Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ramen of the Year

Recently eaten: fried whole flounder
Recent annoyance: the people who insist on putting crumpled dollar bills into the machine on the bus

The creator of instant ramen noodles died on Saturday. I cannot even begin to explain what this man's invention has done to change my life. I would not be the high-cholesterol, high sodium, flavored with MSG Phoebe that you all know and love. Ramen has gotten me through many a morning, many a hungry night. And the fact that Mr. Ando died at the ripe old age of 96 means that I will probably live forever. Start writing me into your wills now because I will be the only left to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Momofuko Ando, Japanese inventor of instant noodles, dies at 96
"Momofuku Ando, the Japanese inventor of instant noodles, has died, according to Nissin Food Products Co., the company he founded. He was 96.

Ando died of a heart attack on Friday, Nissin said in a statement posted Saturday on its corporate website.

He was born in Taiwan in 1910, when the island was under Japanese colonial rule. He moved to Japan in 1933, according to Japan's daily Mainichi newspaper.

Faced with food shortages in post World War II Japan, Ando developed the idea that a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses. He founded Nissin in 1948.

In 1958, "Chicken Ramen," the first instant noodle product, was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company continued to add innovative products, including "Cup Noodle" in 1971.

"The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum" opened in 1999 in Ikeda City in western Japan commemorating his inventions.

The company's products even went into space when Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi took instant noodles in a pouch called "Space Ram" on his 2005 mission on board the U.S. space shuttle Discovery.

Ando was a keen promoter of developing food for space travel, Nissin said.

Ando gave a 30-minute speech at the company's New Year ceremony and enjoyed Chicken Ramen for lunch with Nissin employees on Thursday before falling ill, Japan's largest daily Yomiuri said."

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