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Father of Instant Ramen Passes Away 195

Posted by Zonk
from the a-sad-day-for-noodles dept.
Chained Fei writes "Ando Momofuku, Father of the Instant Ramen, passed away on January 5th at the age of 96. He concocted the idea for Instant Ramen after WWII, hoping to reduce the amount of poor nourishment for soldiers in the field. If not for this great man, many a poor college student and programmer would have starved over the years. From the article: 'In 1971, Nissin introduced the Cup Noodle featuring instant ramen in a waterproof plastic foam container. Dubbed the "Ramen King," Ando is credited with expanding Nissin into the No. 1 company in the industry and was well-known for his dedication to his work ... In 1999, Ando opened the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, after installing his second son, Koki, as president of the company.'"
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Father of Instant Ramen Passes Away

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  • RIP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:25AM (#17496060)
    Ando was inspired to develop the instant noodle after coming upon a long line of people on a cold night shortly after World War II waiting to buy freshly made ramen at a black market food stall, according to Nissin.
    The experience convinced him that "Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat," it said.
    • Ode to ramen (Score:5, Interesting)

      by perfessor multigeek (592291) <pmultigeek@@@earthlink...com> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:16AM (#17496290) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, sure, he started this. Of course when it first came out it was ungodly expensive [straightdope.com], so right there it wasn't quite what it is now.

      But then again, AFAIC, at this point ramen is still the perfect geek food.

      1.) It's hugely high tech. That little fifty cent packet depends on freeze-drying, foil packaging (thank you NASA), fifth or later gen styrofoam if it's in a cup (only recent gens are low in leached plasticizers), chances are you're cooking it in a microwave oven, and on and on. An awful lot of geek skull sweat went into every little pack of noodly goodness.

      2.) It's truly imternational. Go for it, tell me again about the evil American cultural hegemony. Ramen is a Chinese food [wikipedia.org] reworked by a Japanese inventor, and increasingly done in south Asian flavors, all sold through American-style distibution.

      3.) It's a triumph of free-market capitalism. A better product that succeeded because it is better and getting constantly revised due to low barriers to entry and fierce competition.

      4.) It's hackable. Don't want the palm oil? Drain off the water before you eat it and rinse in fresh hot water. Want to add stuff? Folks have been customizing their ramen for thousands of years. Add peanut butter and veggies and it's damn healthy.

      5.) It's still cheap. State of the art product for sale so cheap you can buy a case of it for the cost of one meal at, say, Dennys, let alone real food.

      Hell, yeah. Ramen. Gimme some more.

      • Re:Ode to ramen (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheLink (130905) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @07:20AM (#17496520) Journal
        There are air dried versions of ramen, and those have negligible amounts of oil.

        These often don't come with any flavouring as well, so you may have to do a bit of cooking if you don't have extra flavour packets around.

        You could fry in olive oil and black pepper + a bit of chopped parsley, then add a fried egg. Yes you're adding oil back again, but good olive oil is worth it :). With the egg the entire meal gives you a fair balance of carbo, protein and fat.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gEvil (beta) (945888)
          Fried egg? Nah, just scramble one up in a cup and then dump it in your boiling ramen at the end. Whisk it around with a fork for about 5 seconds and you're done. Of course, this only works with non-instant ramen.
          • Derr, i meant non-microwavable, not non-instant.
          • by TheLink (130905)
            Yeah, that works well with the soup based ramen. The one I was talking about was for the those that don't include soup.

            The average student could probably survive long enough on a diet of just instant ramen and boiled fresh egg to graduate or drop out for other reasons.

            Not recommended though :).
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by yokem_55 (575428)
              I knew somebody in school who while studying abroad in Germany, had a diet that consisted of saltine crackers, tomato paste, and tuna. According to him he kept himself fed for $2/day. Granted, he could have been eating better if he weren't spending $50/week on beer, but he figured that he needed to more fully study the culture while he was there and thus aligned his dietary priorities accordingly.
              • by TheLink (130905)
                Well, tuna is decent enough food (except for modern day pollutants - PCB, mercury - which don't kill quickly at usual tuna levels), and so I guess is tomato paste :).

                May even have been better than a diet of beer, sausages and sauerkraut ;).
      • after WWII, hoping to reduce the amount of poor nourishment for soldiers in the field.

