Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More on Momofuku Ando, instant ramen inventor

When I did this post, I thought I was doing one of those quirky blog posts about a pet issue that no one else really cared about. Boy, was I wrong. I've heard a segment on NPR, and the New York Times today had an appreciation (you might need TimesSelect) on its editorial page. Here are my favorite quotes:
The news last Friday of the death of the ramen noodle guy surprised those of us who had never suspected that there was such an individual. It was easy to assume that instant noodle soup was a team invention, one of those depersonalized corporate miracles, like the Honda Civic, the Sony Walkman and Hello Kitty, that sprang from that ingenious consumer-product collective known as postwar Japan.

But no. Momofuku Ando, who died in Ikeda, near Osaka, at 96, was looking for cheap, decent food for the working class when he invented ramen noodles all by himself in 1958.
That was my reaction, too: I didn't even know there was such a person. But the best quote comes at the end:
Ramen noodles have earned Mr. Ando an eternal place in the pantheon of human progress. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything.
Amen! I think it's funny that this story has resonated a lot more than I thought it would. Perhaps I'm not so weird as I make myself out to be.

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