Monday, May 23, 2011

How to use your noodle

What do “The Real Housewives of New York” and Top Ramen have in common?  They’re both on my list of guilty pleasures --- neither is any good for you, but once you get a little taste, you just keep wanting more.  I could probably eat a bowl of Top Ramen every single day, if it wasn’t for that wicked packet of magical msg flavoring that makes it taste “oh so good”, but is “oh so bad for you.” 

My penchant for soup noodles stems from my childhood when my mom made gia-normous pots of beef soup for noodles all the time, mostly on the weekends. A hearty bowl full of noodles with a rich and salty broth, and super-tender beef was a typical Saturday afternoon lunch.  Ever since, “noo-roe-mein” (“beef soup noodles” in Chinese) had “coming home” written all over it.  Back in the day, when my parents hosted poker parties or mah-jong marathons at our home, a favorite “shao-yeh” (“midnight snack” in Chinese) was a round of noo-roe-mein for all the gambling guests.  Kind of like a Dick’s burger for my generation.  In college, coming home on a Saturday afternoon to do laundry while slurping down a bowl of noo-roe-mein was a common ritual.  In more recent years, a festive morning of tearing open Christmas presents with the extended family at my parents’ house has often culminated into 16 bowls of noo-roe-mein to round out the holiday.  And when my husband, kids and I return from a family vacation, there’s no better homecoming than when my dad picks us up from the airport and tells us that a pot of noo-roe-mein is just a phone call away:   “Hi mom!  On our way.  Start boiling the pot of water!”

Just last weekend, my mom and I were watching my son’s baseball game at the neighborhood park.  It was late-afternoon, I hadn’t had lunch, and at the top of the last inning, mom casually mentioned, “I made a pot of noo-roe-mein.  Want some?”  Yummmm…I started counting down the strikes to my 1½ block walk to another noodle homecoming at mom’s. It was then that I decided this had to be my next recipe.  

The Dragon Ladies, at the baseball field last week, right before going home for some beef soup noodles!

One of my sisters, who always has a crazy entrepreneurial scheme up her sleeve, has always wanted to channel her love for noodles into dollar signs.  One re-occurring fantasy involves starting a Chinese noodle cart at Seattle Mariner’s games or other sporting events.  “Lo-mein noodles, noo-roe-mein…people would just love it, don’t you think?  We would do so well,” she has repeated.  I don’t doubt this, but my sister tends to often wear rose-colored (albeit Chanel) glasses, and underestimates the amount of time and energy that a “great idea” requires to pull off.  And guess who would end up doing 98% of the work?  Yup, yours truly.  So, dear Catherine, I fully support your noodle cart business…from afar.  Here’s the recipe to get you started, and I’ll look for you at the next Mariner’s game.  In the meantime, who knows….maybe some Dragon Lady Kitchen followers will try this recipe, fall into our noodle spell, and step up to invest.  Now that’s using your noodle!

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