It all began because I couldn't wait for the ramen issue of Lucky Peach.
The first issue, which came to my house a few weeks ago, of David Chang's food quarterly is fully dedicated to the art of ramen. No, we're not talking about the college-survival-instant-hot-pot variety (although to be fair Ruth Reichel does a slammin' taste test of instant ramen in the issue), we're talking about a finely crafted noodle dish that has regional influences, artisanally cultivated ingredients, and passionate culinary defenders. Yes, it turns out, it does deserve a whole issue.
Published by the peeps at McSweeney's (who are maybe the last stand of warriors for quirky print vehicles) this mag/book/quarterly celebrates so much: opinion, the written word, the underbelly of ramen culture, grimy kitchen reality, cheffy bullshitting, the art of fonts, compelling design . . . it's just chock full of everything I ever want when food and words come together.
Here's what I love best about the issue:
- Bourdain breaks down Chang's noodle obsession through three noodle-themed movies.
- The Magnificent Pantheon of Tokyo Ramen Gods (now available as prints)
- A recipe for Instant Ramen Gnocchi Parisienne
- The awesome essay The Problem of Authenticity by Todd Kliman: thought provoking and a must read for anyone who writes about food.
- The Egg Chart and the entire section on eggs which has my heart pounding! Besides WD50's Eggs Benedict, there's a recipe for the Juan Mari Arzak egg, which will now be mine.
SO . . . before I got my hot little hands on the issue, I told my friend Kenji Okumura about it, as he is a true hero of ramen. He had an idea, why not throw a celebration of ramen right here in town and help feed the hungry people of Japan? He is big-hearted and generous, much like a proper bowl of ramen.
And so we have done it: Eat Ramen/Help Japan is happening this THURSDAY, JULY 21, at Create's Dining Studio. For the measly price of a $10 ticket you can come sample some serious chef-noodled noodles, and help stock the food shelves of Second Harvest Japan. Yeah, we've got Masu and moto-i throwing in, but we've also got Dorwart, Russell Klein, and Jack Riebel souping it up. A panel of expert judges (who knew DeRusha was one-fourth Japanese on his second cousin's side) will taste and crown a winner. The rest of us will be busy slurping, singing karaoke, having a beer or two, and reveling in the art of ramen.
Come one, come all, the ramen is calling.