        Funny, no mention of that "peace dividend from a war product" in the actual story, which instead cites compassion for starving Japanese on soup lines after atomic war devastated their country. But if instant ramen was indeed either inspired or funded justified by feeding soldiers better, then it's proof that outlawing war makes a nation's economy more competitive where it counts: feeding people, and making money. And there

        • by jedrek (79264)
          Funny, no mention of that "peace dividend from a war product" in the actual story, which instead cites compassion for starving Japanese on soup lines after atomic war devastated their country

          Two atomic bombs were dropped on two cities in Japan. Atomic war didn't devastate the Japanese economy, waging and losing a conventional war did.
          • And most of the damage to their cities was from non-nuclear sources, by far. People tend to forget about the fire-raids that devastated a lot more of Japan's cityscape than two comparatively tiny nukes.
      • That little fifty cent packet

        $0.50 for a single packet of ramen? You got ripped off, dude.
        • Silly me, I forgot that I was posting to /., land of niggling disagreement.

          Now, first of all, I mostly don't buy ramen at all these days. My noodle fix of choice is some Wei Wei rice noodles with amchur (mango powder), a bit of tienjin dried cabbage, pickled ginger, an egg and or shredded meat, fresh scallions (I grow my own), maybe greens or sprouts, maybe peanut butter, a bit of soy sauce, smidgens of other seasonings, and some fresh lime juice. Comes out to about a buck a meal.

          My fifty cent estimate

      • In memorium, relatives plan to dehydrate Ando Momofuku and place him in a giant cup for eternity, or until Godzilla gets hungry.

        Rest in peace, Momofuku-san.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      "Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat,"
      What about the wolves?
  • Now I'll have to crawl out of my mother's basement for food!
  • Soldiers Love It! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mork29 (682855) * <keith@yelnick.us@army@mil> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:43AM (#17496130) Journal

    He concocted the idea for Instant Ramen after WWII, hoping to reduce the amount of poor nourishment for soldiers in the field.

    I'll tell you that soldiers eat this stuff in the field all of the time. I'm in a unit that fields the http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/new s/2002/05/mil-020529-usa01.htm [globalsecurity.org] Stryker which has a water heater inside of it. I'd say it gets used for cooking ramen almost as much as it does for heating MREs (Meal Ready to Eat). Soldiers love this as much as any college student. I can't imagine somebody who doesn't love Ramen though...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nathanh (1214)
      I can't imagine somebody who doesn't love Ramen though...

      I can't stand the stuff. It's oily and salty and plain nasty. I'd rather cook something fresh than eat the freeze-dried instant carbohydrate disaster that is instant ramen.

      • by dodongo (412749)
        I can't stand the stuff. It's oily and salty and plain nasty. I'd rather cook something fresh than eat the freeze-dried instant carbohydrate disaster that is instant ramen.


        Of course you don't eat instant ramen, then: you're missing the point! I'd rather cook something too, but that's precisely the time instant ramen is 100% NOT made for!
    • by schon (31600)
      I can't imagine somebody who doesn't love Ramen

      It's horrid, foul stuff with no nutritional value whatsoever.

      This [userfriendly.org] sums it up about right.
    • I can't imagine somebody who doesn't love Ramen though.

      1. "Ramen" is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of noodles and broth, sometimes garnished with meat, vegetables, tofu, etc. What you are referring to is "instant ramen", which has only a tenuous connection with the real stuff.

      2. You don't have to imagine it - there's plenty of people who can't stomach the stuff, myself included. Although I might feel differently if I was living in an armored personnel carrier.
  • by triikan (1035650) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:46AM (#17496154)
    Ramen noodles are proof of the far reach of the FSM's noodly appendage.
  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:57AM (#17496214) Homepage
    I thought instant ramen came from heaven...
    • by gamer4Life (803857) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @11:10AM (#17497588)
      It did. The FSM sent it's beloved son, Ando Momofuku, to the world to teach the world about FSM through Ramen. The FSM exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a mutual indwelling of two beings - the FSM and Ando Momofuku. You might ask yourself, "Why?!" -- the answer my friend, is to just accept it, the FSM works in mysterious ways.

      Ra-men, brother.
    • Being used to eat proper spaghetti alla pummarola, I took the liberty of call an exorcist to take care of your insanity. He refused to see you, though.
  • by joss (1346) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:03AM (#17496234) Homepage
    That guy needed success so he could move into a good neighbourhood.
    It must have been confusing for him in a bad neighbourhood...
    random stranger: "Hey, momofuka"
    Ando: "how did you know my name"
  • Ramen. (Score:5, Funny)

    by icefaerie (827772) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:29AM (#17496342) Homepage
    Allow me to say, Ando was truly touched by His Noodly Appendage. We have lost a great man. Ramen.
  • by doomy (7461) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @07:05AM (#17496458) Homepage Journal
    Proof that a great name would always work in captalism.

