Ramen Noodles Serve Up A Bowl Of Nostalgia Last week, NPR asked listeners to send in ramen noodle stories. And they flooded in. Those cheap little packages of instant noodles with the silver foil flavor packets served up a big bowl of nostalgia.
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Ramen Noodles Serve Up A Bowl Of Nostalgia

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Ramen Noodles Serve Up A Bowl Of Nostalgia

Ramen Noodles Serve Up A Bowl Of Nostalgia

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And now let's kanoodle(ph) on over to a lighter story. Last week after my interview with the owner of the popular New York noodle bar, Momofuku, we asked you to send in your Ramen noodle stories and who knew those cheap little blocks of instant noodles with the silver foil flavor packet, well, it turns out they serve up a big steaming bowl of nostalgia. We get so many stories, so many good stories that we need a limit on how many to share with you right now.

(Soundbite of gas stove lighting)

NORRIS: And the limit, as many stories as we can fit into the time it takes to fix a bowl of Ramen.

(Soundbite of boiling water)

NORRIS: Once the water boils, that's about three minutes. So, let's go.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: Keiv Spare of Lawrence, Kansas, says his dad made Ramen noodles for him and his sister. As kids, he writes, they called the meal roman numerals. My dad would mix the noodles with a can of mixed vegetable soup. We thought it was a delicacy.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: That's not far off from what Natalie McQueen's husband did in college, writing us from Sunnyvale, California. She says, her husband would mix in frozen vegetables or chili with his Ramen. Natalie says the chili/Ramen dish became a staple of his diet until the chili started giving him excess gas, oh TMI. Or to keep peace with his roommates he switched to Dinty Moore Beef Stew and stoodles was born. Natalie goes on to tell us that her kids regularly request stoodles for their birthday meals.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: Ramen saved the day and help season the catch for Tom Ciaglo(ph) of Louisville, Colorado. Staying at his lakeside cabin, Tom had to figure out how to cook a trout his son caught. The problem, he had no ingredients for the batter except yes, you guessed it instant Ramen. Tom pulverized the Ramen into something that passed for flour.

Mr. TOM CIAGLO: I had some bad beer. So we added a little of that to make the batter pasty enough to stick on the fish. Oh yeah, the flavor packet, we of course, had to throw that in for just the proper seasoning. We dipped the rainbow fillets in the batter, grilled them, and they were delicious. Our new favorite recipe at the cabin now is house-made Ramen encrusted trout with flavor packet. Ramen, the duct tape of fast food.

NORRIS: Oh, not just duct tape, dried Ramen also happens to make great packing material. That's how Cindy Maggie(ph) of Spokane, Washington, first encountered it in 1972. She says my father was in Vietnam and he would send big boxes home to us. In these boxes were wooden platters and bowls and brassware. She said those gifts were cushioned with packages of dried Ramen and Cindy's dad suggested his family cook them up. Well, they did and they loved it. Cindy, adds I've always thought that Ramen was the only positive thing we got out of the Vietnam War.

(Soundbite of boiling water)

NORRIS: Okay, our noodles are almost done. So time for just two more stories. Beth White(ph) is a retired middle school teacher from Orono, Maine. For her, thoughts of Ramen noodles curl back to the 1980s and some very hungry students.

Ms. BETH WHITE: The kids loved the idea of just gobbling it up crunchy and uncooked, just putting it all in their mouth. They would also open the seasoning packet, they'd pour some of that into their mouths - well it drove us crazy because they were eating it dry so they would be thirsty for hours afterwards. And the worst thing than that was they would have terribly, terribly bad breath from eating the seasoning packets without any water. We teachers, along with other students - oh, we got the brunt of the bad breath.

(Soundbite of music)

NORRIS: Eww. Well, we're trying to beat the clock, so I better pick up the pace. Finally this from Stephanie Brimo(ph) of Chicago. She told us about her first job. She loved Ramen noodles so much she skipped going to lunch with co-workers. Stephanie writes, my boss passed me by and noticed the Ramen noodles. He approached me in all seriousness and asked if they were paying me enough. Well, Stephanie, hope you got a raise out of that.

(Soundbite of clock)

NORRIS: The noodles are done and so are our stories. But you can read more and get some great suggestions on how to dress up your Ramen noodles. One involves a waffle iron. You got to read it to believe it. You will find it at npr.org. Bon appetit.

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