The Ramen King and I
How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life
Gotham Books, May 2009
For three days in January 2007, the most-emailed article in The New York Times was “Appreciations: Mr. Noodle,” an editorial noting the passing, at age 96, of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. The very existence of the noodle inventor came as a shock to many, but not to Andy Raskin, who had spent nearly three years trying to meet Ando. Why?
To fix the problems that plagued his love life.
THE RAMEN KING AND I is the true story of Raskin’s colossal struggle to confront the truth of his dating life, and how Momofuku Ando served as his unlikely spiritual guide. Raskin’s quest leads him to some unexpected places—from the Wharton School and Kmart headquarters to the Instant Ramen Invention Museum and a funeral in a baseball stadium—and he eats a lot of Japanese food. Along the way, he’s spurred on by cinematic samurai warriors, manga-based chefs, and the author Haruki Murakami.
Charting Raskin’s pursuit of the elusive Ando, The Ramen King and I unfolds partly through frank, revealing letters addressed to the culinary sage. After devouring Ando’s books and essays, with titles such as Peace Follows from a Full Stomach and Mankind Is Noodlekind, Raskin ultimately discovers that he has been suffering from what Ando identified—just before inventing instant ramen—as the Fundamental Misunderstanding of Humanity. A unique memoir of hunger in its many forms, The Ramen King and I is about how we become slaves to our desires, and how to break free.
“I ate this book in one sitting. Okay three sittings. What I mean is I loved it. It won me over from the start, and when it wasn’t making me hungry it made me think. Apparently I, too, battle against the Fundamental Misunderstanding of Humanity.”
– Po Bronson
“… a painfully humane and hilariously candid journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance… the various strands eventually weave together into a satisfying whole that becomes a quirky, unique memoir.”
– Publishers Weekly