Adding meat and vegetables is a grave offense to the Way of Ramen. Let the defilers enjoy paradichlorobenzene for breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnite snacks.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | October 25, 2008 8:17 PM


Posted by Matthew | October 25, 2008 8:18 PM

(Runs to pantry to check latest 6-pack)

Whew, Maruchan rather than Nissin!

Wait, does toxicity matter if you only buy your noodle cups to fuck 'em?

Posted by rob | October 25, 2008 10:05 PM

best noodle from Korea anyways

Posted by kinaidos | October 25, 2008 10:14 PM

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