Written by Andrea Wang: Illustrated by Kana Urbanowicz
Little bee books. 2019
Ramen noodles. Mmmm! Ever wonder who invented those yummy, inexpensive, easy to make noodles that have become a staple for college students? Wang and Urbanowicz have partnered on this engaging informational picture book on how the world’s most popular food came to be.
At the end of World War II, food was still scarce for people living in Japan. Those lucky enough to have money had to wait in long lines and pay outrages prices for a bowl of noodles that took forever to cook. The poor survived on grass and bark or scrounged through the garbage looking for something to eat. Taiwan-born Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando (1910-2007) saw the hunger and long lines for the expensive ramen and was determined to create a new product that would be nutritious and be ready to eat instantly.
Ando was constantly testing this and that, but finally, after years of trying, he figured it out. First fry the noodles in oil, place them into a bowl, add hot water and “Yatta!” “That’s It!”
“In 1958, twelve years after seeing hungry people at black market ramen stalls, Ando invented Chikin Ramen, the first instant ramen.” His company, Nissin Foods, sells the instant ramen all over the world. Still inventing, at age 91, Ando invented Space Ram. Instant noodles that could be eaten in zero gravity. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi became the first person to eat ramen in outer space, aboard the US space shuttle Discovery.
Back matter includes an author's note, pronunciation guide, and an afterword offering more details on Ando's life.
This book is sure to be popular with those who love reading about people being creative.
To write this review, I borrowed the book from my local public library.