    RIP. Momofuku Ando.

    PS: Your noodle are in my stomach.
  • If not for this great man, many a poor college student and programmer would have starved^H^H^H^H^H^H^H learned to cook over the years.

          There, corrected it! ;)

          So long, Ramen guy. The noodles just won't be the same without you.
    • Not really. I was fortunate that I learned to cook before I went to university, but a lot of my contemporaries live on pasta and a stir-in sauce. Instant Ramen haven't taken off here in the UK (we have pot noodles, but the less said about them the better), so I guess that's the cultural equivalent. In my first year as an undergrad, I lived with a Nepalese guy who had been brought up in a culture where women did the cooking and men weren't allowed in the kitchen; he managed to destroy a saucepan cooking r

      • In the UK do the student domiciles typically include a fairly complete kitchen (-ette)? That might explain the cultural difference. Many of the dorms in US colleges and universities have no kitchen facilities whatsoever, or at the most a wholly inadequate shared "kitchen" of two stoves on the first floor of a building designed to house several hundred students.

        They often have a small microwave & child size refrigerator, which is great for frozen dinners and ramen, but is insufficient for anything more
        • It varies. At my university, if you were in university accommodation (which most people were for the first year, after which they went elsewhere, some returning for their final year), you were offered a choice between self-catering or catered accommodation. The self-catered part was a village of houses split into flats for 4-7 people who all shared a kitchen. It had a reasonable amount of space and an oven / grill and hobs. No microwave (or toaster), but a lot of people got their own. The catered accom
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Some of us instead learned to cook ramen, in weird and wonderful ways :)

      My two favourites:

      Put 2 cups COLD water into quart glass bowl (has to start off cold or the eggs will fall apart). Add 2 or 3 eggs. Punch a small hole in each yolk (so it won't explode). Smash up a packet of ramen, dump it into the water. Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, until eggs are set. Drain excess liquid. Add random quantity of grated cheese and a SMALL amount of the flavour packet. Stir, let cheese melt, enjoy. (Note: eggs are optio
  • by All_One_Mind (945389) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @07:49AM (#17496658) Homepage Journal
    A delicious blend of flavors will keep this super salad on the top of your list!

    Cook noodles according to package directions, but do not add flavor packets. Drain and cool. Cut noodles up slightly. Combine with other salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix flavor packets, garlic and lemon juice and let stand at least 15 minutes. Add oil and mayonnaise and whisk until smooth. Pour dressing over salad and toss until thoroughly mixed. Garnish with red pepper rings and small grape clusters if desired. Quick and delicious!

    Ingredients:

            * 2 packages Chicken Flavor Top Ramen
            * 8 cups spinach leaves, torn
            * 1-1/2 cups turkey or chicken, cooked and diced
            * 1 cup red or green grapes, halved
            * 1 cup red pepper, slivered
            * 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
            * 1/2 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled

    Dressing:

            * 2 Flavor packets from Chicken Flavor Top Ramen
            * 4 cloves garlic, minced
            * Juice from 1 small lemon
            * 1/3 cup olive oil
            * 1/4 cup light mayonnaise

    Serves 2
  • by shanen (462549)
    No, really, he did sponsor the publication of a book called (using Romaji) Insutanto Ra-men No Himitsu, or the Secrets of Instant Ramen. I read it back in 1998. It was pretty clear that the company had helped sponsor it, though it was published as part of a very popular series of children's books. The 'secrets' series are educational manga (comic books) for kids, and include such classics as the Secrets of Bread (the food) and the Secrets of Fish (the animals) and the Secrets of Earthquakes. The Secrets of
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @08:44AM (#17496882) Homepage Journal
    and yet lived to be 96 years old. Maybe there is hope for me yet :P
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      Yes, but he also died a few days after eating Instant Ramen with workers at a Nissin plant.
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @09:37AM (#17497102)
    I believe we should each observe three minutes of silence in memory of him. Some of you may even have a timer for that.

