548: Cup Noodles

Molly 0:00

Hi I'm Molly And I'm Matthew and this is spilled milk the show where we cook something delicious eat it all and you can't have any

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:11

and today we're talking about cup noodles in D I'm really excited for this. I am too because when we talked about cup noodles I was just picturing like the Nissin cup noodle right this guy right

Molly 0:24

here. Yeah and like the styrofoam cup or at least what used to be a Styrofoam still it still is. But Matthew, you went out and you cup noodles is a much bigger market than I thought it

Matthew Amster-Burton 0:37

I know. And I haven't tried hardly any of these. Okay, so first off, this was suggested by listener Chihiro Thank you listener to hear. And where do we even begin let's let's let's start with the name before we get into like the the panoply of noodles. What is a panoply? Is that like,

Molly 0:54

I think it's like a broad array. Okay. Are the multitude Yeah, myriad assortment? I

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:01

got confused. Isn't there like a kind of armor that's also called a panoply?

Molly 1:05

You know, we're gonna have to look this up in a minute.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:08

Okay, yeah. What what are some of your favorite kinds of armor? Let's save it for the armor episode.

Molly 1:12

Okay. You know, my favorite part of the Met? Of course is the arms and

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:16

armor. Yes, God, it's the best. What does it remind you of of Crescent market?

Molly 1:21

A little bit? Yeah. Okay. Except I just keep looking for like a tray of cookies nearby.

Matthew Amster-Burton 1:27

All right. So let's combine this naming the thing about the name and memory lane because I used to bring these for lunch when I was in elementary school and would microwave them in the school microwave. Yep. And back then they were called cup o noodles.

Molly 1:42

Matthew. I was about to say the same thing. Like, I remember when I learned about these. They were definitely cup o noodles. Right. And it was absolutely the elementary school years for me. I can't remember if I put them in the mic. You're not supposed to put Styrofoam in a microwave. Are you? Well, we're going to do today. Okay. Well, I seem to remember there being like a hot water dispenser and maybe I could give it give my cup of noodles cup o noodles to the teacher and she would go to the hot water dispenser. You

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:11

know what I think you're right. I think I think I gave mine to the teacher and like it came back with some magic.

Molly 2:18

Yeah, yeah. But no, it was like all the rage when we were kids. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 2:22

yeah. No, I wasn't the only kid who brought cup noodle Cisco and it was it was great. Like I think I doubt it's changed much. I hope not I want I want to have I don't think I've had like the basic chicken cup noodles in a long time. And I'm hoping it really like tugs at the nostalgic heartstrings, but we'll see. So they dropped the O and just made a cup noodles in 1993 for an April Fool's joke in 2021 They claimed they were bringing the O back but they didn't Why did they drop it? I don't know. You know what? There was a book Oh, I

Molly 2:55

think I feel like it was called like the ramen king or something like Yeah, I think that wow, I can't believe I remember this but I think the author's name was Andy Raskin.

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:04

That sounds right. Yeah, I read that book. It was kind of problematic it

Molly 3:09

was very problematic it was it was like a white man who's having trouble with having trouble committed. And and he goes on a journey to learn more about the man who like invented instant ramen who will talk about in a minute Yeah, okay. Anyway, but I think he gets into the shift from cup of noodles to cup noodles

Matthew Amster-Burton 3:28

that makes sense and like there's you know the whole like like Mandela Effect thing there are people who claim that there was never an oh but there was in the most popular brand of these in England is Pot Noodle really which is which is fun to say Pot Noodle they say Pot Noodle okay are I learned a little bit about Pot Noodle I learned that they're associated with lad culture, which refers to men being jerks.

