December 16, 2016

The Umami Reader: Try This Instant Ramen Hack

by Sarah Han
ramenkawashima

This is not instant ramen. Photo via Ramen Kawashima

– If Ichiban and Cup Noodles are regulars in your culinary repertoire and you’re looking for new ways to jazz up your instant ramen fix, here’s a suggestion for you: Just add sake. According to JapanToday, the latest trend in Japan is to add about a tablespoon of sake to instant ramen. And the results are dramatic – some say sake makes instant ramen “doubly delicious,” bringing out the broth’s sweetness and giving it a creamy mouth feel. Intrigued, but not having any instant ramen on hand, I stirred a tablespoon of sake into my lunch of Amy’s Mushroom Bisque and was pleased with the results. I will definitely be stocking up on instant ramen stat. (JapanToday, via Tasting Table)

– While I’m on the topic of ramen, here’s a local event in Berkeley that you should know about. The makers of that delicious-looking bowl of non-instant ramen at the top of this post, Ramen Kawashima will host a one-day only pop-up at Sushinista in Berkeley. The pop-up takes place on December 30, 2016, from 5:30–10:30 p.m. (Via: Sushinista)

– Recent findings from two Johns Hopkins clinical studies have shown the benefits of psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms, to help alleviate cancer anxiety and depression. A remarkable 78% of the participants were less depressed than when they started and 83 percent were less anxious for at least six months after given just one dose of magic mushrooms. Two-thirds of study participants said it was “one of the top five most meaningful” experiences of their lives. After taking psilocybin, their “quality of life improved, as did their feelings of ‘life meaning’ and optimism—even though several of them would later die.” (The Atlantic)

– Just Like Honey: If you’re unimpressed with the power of magic mushrooms, here’s another psychedelic edible that may blow your mind: magic honey! In Nepal, the Himalayan honey bee produces a very potent hallucinogenic honey, created from a toxin in the rhododendron flower. The powers of this sweet, mind-bending treat are so tempting that Himalayan honey hunters will risk their lives by climbing hundreds of feet on thin bamboo rope ladders to harvest the honey from cliffside hives. What a trip! (National Geographic)

– Weirdly enough, I found another video about climbing crazy cliffs in Asia for medicinal ingredients. This time, it’s in China’s Getu Valley, where Miao climbers, known as Spider-Men (and now a Spider-Woman), scale dizzyingly-high cliffs without ropes or any equipment to search for herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. (Great Big Story)

-Historical gastronomist and author Sarah Lohman has identified the eight flavors that define American cuisine. In her cookbook, Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, Lohman writes how black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha are the most influential, representative, and popular ingredients throughout our culinary history. Lohman’s book includes recipes using these flavors that originate from American cookbooks, spanning from 1796 to 2000. (NPR)

– Meet Your Meat: This video takes you behind the scenes at Kawai Trading Co. in Japan, where the butchers process olive-fed Wagyu beef, some of the world’s most expensive meat in the world. Am I the only one who can’t stop thinking of Westworld when watching this video? (Eater; via: Sean Montgomery)

– Rhymes with Dump: This is the best and funniest restaurant review I’ve read all year. (Vanity Fair)


The Umami Reader: Mining the internet for stuff about food worth reading and watching

 

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