Ramen: Nothing lost in translation

January 10, 2007 in Uncategorized

ramen noodles

In the appreciation of Mr. Momofuku Ando, the late inventor of ramen noodles (1-9-07 ed New York Times by Lawerence Downes) Downes said,

“Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything”.

Mr. Downes does a beautiful job of summing up the pros and cons of ramen-eating, it all rang so true. Its a beautiful appreciation of an interesting man who sought to make cheap good eats and who ended up feeding a globe of students.

I am not ashamed to admit that I rather like ramen noodles or that my kids like them.

I am sure there are a million million different ways to make them. Here is my way. I boil it 3 minutes, drain completely, add a bit of butter and then about 1/4 of the seasoning MSG package. I mix and wolf. Sometimes when I am really hungry (tho I did this more back in the grad school days), I add a raw egg after draining the noodles. I put it back on the stove until the egg is cooked (I am not all that fond of salmonella).

My husband makes it more like a soup.

Thanks to the ramen-conditioning I received as a youngin I have moved on to more adventerous territories like nuclear hot Korean ramen and miso soups directly from Japan that have no english on the package whatsoever. I just wing the directions and try to guess at the intended flavor(s).

Momofuku-san, we will raise a bowl of noodles in your memory today.

Some interesting links:

Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum Wiki entry

Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum (新横浜ラーメン博物館, Shin-Yokohama Rāmen Hakubutsukan) official site

Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, Tokyo Food Page

Resolution-Free New Years!

January 1, 2007 in Uncategorized


(There is more ice in this photo than in this MA winter, so far)
I do Christmas, Easter, the solstices, beltane, samhain, Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, birthdays, all of that (all in an areligious way). I have even done a Seder for cultural growth for the little ones (my husband was amazed and puzzled, poor guy).

Matzo Ball Chicken Soup

(Pure comfort)
BUT, I do NOT do New Years resolutions, period. I also loathe new-year diets and dieting. This is my least favorite time on the Food Network. Oy, too much with the diet shows, already.

I am not sure what it means but I spent the day yesterday cooking massive stews and soups and homemade corn tortillas. I scrubbed all my pots and cleaned the kitchen like a fool. I didnt mind either, which for me is novel, I hate cleaning too :-).

For me, at my age, my 40th New Years was relatively free of reminiscing. Its something I do not really like to do anymore because living in the past is tedious and I need all the energy I have to live in the now. I did give thanks once again for our new baby, Baby O. That is a good thing to remember. I did give thanks for the entire family and the opportunities I have had this year to grow creatively.

Q - wan look

KD snacking out on peppermint fluff

Baby Oh with AB B800 bounce 12-29-06

(Baby O)
I did not (and certainly will not) waste a second worrying about calories or diets or carbohydrates.

I will not indulge in that guilt-ridden consumer trend that sweeps through the US this time of the year. I have lived way too many years on diets (Oh NutriSystem, how many times, I shall not count them) and have begun to break free of that insidious group think. I have three kids to teach healthy food attitudes to, thats a huge responsibility. What I put in my mouth and theirs ARE the lessons, not any lecture I could give. I dont mind telling them that I love pralines, loathe malted balls, and such. I will never tell them to watch their weight or that birthday cake has to many calories to have a second helping.

SO many “will nots” huh.

What I will do this year is love more, hug more, smile more, cook more, create more, live more.

I hope you will too!

Contemplating Food Photography

November 6, 2006 in Uncategorized

medium format snapshots - after

(Medium format via CS2 © 2006 Nika)

A bit of navel gazing today.

Why do we blog?

Why do I blog?

The truth is that it is a way to have a conversation with you about something that I find, obviously, endlessly interesting: Photography. It so happens that I find food most accessible and mutable. Food photography is not so much about making us hungry to eat or showcasing any sort of culinary or food styling talent I may have or develop but rather, its about the technical and aesthetic process that goes into shooting beautiful and interesting food.

Why not shoot quirky images of poodles or drainage pipes?

I shoot food because it is easy to care about and become invested in the subject. The nature of food photography is such that you fall into and consume the image almost effortlessly.

I make it public here because your side of the conversation helps me grow and understand the impact of my photography on the viewer. For this reason, every comment you all have given me has been worth its weight in gold.

That seems to be a good enough and re-affirming reason to blog.


(Gallery Print via CS2 © 2006 Nika)

Whats on your food blog bookshelf?

November 1, 2006 in Uncategorized

whats on your bookshelf?

(My food photo and blog bookshelf © 2006 Nika)

Things are settling down from the whirlwind of the birth and integrating the new little guy into our lives. Lots of cleaning has been happening (millions thanks to my mom who has been a HUGE help and who unfortunately just left today!).

With the cleaning came some much needed organization. One thing that came together was some of the books I use for culinary and photography inspiration.

I love reading the Culinary Institute of America‘s “The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition” and “The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef” books. These text books are jam-packed with very useful information that builds a good foundation for any cook. They also have some great pics.

I am going through my new “The Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers“, learning as I go.

The technical and artistic aspects of food photography are discussed in a clear and simple voice by Lou Mann in his book “Digital Food Photography“.

But when I want to become truly inspired I look through some books I got recently from StockFood. These food photos are divine even though they are stock images!

There is much to learn from these catalogs of books if you pay attention to the details and try to put yourself in the pro-photographer’s shoes.

my inspiration -1

(Close up of some of StockFood‘s catalogs © 2006 Nika)

Whats on your shelf?