The Zen of Ramen Noodles
The plastic cups
are a cop-out.
You canít contemplate
the meanings of life, the universe, and everything
just by watching a cup slowly rotate in a microwave.
No, the only way to eat ramen noodles is
the old-fashioned way.
From the beginning, the process is meditative.
I wouldnít be surprised if the Dalai Lama ate ramen.
What flavor will you choose?
Your choice of flavor reflects your inner truth, so choose
Some stick to the simple, salt of the earth standbys - beef,
Some choose the earthy complexities of chicken mushroom.
Some favor the elegant subleties of shrimp or oriental.
Some seek out the exotic explosiveness of picante chicken or
But no one in his right mind eats creamy chicken. Thatís just
You must then turn to
the cellophane tenets of wisdom:
BOIL TWO CUPS OF WATER IN A SAUCEPAN, ADD NOODLES AND COOK THREE
MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY.
Itís so simple yet deceptive:
How high do you turn up the burner?
When do you add the noodles?
How often is occasionally?
But thatís the whole reason
youíre eating ramen noodles in the first place.
To meditate. To think. To be.
You wait patiently by the stove for the burner to heat up.
Tiny bubbles rise in the saucepan and burst to the top, carrying
of ramen noodles past and insinuating ramen noodles future.
Meanwhile, the whisps of steam rise like ghosts
as you stare at the clock face.
A watched pot never boils, you know.
When you least expect it, a cascade of foam
erupts over the edge of the pan to sizzle on the burner.
Itís like lava flowing into the ocean, but in reverse.
You drop in the noodles and start to stir.
The interwoven block of noodles is tough at first. But you
work at it with your spoon, breaking
it into little fragments. As the endless minutes
wear on, the noodles form a ring, an empty zero
pregnant with thought.
And thus spake the packaging:
TURN OFF HEAT, ADD CONTENTS OF SEASONING PACKAGE, STIR.
Ah, the seasoning -
a little foil packet of salt, soy sauce powder, and msg,
redolent of the exotic
air of an oriental bazaar. Youíre almost there.
SERVE IMMEDIATELY FOR BEST RESULTS. MAKES TWO 8 OZ. SERVINGS.
Two servings?! No one ever shares ramen noodles!
Eating ramen is, above all, a solitary path to oneness.
But there is no time to think now. You have to eat before the
soak up the liquid and turn into bloated chewy strands that
like whales on the edge of the bowl. Be careful, theyíre hot.
Spencer Pate is one of my favourite thinkers, writers,
and come to think of it, people. The fact that he's not old
enough to legally inebriate only worries me in the context of
"is he a cheese or a strawberry?" I hope he's a cheese, not to
everyone's taste, but nothing
great ever is.
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Night of the Living Crickets