    Chris Mattern
  • Cook noodles but don't add the flavor. Drain and warm noodles with canned chili (Hormel). Mmmm..Mmmm..Mmmm
    • by tenton (181778)
      Cook noodles but don't add the flavor. Drain and warm noodles with canned chili (Hormel). Mmmm..Mmmm..Mmmm

      Ah, I figured I wasn't the only one to do this. You can use other canned foods as well; chicken soup is (not surprisingly) a good choice as well. Good change of taste/pace.
  • Havent eaten any since college days ( a good 15+ years now ) but for some odd reason was in the mood about 11 pm on the 5th and went out to get some from the local grocery. ( and of course prepared the same way as i did back then.. with burger, their seasoning and just enough pasta sauce to make it wet )

    How odd....
  • by teslatug (543527)
    Ramen? Who will speak his death?
  • If not for this great man, many a poor college student and programmer would have starved over the years.

    No way. We had Hormel Potted Meat Food Product. Three times the fat of Underwood Deviled Ham at one-third the price.

    rj

  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's a cool little ramen restaurant in NYC, down in the village (10th street and 1st Ave, if memory serves) named "Momofuku's." It's a pretty good spot. I ate there a few times last year. The wait time is ridiculously long and it's always crowded, but it's worth it. They have some damn good ramen.
  • Like Harland Sanders' story, Ando's is inspiring for those of us who are "past their prime" in this youth-oriented culture. I'm looking around for some kind of post-computer geek career that doesn't involve management (especially not managing software development), but to pay the bills I have to keep doing what I've grown to hate. It doesn't help to be thought of as too old (read: too expensive) to have "kept up" with the "l33t" technology. Ando and others prove that age doesn't have to affect peoples' c
    • by macshit (157376)
      she has the potential to do so and get out of the programming field altogether.

      So, buck up fellow creaking-jointed, progressive-bifocal-wearing, relaxed-fit-docker's-wearing folks, it's never too late to start again!


      I dunno, I'm in the same age bracket as you, and even after 25 years in the field, I absolutely love programming -- the amount of fascinating stuff there is to do with the same core skillset is just amazing, given how computers play an increasingly large part in a vast number of fields. I'm an
      • by CptNerd (455084)

        So, buck up fellow creaking-jointed, progressive-bifocal-wearing, relaxed-fit-docker's-wearing folks, it's never too late to start again!

        I dunno, I'm in the same age bracket as you, and even after 25 years in the field, I absolutely love programming -- the amount of fascinating stuff there is to do with the same core skillset is just amazing, given how computers play an increasingly large part in a vast number of fields. I'm an old school hacker I guess: I view the field

  • Obviously, he did not eat too much of his own inventions. :-)

    But seriously, instant noodles nowadays are pretty bad (nutritionally - lots of "50% saturated fat, etc." types out there). Even after draining it through hot water and using your own soup and flavoring, you're still dealing with fried noodles for the most part.

    My favorite is a vegetarian ramen from Taiwan. I haven't had a better one. Whatever chemicals they put in there to make the noodles taste good and have a good texture, they've got it all co
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      I've noticed even the commercial grocery ramens are not all alike. I've come to prefer Maruchan, as the noodles seem more like "food" and the packet has more flavour and less salt.

      Also, it's $4.88 for a 48-pack at Costco or Sam's Club :) Where else can you get a quick-and-dirty meal for 10 cents??

  • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @01:47PM (#17498700)
    When I was in high school, a Japanese exchange student told me that many Japanese teens heat up Nissin Cup Noodles, let it sit in cold water for a couple minutes, then drill a hole at the bottom of the cup and use it as a poor man's FleshLight (not worksafe) [fleshlight.com]. Quoth him, "I feels like real thing, man."
  • If he is buried with half the salt that a cup of instant ramen has, the body will be well preserved for centuries.
  • On a somber note, he was laid to rest in a Styrofoam®, container vacuum sealed with a foil cover.
  • Thousands upon thousands of college students cry out as the man who allowed them to eat while pursuing their dreams passed on.
  • Classes start up at my university tomorrow. In memory of this fine man I shall observe a moment of silence every day at lunch this week while I enjoy my noodly meal.
  • Why is this under "science" ?

  • Actually filmed on the Space Station. Between this ad and the steaming cup in Times Square, I'm guessing that their ad budget is pretty hefty...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntg2D4vUil8&search= cup%20noodle%20noodles%20nissin%20CM%20commercial% 20japan [youtube.com]
  • Cup 'o Noodles are over a dollar if I remember correctly. Any starving student worth his graphing calculator would buy 5-7 times the amount of noodles in plastic packaging. And remember -- every dollar saved on ramen is a dollar toward the keg fund.
  • College students wouldn't starve - they would just eat more Kraft Dinner (Macaroni and Cheese) like I did in collge. Of course, usually I didn't spring for the name brand and went with the 19 cents a box generic.
  • Can definitely vouch for Ramon noodles making free software possible.

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