5.12.08

while we're young.













Goddamn am I getting old. I almost started this post with the phrase, "People from my generation..." which is something that none but the most prematurely aged young person would say. Another clue: I was starting this post with that hideous fragment because I was trying to limit myself to a subject about which I could knowledgably speak: my generation. Implying (accurately) that I have no idea what's going on with "kids today" and their eating habits. 

Let me rewind (another telling detail..."young people" don't rewind, nor do they probably even have any idea what it is) for a moment: this post is about college food. When I was in college all those years ago (where's my cane?), the number one Staple Dorm Room Food was instant ramen noodles

How could they not be, really, at $0.18 a package and no cooking skills required. One meal of ramen per day, one meal of Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese, and a bologna or peanut butter sandwich somewhere in there, and that put your daily food cost at somewhere around 50 cents (and your sodium intake at about 5 grams), enabling you to walk 2 miles to Vinyl Fever on Saturday and blow 14 dollars on used CDs. 

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Fast forward (now listen here, sonny...): we now know how to cook. We now have an interest in what food is actually supposed to taste like. We now weirdly refer to ourselves in the first-person plural. We now understand that sometimes, instead of traveling halfway around the world to experience a different culture, it's possible to have a taste of that experience by authentically cooking some of that culture's food. Or at least it's possible to justify an expensive and time-consuming cooking project with this sort of pseudo-noble rhetoric.

Which brings me to this weekend's project: tonkotsu ramen. Andy spent a few weeks in Japan last month, and came home raving about this soup like a man possessed. Every time I've seen him over the past couple of weeks, he would either begin or end our conversation by saying "tonkotsu ramen" and wiggling his eyebrows motivationally. 

So we're going to give it a try this weekend. The first step is a very long-cooked broth made from pork bones and a piece of seaweed. Here's the eGullet thread for everyone's edification. And here's a recipe that looks quite promising. And here's a cooking video with a dog:

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7 comments:

Klary Koopmans said...

That reminds me of my year in Hamburg, where I used to try and stretch my foodbudget enough so I could buy books. I remember a pretty brutal week when I lived on nothing but quark and tinned tuna, so I could buy the French/German edition of Les Fleurs du Mal. No wonder I weighed 10 kilos less than I do today....

mht712 said...

I remember walking two miles (in the snow, uphill in both directions) to buy used vinyl. Just sayin'.
Signed,
Older than Dirt

MEM said...

So does this mean that a diet of tuna and kwark will help us lose those pesky 10 kilos?

I still don't exactly know what to do with kwark. It's the least cheesy cheese I've ever seen.

I also don't know how I survived college with only 20 CDs. And maybe 50 cassettes. How did I cope with things while hungry and music-starved???

Zora said...

Oh wow--love the dog video! Interesting that they add "chicken stock" (aka msg) to the bowl after they've gone to all the trouble of making two other stocks.

Have you seen this clip? More dogs cooking...perhaps even more bizarrely than anything made in Japan.

MEM said...

I know, Andy and I are vacillating about how many stocks to make. The pork is obviously mandatory and must be done with bravery and vigor. The dashi is seeming pretty important as well. I think we'll forgo any chicken-related futzing for this maiden voyage...

And thanks for the Wegman video...though I can't understand how something this Lynchian could end up on children's TV....

Zora said...

I know, right? There's also a good one of a portrait painter and a studio model.

I'm not sure when they first aired, though Wegman was still a stoner conceptual artist when we were watching Sesame Street. I assume you heard the DVD reissues of vintage Sesame Street were deemed not suitable for younger viewers (aka kids today)?

MEM said...

Well, they don't make kids like they used to, that's for sure. Probably b/c they spend the first 5 years of their lives watching brain-dead dross instead of 1970s Sesame Street and Electric Company...