Molly 3:52

You know, the other day Matthew I wanted to use a gift on my newsletter. And it was a gift of like a Kermit doll swirling around in a kiddie pool nice. But I saw that it had a little logo at the top that said lad Bible and I was like I'm not putting this on anything that is mine. No,

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:13

and the the Pot Noodle line in England is mostly vegetarian so like there's like a chicken flavored one but it's artificial chicken flavor. Okay, so I've never tried it

Molly 4:23

Okay. Wait so lad culture is that kind of like just men being horrible? Yeah, I think that men

Matthew Amster-Burton 4:29

men beers are boys will be boys it's a boys will be boys kind of thing. Yeah. So yeah, so that's my that's my memory lane. Just oh one one more piece of memory lane for me now. Why don't you go first? Oh, so I seem to recall is a really smooth transition wasn't. That was great. In addition to Nissen brand cup noodles, there's also like, Moto moto Chon. And is that called cup noodles to it's called instant lunch. Oh, that's right. Yes. Did lunch? Large on instant lunch. Yeah, those To the to that I remember and I tend to think of them as being indistinguishable. Yeah, totally. Okay. And these things are cheap, at least like the American version. I think this was $1. Yes. My back when I was in elementary school is probably like 20 cents,

Molly 5:13

you know. And I want to say that that maybe this is obvious from the title cup noodles. But this episode is all noodles that come like in a package that you are to eat them out of, we're not talking about any, like ramen packages that come in plastic wrappers. Like

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:29

we did an episode on that many years ago, and probably showed again, my spouse probably eats that kind of ramen, like three to four times a week. Yeah, I think I like have the idea that that's better in some way. But I doubt that's really true.

Molly 5:45

I doubt it too. But anyway, okay, go on.

Matthew Amster-Burton 5:47

So my other memory lane is that several years ago, a friend of the show, Becky selling cat and I were in Osaka, Japan, and we went to the cup noodles Museum, which is, is run by Nissen. It's really fun you like go through exhibits about like the history of cup noodles. And there's like a wall display of like, all of the varieties that Nissen has ever made, which is hundreds. And so far, I'm not saying how this is fun. Go on. I think it only cost like $12

Molly 6:20

Oh, hold on. I'm imagining like, is there like a room there? Where they've made like noodles out of like silicone or noodles that are like made out of like, animals that roll around and they're like all hanging from the ceiling and you can walk through them like a beaded curtain? Let's just say Yeah, fine, like a ball pit, but noodles.

Matthew Amster-Burton 6:41

They do have they do have like a, you know a replica of the workshop where Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles, okay, which is pretty cool. But the reason people go is like at the end of the tour of the of the museum, you get to make your own customized cup noodle and like, you know, scoop in like, you know, do you want like the little like dried meat chunks or the dried like fake lobster chunks. Which vegetables you want in which seasoning and then you design your own cup and like mark it up with markers. Okay, that does sound pretty cool. Then do you seal it up and take it home with you? Yeah, I brought mine home from Japan and ate it. It was good. That's okay, that's pretty cool. Okay, you want to get you want to learn a little bit of noodles and then and then we'll start eating so okay, there's gonna be some slurping so cup noodles are introduced by Nissin foods in 1971 in Japan and were first marketed in the US in 1973. And it's packaged ramen like the kind that you boil on the stove that comes in a plastic sleeve that was came earlier that was introduced in 1958 I tried really hard and like you know if you ever like Googled for like information on like business trends and just been like come on you know you I've seen your browser history. I tried to figure out whether whether cup noodles or packaged ramen are more popular could not figure that out. So like Who gives a shit? Yeah, right. All right. Both cup noodles and packaged ramen were invented by Nissen founder Momofuku Ando. Like I said I saw a replica of his of his like shack workshop at the cup noodle Museum. But cup noodles are easier to make because all you need is a source of hot water or a microwave which we'll get into and chopsticks or a fork. Pretty interesting information but you didn't know this that these ones are easier to make. I did. I did now I get the sense that the quality of freeze dried ingredients has been improving over time and we'll see because I think I think the one that I've just opened up here the the Nissen chicken cup noodles made at the the US Nissen factory. I don't think it's changed much since we were kids

Molly 8:46

question Can I hold on? Can we just discuss like the basics of these packages? So inside? There are these noodles? Are the noodles fried?

