I’m mad for Ramen at the moment. In fact, any noodle soup that doesn’t obviously contain testicles, hearts or boiled egg (covert balls are ok) is floating my boat, but Ramen is the current soup de jour.
I love its simplicity: water, noodles and various, tiny pieces of unidentifiable, tasty shit; like someone has crushed a circuit board over a bowl of steaming beige wires. Yummy-tronic.
So with this simplicity in mind, I thought that it would be a cinch to make some ramen at home, in the few minutes I have at lunchtime between writing jokes and trying to keep my daughter Florence from swallowing her own fist.
Of course, as five minutes on the inter-tubes would reveal, there’s nothing simple about ramen at all. True to form, the Japanese have taken something which has more parts that a full-size death star built entirely out of lego and just made it look like a bowl of soup.
In hindsight, I was an idiot to think that it would be easy. The Japanese don’t believe in easy; they just believe in making things that look easy. Things that lure in arrogant interlopers with the promise of simplicity, but then reveal themselves to be as unfathomable as the bastard child of UK tax law and the off-side rule.
Unfortunately, the “She’ll be right” attitude hard-coded into my Australia genes told me to make the ramen anyway, and so with ingredients blindly purchased from a Japanese supermarket where I was too embarrassed to talk to the staff, I made what I thought was, but turned out not to be, ramen. It’s hard to describe what I actually produced, but let’s just say that “she wasn’t right”. She, was pretty far from alright. I might have gone in with the best of intentions, but I came out with something that looked cholera-infested, sump water and tasted like old socks and wet cardboard.
You know that you’ve really buggered up in the kitchen when someone who doesn’t even understand the concept of sensory perception, screws their nose up at the smell of what you’ve just created. So when Florence vomited in response to smelling my pseudo-ramen, I stopped trying to convince myself that it tasted of anything other than balls and tipped it down the sink.
So as of 4pm this afternoon the scoreline stands: JAPAN 1 – KENT 0 and I’ve learned yet another lesson about the hidden intricacies of something that looks like a piece of piss, but invariably tastes better when made by someone who knows what they’re doing.