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Father of Instant Ramen Passes Away 195

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.
  • Soldiers Love It! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mork29 ( 682855 ) * <keith.yelnick@us ... mil minus distro> 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 s/2002/05/mil-020529-usa01.htm [] 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:Ate much ramen? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazntwich ( 208070 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:50AM (#17496172)
    Sodium is not nearly as bad as many people have been lead to believe. Doctors will frequently tell their hypertension patients to cut as much sodium from their diets as possible, but this is because a portion of the population is hypersensitive to sodium [], and there is no way to tell whether or not cutting sodium can help their blood pressure until a low sodium diet is tried. If the patient responds well to the low sodium intake, then other more drastic measures like medication can be avoided.

    Keep in mind that until the advent of modern preservatives (the most commonly used one is still sodium) and refrigeration/freezing, the primary method of preserving a variety of foods involved salt curing, and many people of long ago had daily intakes of sodium that would be considered astronomical by today's standards, yet managed to find many interesting ways to die that didn't involve stroke or heart attack.

    The more you know.
  • Ode to ramen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by perfessor multigeek ( 592291 ) <> 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 [], 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 [] 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:A Hero (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RulerOf ( 975607 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @08:07AM (#17496740)
    In Memoriam.

    Over to my pantry I stroll, to pull out my long unopened pack of Nissin Top Ramen. I shall make a bowl to mark this tragic day.

    Cheers, Slashdot.
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @08:31AM (#17496832) Homepage Journal
    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 Instant Ramen was actually a pretty good one, though it was a bit too slanted in featuring Ando-san's life story so prominently. It really was a moving struggle for him to invent the first instant ramen, and there were many battles after that...
  • Re:Soldiers Love It! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @09:05AM (#17496958) Homepage
    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.

  • Re:Ate much ramen? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:00AM (#17497222)
    I suspect research into sodium in the diet is skewed. People who eat high sodium diets are likely to be eating cheaper foodstuffs lacking in alternative/more expensive flavouring - i.e. junk food. Which puts them in the demographic that's more likely to smoke (unconcerned about health issues), be in a lower income bracket receiving poorer health care and probably less in access to recreational/sporting venues (or are just lazier). Dedicated sports activists aren't likely to each cup-o-noodles much. I find it hard to believe that clinical testing can account for all this within their budget allowance.

  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @11:00AM (#17497528)
    Thats not entirely true... the increasing life expectancy these days is mostly because of two things -- better workplace safety and most importantly a massive reduction in infant mortality rates.

    It doesn't take a lot of people dying at 1 to pull the averages down a lot...

    Thats true of differences between countries today, too. Pull out children below the age of 5, and the numbers start to even out a lot more.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @11:30AM (#17497684)
    . . .a massive reduction in infant mortality rates.

    And mortality rates of the mothers. It wasn't at all uncommon for a man to go through two or three wives. Childbirth was extremely risky. That's why infant mortality and deaths due to child birth are the still the two primary indicators of healty care quality.

    On the more generic picture, while fewer people get eaten by bears these days, more of them fall asleep at the wheel. Familiarty breeds contempt, but contempt does not imply that the activity is actually safe. With a bit of practice you can fall asleep at the reins and you will end up . . .home.

    And the biggest saver of lives in modern times isn't avoidence of certain risk factors. If you crunch the numbers from the raw data you find that the theoretical maximum possible effect of this is really, quite, quite small. So small as to be at the borderline of precision of measurment.

    What keeps larger numbers of us who manage to make it to 21 alive to see 75 is really a very small number of things:

    Knowledge of germs

    Aspirin; sanitation; antibiotics and vaccines. The simple, basic stuff is responsible for 99.99% of increased adult lifespans.

    Most of our more advanced medical practices, chemotherepy, heart surgery, etc., often solve accute problems, but on closer examination have little to no effect on longer term morbidity rates.

    And unless you are hypertensive; neither does avoiding salt.

    And remember; everyone born more than 125 years ago is already dead. You are going to join them. Get used to the idea. It might help you live.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @12:26PM (#17498034)

    Just thought I'd point out how amazing the stuff is... It wasn't until my first Chemistry class back in high school, when we had a section devoted to Aspirin and all the amazing stuff it does... Anti-fever, anti-inflammatory, slows the formation of blood clots... and gets rid of aches and pains to boot. When you consider a lot of people that die from common diseases, like the flu for example, are often killed not by the bug itself, but by their own immune system's volatile reaction to it, the benefits of aspirin become pretty clear, and no wonder it's on short your list of life-savers.

  • 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) []. Quoth him, "I feels like real thing, man."
  • Re:Ramen and MSG (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arkhan ( 240130 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:22PM (#17501248)
    I have exactly that problem, to the extent of needing to avoid foods that contain natural MSG (soy, algae) or produce small amounts of MSG as a processing byproduct (high-fructose corn syrup, autolyzed/hydrolyzed yeast extract, any hydrogenated oil, etc).

    It's funny, in light of the anti-organics rant nearby, but the only ramen I have ever found that I can eat was at Whole Foods. They sell a brand of organic instant ramen (yes, really) that has no explicit MSG in any of it, and even has a few flavors with no soy as well. (The garlic & pepper flavor is very good, as is the ginger lemongrass.)

    I can't recall the brand name, as I'm out right now, but will get more soon and try to follow up with it here.
  • Re:Ode to ramen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yokem_55 ( 575428 ) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:24PM (#17501264)
    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.

"I'll rob that rich person and give it to some poor deserving slob. That will *prove* I'm Robin Hood." -- Daffy Duck, Looney Tunes, _Robin Hood Daffy_