Matthew Amster-Burton 8:57

I think the noodles are fried. Okay, so I don't know if that's true for all of the varieties. But I think for the most part, yes. Okay. And is that true with packaged ramen? It is not 100% of them like the there's one that we tried that we really liked that is that like, part of their American is that they're not fried. The names probably going to come to me. Okay, but generally, yes. And that was that was like the big advance that led to the invention of packaged ramen that if you if you fry them that they would cook up with a good texture in three minutes. Oh, okay. I get it. I get it. I was like, if you just if you just like cook noodles and then dry them like they'll turn into mush when you reheat them.

Unknown Speaker 9:33

Yeah. Okay, so So when I look here in this cup noodles for anyone who hasn't looked inside of one for a long time,

Matthew Amster-Burton 9:41

I you know, you just pulled it past the past the dotted line. Wow.

Molly 9:46

Oh my god. Do you have some scotch tape? We're gonna have to take it. David I forgot. So basically, you know, I'm looking in this Styrofoam cup. I can't believe this thing is still Styrofoam. I know. It's really weird single handedly responsible for climate change.

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:00

No waiting on the cup no CFCs I don't believe Styrofoam without see. Oh yeah, there are other blowing agents. I just wanted to say blowing agents, but that is what it's called. Like, sorry, I almost made it like your mom joke your mom is the best is the best blowing agent like she's she's received like a whole bunch of metals

I believe you and I, we don't usually talk about our mom's this way. But and we usually talk about like her deck. She's been decorated for service to her country. Like why shouldn't we Trump is

Molly 10:35

proud we're proud. We're very proud. Okay, but anyway looking in here all right, we've got like a mass of noodles and then we powder talk about up and I'm talking outer sprinkles on top and then like freeze dried carrots and kernels of corn. We definitely that was it was really worth it for me.

Matthew Amster-Burton 10:54

No, you're right. I interrupted you. That wasn't fair. I was I was gonna write on the river the the box of chocolates episode. What do you call it? Whitman's sampler episode where we talked about was that a bonus episode? Oh well, you should sign up become a member spilled out podcast.com/donate And then you can listen to that Whitman sampler episode where we talked about how like women working in the Whitman sampler factories would send notes to the to the soldiers abroad during World War Two. And we were speculating like the notes for about like, how much how many blowjobs you're gonna get when you when you get back from the war or maybe

Molly 11:30

like it would be like, You know how sometimes yeah, sometimes clothing will have a little label that says like, inspected by number 10 Yeah, this would be like inspected by the number one blowing agent and they're like were there no men working in the Whitman sampler factory? Because men can be good blowing agents as well.

Matthew Amster-Burton 11:50

Of course they can all Jen Yes, yes. We are an equal opportunity. Like back in back during World War Two probably like more of the men were I do it there was probably like one one guy off being blowing agents at the front. Yeah, like if I had been around during World War Two like I would not have been wanting what I wanted to be like, sent off to fight because I would have been too scared. I would have wanted to be the one like straight guy working at the Whitman's right? Yeah, sounds wonderful. Okay, like free chocolates and other benefits. Okay. Ah, should we should we like heat this shit out? Yeah, let's heat it up. Okay, okay, can I wait, I want you to come over and admire my Japanese water boiler.

Unknown Speaker 12:36

Is this new? No, I've had it for a while. Sorry, water boiler. Is that different from an electric kettle? Well, it's,

Matthew Amster-Burton 12:43

it's, it's designed for like serving tea in an office. Or if you go to a konbini in Japan, they'll have one of these for filling up your cup noodles. Wait, is it this thing? It's this thing? I can't this is your rice cooker. No, come visit it. Okay.

Molly 12:56

Okay, let's see. So this looks a bit like a rice cooker. But I'm talking loudly so the listener can hear me. Oh, but it's got like a little nozzle.

