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Full slurp ahead

Cover of Let's Make Ramen!: A Comic
A review of Let's Make Ramen!: A Comic Book Cookbook by Hugh Amano and Sarah Becan

"A good bowl of ramen is a symphony of flavor and aroma, texture and temperature."

Do you enjoy ramen? This exceptional book provides everything you need to know about ramen, how to prepare ramen from scratch, and tips and tricks for making the most of your ramen time.

The books starts off with a history of ramen and navigating a Japanese ramen-ya or ramen shop, and moves on to stocking your ramen pantry and kitchen at home. Illustrated directions depict how to create various broths, tares (seasoning) and stocks, how to make homemade noodles, and preparations for meats, accompaniments and offshoots, like dipped noodles, soba noodles, mazemen and tantanmen. I am obsessed with tantanmen, otherwise referred to as tan tan noodles or dan dan noodles or Szechuan pork noodles depending on the region and whether it's Japanese or Chinese cuisine. 

There's also a section devoted to slurping ramen noodles. Slurping is an art. I repeat, slurping is an art. There are specific instructions that start with letting the steam rise to your face in order to feel the broth's energy and smell its complexity and how slurping helps cool the hot broth and noodles and aerates the bowl and enhances the experience. It's poetic. And an integral part of the ramen experience. It shows the cook you're eating with gusto. I've been looking for my life motto and I just found it. I wholeheartedly believe in eating with gusto and this solidifies that.

Other highlights include words of wisdom from the titans of the ramen world, including Brian Macduckston, a famous ramen-ya tour guide and creator of Ramen Adventures, Ivan Orkin, proprietor of the eponymous Ramen-Ya in Tokyo and Manhattan, Kenshiro Uki of Sun Noodle (Sun Noodles are considered the best pre-made noodles available), and our own Madison chef/hero Tory Miller. 

Author Hugh Amano is a chef and writer and illustrator Sarah Becan is a comics artist, author, illustrator, and designer. Both are based in Chicago and "fueled by a common love of the alchemy of chewy noodles, nuanced broths, and delicious toppings." This results in a loving and in-depth tribute.

Oct 21, 2019