Bluff The Listener
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill.
SAGAL: This week - we are sitting around at a beach ignoring our families so we can follow news on our phones. And while we're doing that, we thought we'd bring you some favorite bits from recent shows.
KURTIS: We at WAIT WAIT are always on top of the hottest trends, including dining. Here's a bluff the listener game from last June.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
MELANIE FLINT: Hi Peter, this is Melanie calling from Houston, Texas.
SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Houston?
FLINT: Things are wet here.
SAGAL: Yeah, so I'm told. Big storm coming in. What do you do there in Houston?
FLINT: Well, I'm a mom of two beautiful boys and a third baby on the way in a few weeks.
SAGAL: Hey, congratulations. Oh, my gosh.
FLINT: Thank you. And I'm a psychotherapist in private practice.
SAGAL: That's great. So do you think - has your training in psychotherapy helped you as a mother?
FLINT: (Laughter). That's laughable.
SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Melanie. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Melanie's topic?
KURTIS: Everybody loves Ramen.
SAGAL: Ramen noodles are not just for college kids anymore. You can go to any city, you'll see the hip ramen places opening up. They're trendy. They're everywhere. It increases the volume of disgusting mouth noises wherever you go.
SAGAL: This week though, we read a story of someone taking their Ramen love to an extreme. Guess the true story, you'll win Carl Kasell's voice on your voicemail. Ready to play?
FLINT: I'm ready.
SAGAL: First, let's hear from Faith Salie.
FAITH SALIE: Do you love noodles? Do you love men? Then you'll love Ra-Men, an instant soup concoction that's all the rage in Iceland. Created by Gunnar Grimson, a Reykjavik-based entrepreneur, Ra-Men offers you a steaming bowl of Ramen noodles with a special flavor pouch. It's called the man packet...
SALIE: ...And when ripped open and sprinkled on the hot, meaty broth, it makes your soup smell manly...
SALIE: ...Meaning, like a man. Inhale the redolence of musk, pheromones and a tiny tinge of sweat that will make you hungry for a hot dish. That's the scent. When you eat it, it tastes like chicken.
SALIE: Ra-Men, whose slogan is umami is your daddy...
SALIE: ...Has become an instant hit with Icelandic women. But it's gay men from all over Europe who are flocking to you Ra-Men foam parties. Partygoers dust each other with man packets as they dance all night. As one enthusiastic reveler confesses, I try to stay away from carbs, but I can't resist Ra-Men.
SAGAL: Ra-Men, the instant noodle that smells the way a man should smell. Your next story of Ramen Emanuel comes from Charlie Pierce.
CHARLIE PIERCE: Some people speak in tongues. Some people speak in slurps. In keeping with the spirit of the famous Internet meme deity, the flying spaghetti monster, the campus ministry at Covenant College, a private Christian institution in South Dakota, has inaugurated a weekly communal meal and worship service on campus every Saturday night. The celebrants are required to bring only their faith and a box of noodles when they come to what is now known as the first church of Ramen, and the service is now playing to a packed house in the basement of the college's student center. Look at the way "The Last Supper" is described, said Wendy Walters, a Covenant senior who's a regular at the first church of Ramen. If Jesus and his apostles were alive today, they'd be eating Ramen like the rest of us and maybe Ramen would've been a sacrament for 2,000 years. The Reverend Fontz hopes to expand the first church of Ramen to other colleges and universities, be they specifically Christian institutions or not. We spread the gospel through Ramen as we spread the gospel of Ramen, he said. It's the medium through which we bring the message of salvation. Plus, it's good for you, too.
SAGAL: A Ramen sacrament from Charlie Pierce. Your last story of noodles in the news comes from Luke Burbank.
LUKE BURBANK: Who doesn't love a piping hot bowl of delicious Ramen? No one, that's who.
BURBANK: But of course, there's the sodium and the calories you've got to watch out for. Thankfully though, a man named Ichiro Furuya has come up with an elegant solution, and that solution is submerging people in an even larger bowl of piping hot delicious Ramen. That's right. Patrons of Yunesson Spa House in Hakone, Japan, have taken to soaking in Ramen noodle baths, also known as the world's grossest Jacuzzis.
BURBANK: At a cost of 4,300 yen, or about $35 U.S., Furuya claims the high levels of collagen in the beef broth improve the skin while the warm temperatures speed up metabolism. While one American interviewed described the experience as, quote, "slimy," photos from the spa house show smiling Japanese families packed into giant bowls of soup, complete with noodles, broth and a growing suspicion that those bubbles in your grandpa are not part of the culinary process.
SAGAL: All right, Melanie, here are your choices - from Faith Salie, Ra-Men, the instant Ramen noodle flavor packet that tastes just like man, from Charlie Pierce, the first church of Ramen, where Ramen has become a religious sacrament and from Luke Burbank, Ramen noodle baths in Japan, where you can actually float in a bowl of Ramen for your health and wellness. Which of these is the real story of Ramen in the news?
FLINT: Gosh, as tempting as Luke's story is, I think I'm going to go with Charlie's story about the first church of Ramen.
SAGAL: The first church of Ramen in South Dakota.
SAGAL: All right. Well, we spoke to someone familiar with this real noodle story.
ERIN MOSBAUGH: The actual baths are shaped like Ramen bowls, and there are noodles hanging over your head while you bathe.
FLINT: Oh, no.
SAGAL: Oh, no. I agree with you. I agree with that response. That was Erin Mosbaugh. She is the editor at the food website firstwefeast.com, and she was talking about the horrifying yet apparently very lovely Ramen noodle baths at a spa in Japan.
SAGAL: If you've ever wanted to be a fishcake, just float in there. You can do that. So I'm sorry, you didn't win. You know, frankly, I wouldn't have picked that one because I wouldn't want it to be true.
SAGAL: Melanie, thank you so much for playing with us today. Bye-bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SONG, "SEASIDE BAR SONG")
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