Matthew Amster-Burton 13:07

Yeah. And stuff comes out. Yeah. Okay, wait, Matthew, how are you the timer? Matthew? How much is this? Oh, it's like $150. And you bought this so that you wouldn't have to boil water for your tea? Let's let's get back on the mic. I'll tell you. Hold on. I gotta look at this. Do you keep it plugged in? No, I don't keep it plugged in all the time. I rarely even use it. So the reason why this for when you were serving tea at Facebook, that's exactly when I was serving tea at Facebook. So the weirdest job I've ever had was I was I was invited several times to the Facebook office in Seattle to serve tea for meetings there. I would bring like several varieties of Japanese tea and matcha and like after the first like you know his Facebook so they're like What do you want to charge? I'm like, I don't know how about like 500 bucks plus expenses and they're like okay, cool. And so I should have asked for more first of all, but you know and COVID killed that business. I was I really thought that I like they were going to like invite me to do this like every couple of weeks and it was going to be awesome. But it was not meant to be but like after the first time like I got this check and I'm like next time I want to bring like a water boiler so I can just like fill a bunch of pots of tea really easily. And like so I took my check from Facebook to a watch Amaya and bought this Japanese water boiler.

Unknown Speaker 14:35

I'm sorry if I owned this. I would keep it out all the time. And I would literally I would triple my tea consumption just so I could use it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 14:44

Yeah, that's the thing. Like I make myself two pots of tea a day and I would just like think about the electricity it was using if I left it on but like probably it doesn't take that much power to like just keep water hot that you've already boiled I don't know, is a really nice machine. It works great and they last forever. And so you have it set to what temperature? Oh, 208 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the maximum. Yeah, I have a bone Aveda kettle that you can set. Yeah, yeah. I love those. Yeah, yeah, it's great. And I keep mindset juicenet 207 Yeah, with a gooseneck Oh, so I'm like one degree better than you. Yeah.

Molly 15:16

I'm impressed with how long this thing has survived. Like, I use it at least once a day, often twice a day, and I've had it for at least six years. That's great. Doesn't that seem great?

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:28

So when you poor with the gooseneck like I've been I've been like eyeing those, but I'm worried that like for like, filling like a, like a mug of tea that like the gooseneck would be annoying, but like, why? It's not. Okay. It's not. Alright. Um, yeah, I'm gonna get one of those. Great. Okay, we got we got like five seconds left until we can crack into this classic session chicken cup. Oh,

Molly 15:48

wow. Okay, so Oh, man. Okay.

Matthew Amster-Burton 15:53

Oh, that looks good. I remember this. Very mild aroma.

Molly 15:58

Oh god, that's way more mild than I

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:02

really like it does have like a kind of vending machine chicken soup smell to it, but it like mild is really the word. Okay, here goes. Okay. Are you going to slurp? Yes, Matthew. Oh, yeah, this is exactly how I remember it.

Molly 16:16

So when you would take this to school? Would you take a fork or a spoon or both?

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:21

That's a good question. I don't remember. I think there was silverware out. My school is so hot. Yeah. But yeah, I want to say probably a fork. I want to say a sport, but I don't think I had a sport. It's not as good as I remember. It's not very good at all. Morrow, you know, I do think it's the same as when I was a kid.

Molly 16:41

I knew to get a flavor. Yeah, I must have been afraid of flavor too. That's really Huh Well yeah, that's yeah, that's pretty well would you say I mean

Matthew Amster-Burton 16:50

it like it tastes like kind of almost nothing. Yeah. Now I think some of the other ones are going to be are going to taste like something

Molly 16:57

Yeah, I was also aware that the noodles are like a bit spongy. Yeah. That's definitely always been the case. Is that always the case? I guess I've gotten so used to the noodles in the packaged ramen. And those are not spongy.

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:10

Yeah, well, that's that's why I sort of convinced myself that maybe the package ramen was better because you have to boil it. Yeah, that probably the noodles have to be like more cooked in order to be able to just soften enough in boiling water poured into a Styrofoam cup. Yeah, that might affect the texture but we have some like better brands coming up.

