10.23.2022 – finding fresh udon

finding fresh udon
can be an impossible task
for many people

Even though, truth be told, I am not familiar with the name, Kenji López-Alt, I was attracted to recipe/article with the headline What Kenji López-Alt Makes His Family for Dinner.

What caught my attention was the sub headline, If you can boil water, slice an onion and use a strainer, you can make niku udon, a Japanese beef noodle soup that is the cookbook author’s go-to weeknight dinner.

It caught my attention because I can boil water.

It caught my attention because I can slice an onion.

It caught my attention because I can use a strainer.

I am not un-at home in the kitchen.

(Typing un-at home immediately brings to mind the once-upon-a-time 1950’s Republican created House Un-American Activities Committee, better known as HUAC … apple don’t fall far from the tree now does it, but I digress)

As I was saying, I am comfortable in the kitchen.

Give me a pack of boneless chicken thighs, spuds and some flour and in one hour I’ll conjure up a southern fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy that will make you cry ur eyes out it’s so good.

Honor bright!

Still, any recipe that starts off with if you can boil water is a recipe for me.

But as I read through the recipe it was evident quickly that If you can boil water, slice an onion and use a strainer, you can make niku udon was not exactly the case.

Turns out that Mr. Kenji López-Alt is a renowned chef.

According to Wikipedia, … often known simply as Kenji, is an American chef and food writer. His first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, became a critical and commercial success, charting on the New York Times Bestseller list and winning the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for the best General Cooking cookbook.

This is not to say that you need a superior skill set beyond boiling, slicing and straining.

What you DO NEED though is a fridge full of leftovers and other supplies not found in my kitchen.

The skill set to boil water, slice an onion and use a strainer is not in question.

But what you boil, what you slice like an onion and what you strain is.

I grew in Grand Rapids, Michigan and once I tried to make the signature soup at a local restaurant. Charley’s Crab, called Charley’s Chowder.

I drove all over Grand Rapids looking for clam juice.

Then I relocated to Atlanta, Georgia.

Little known fact about Atlanta is that is one of the largest Korean cities in the world and they have the Korean stores to prove it.

They have H Mart, the Korean version of Walmart.

If you can cook it, you can find it at H Mart.

Now I live in the low country of South Carolina.

It isn’t Podunk.

To get here, you go to Podunk and turn left.

I am, at this moment, working the local Kroger to carry Black Cherry Kool Aid, the best flavor of chemical created non-fruit related beverages ever developed by the laboratories of General Foods.

If I can’t black cherry koolaid in my neighborhood, chances don’t look good for the other ingredients.

The article admits this.

The writer states “For a dish that’s so technically easy, finding ingredients like kiriotoshi outside Japan is the biggest barrier to entry.

Kiriotoshi?

I kept reading past this to find if there was some other easy secret to this dish.

It has to be simple somewhere along the line if Kenji López-Alt makes this for his family for dinner.

Then I hit the line, Finding fresh udon can be an impossible task for many people, even in major cities.

I mean this is a dish, I imagine, that after a long day in the food lab, Mr. Kenji López-Alt looks at the wife and says, I am so tired. Is it okay if I whip up a pot of niku udon and just go to bed?

Finding fresh udon can be impossible for many people!

Oh

Please tell me the people who CAN find fresh udon and we can go from there.

Why doesn’t the headline read If you can find some udon, boil water, slice an onion and use a strainer, you can make niku udon?

Finding fresh udon can be impossible for many people, for me is metaphor of today.

I think as I go forward into this year and I watch the news and read the headlines, I will say to myself, yes and finding fresh udon can be impossible for many people!

Anyone else remember Steve Martin’s claim you could make a million dollars (back when that was a lot of money) and not pay any taxes?

It starts with “First, make a million dollars. Then …”*

At least I know what a million dollars is.

Even if I was in Atlanta and could walk into H Mart, I don’t know what udon is.

Finding fresh udon can be impossible for many people.

No kidding.

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