Let Them Eat Ramen

Over at NPR, Eliza Barclay wrote an interesting story on Ramen noodles.  I shudder to think how much of my nutritional intake in college and grad school came from Ramen noodles.  Little did I know they might have such global importance.

Underpinning Barclay's story is the provocative question: Can Ramen noodles solve the problem of global hunger?

When I was recently on Fox and Friends talking about the cheapest-most nutritious food in human history, it appears the a better candidate might have been Ramen noodles rather than the McDouble.  Here is the NPR piece:

it's the multinational noodle companies' conquest of countries like Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico that really interests the anthropologists: Frederick Errington of Trinity College, Tatsuro Fujikura of Kyoto University and Deborah Gewertz of Amherst College. And it's here that they make one of their most intriguing arguments: Instant noodles do good by alleviating the hunger of millions of people around the world. These supercheap, superpalatable noodles, they write, help the low-wage workers in rich and poor countries alike hang on when the going gets tough.

I also found this passage interesting:

The authors say that "real food" advocates like journalist Michael Pollan, who wring their hands over rising consumption of industrial food like ramen, raise important questions about its perils. But the authors also call ramen a "virtually unstoppable" phenomenon. And they foresee a world of 9 billion people "in which the affluent will be presented with too many food choices and [will be] called upon to use their survival skills to choose wisely, and in which the poor will have to use their survival skills to get by on cheap food" like ramen.
"I'd love to take Michael Pollan to a squatter settlement and have him deal with poor, hungry people in such circumstances, who have no choice of going back home to grow subsistence crops or be part of a regional food system," says Gewertz. "Subsistence agriculture is hard, dirty and hot work. People want out of it. It's not to be over romanticized."

Did I say after a decade-long hiatus from Ramen, they're back in our house - my kids love it!