Ramen

How much is inside Ramen noodles? 

Top Ramen is the king of noodles. With a reputation built on eight-for-a-dollar, ten-for-a-dollar, and even 12-for-a-dollar packaged soup, These affordable three-minute meals have supplied life-giving nutrients to innumerable college students.

However, having graduated from the University and forged a respected status in my community, I usually opt for a somewhat classier brand of instant noodle: Sapporo Ichiban

I refer to it as "the gentleman's noodle".

Like all instant ramen, the Sapporo Ichiban package is actually a food kit, containing both a tough block of tangled wheat noodles and a foil envelope containing 8 grams of salt and leek chips.

These futuristic blocks of nutrition were developed by JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) in 1974. 

Ramen production started slowly, at only a few dozen blocks per month.

Despite their premium price, the portability and convenience was inescapable.  They caught on immediately with Japanese executives, jet-set businessmen, politicians and anyone else who needed to eat "at the speed of space".

 

 

Increased production and overseas competition allowed the price to fall, eventually allowing middle class families and urban professionals to embrace noodlemania. 

In 1981, the familiar ramen block was joined by a flavor envelope, bolstered by the "Spice it UP!" and "Em Es Gee!" Marketing campaigns. No one seemed to mind that ramen simplicity had become a little less simple.

Everyone associated the little foil envelopes with good times. 

 

The dimensions of the Ramen block are easy to measure: 4" long, 4" wide and 1" thick. But how long are the noodles within, or  is the block really one long noodle, carefully folded in the best traditions of foodigami?

 

On Saturday afternoon, we decided to find out.

Mark and I boiled some water and dropped in a block of ramen.

In two minutes, the ramen had softened.  

We knew then we were very close to unlocking their secrets.

A close examination revealed that there were many separate noodles, dozens of them!

Mark tried eating directly from the aluminum platter, just like those first JAXAnaughts.

The next step was to stretch out the noodles and measure them.

please continue to page 2.

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