A month or so ago I read an article mentioning a new book about instant noodles. Books regarding instant noodles generally fall into a couple categories: recipe books written and published by individuals and recipe books that are mass-produced and published by the millions.
The Noodle Narratives doesn’t fit into either of these categories. It is a very direct and immersive stroll into the world of the instant noodle, meticulously researched and presented by three professors of anthropology.
The book starts out with description of the manufacturing process, what the ingredients are and their impacts on the body, environment and humanity. The book focuses then on three regions and how instant noodles are seen, tasted and marketed. First, Japan – the birthplace of instant noodles. Next stop is the United States, and finally Papua New Guinea.
Next, the book visits the concept and reality of mass-produced foodstuffs; the flow from concept to production, and finally the table.
This book was fascinating; it contained a wealth of information the authors gathered and experienced throughout 4 years of research on people, food, environment and economy.
If you’re looking for a cookbook, this isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for an opportunity to learn about instant noodles and how they affect the world, The Noodle Narratives is a great read.
I conducted an interview with Professor Deborah Gewertz, co-author of The Noodle Narratives.