Molly 17:28

Okay, so hold on let's let's finish up with Nissen here. Oh, yeah. Should we should we continue with

Matthew Amster-Burton 17:34

Yeah, I was thinking about how to choose play these Yeah, let's do this one next. This one is recommended to microwaves I split these out into two groups is the microwave side and this is the pour in hot water side okay. And there are boiling water directions but it says recommended to my credit. Okay, so first of all this one this is the cup noodle curry. It is the most popular curry noodle in Japan. It says remove the lid, tip or shake cup to move seasoning powder to one side so that noodles can be seen. Why did you want to do that? Oh,

Molly 18:04

yeah, I want to see the noodles. Hmm. Is it important that I make eye contact with them before we begin? Well, because it says so that noodles can be seen. Okay. Yeah. Is it important that I make eye contact? It's important

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:16

to the noodles. Yeah. It says I think it says remove the the lid completely on this one. This smells kind of like dog food meets Japanese curry. Yeah, I think this is going to be good though. That's my prediction.

Unknown Speaker 18:29

I'm having trouble seeing the noodles. Oh, okay. I mean, Matthew, do you see the noodles?

Matthew Amster-Burton 18:36

No, not really. So we're let's just go ahead. Wow, it's got some like real like biscuit things on top. It looks like kibble. Okay. Okay. All right. So it says it says filled with room temperature water. I'm just going to do cold water from the tap and microwave two and a half minutes. My microwave is usually a little weak. So we'll do three minutes and let stand for one minute.

Molly 18:55

Okay, I'm going to use the bathroom okay

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:06

okay, while the while the curry is is heating I'm going to tell you about the super smart brilliant thing I did while you were gone. Oh, wow. So I wanted to dump out the Nissen chicken cup noodle that we didn't like Yeah, and I'm like I want to get the noodles into the compost. I want to try and put the noodles through the garbage disposal. There was a in the sleep Wait

Molly 19:26

Wait you wanted to put them in the compost and through the garbage disposal? No,

Matthew Amster-Burton 19:30

I did not want to put them through the garbage disposal. No, I wanted to do both. I wanted to like have like a quantum mechanical incident and so in the sink was a like a cooling rack that white for the show Laurie use this morning for banana muffins. So I'm like cool. I'll use this as a strainer and pour that and then and then ferry them to the cup post. It works worked perfectly and nothing slopped onto the floor at all. That's great cool that is great. Okay, so I did I haven't run into a little trouble filling the curry cup because like the water was like pooling on top instead of like dripping down into the noodles but then once I put in more water at the weight of the water forced it down

Molly 20:20

Okay, so did you ever see the noodles did you look them in the eye? Not

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:24

yet. Wow. But they're heating up we'll see what happens okay,

Molly 20:29

well let's let's keep discussing here so Nissen has other has other products in their lineup

Matthew Amster-Burton 20:36

right? As soon as the maker of Top Ramen the most popular ramen brand and American supermarkets and they they now make top ramen bowl which probably they have for a while the cup noodle goat global favorites, which is what the curry one we're about to try as part of okay. And also the hot and spicy line and I noticed I got some of these at Safeway and are Safeway is a pretty regular American Safeway and like the there is a really nice selection of cup noodles in the Asian food aisle. Okay, okay. Still looks terrifying. God that looks awful. So I could I stopped at six cup noodles. I could have gone really wild. Oh, this is Styrofoam. Yeah. Right. It seems like exactly the same cup as the previous one that said do not microwave so. Ah, but I did

Molly 21:24

okay. Innocence is is a Japanese company has factories presumably in North America. Yeah.

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:31

Okay, so I think this curry one is also made in North America.

Unknown Speaker 21:34

Okay, what about other brands? I mean, it seems to me that Nissen is no longer necessarily the best

Matthew Amster-Burton 21:41

right? So if it ever was I think I think the one that's become like the favorite among connoisseurs is is Nongshim brand and like Korea, like Korean brands now really, like dominate the better cup noodle market. Oh, okay. So so all of the rest of what we got here is Korean. Okay. And so some of them made in the US and some imported from Korea. So

Molly 22:01

I've definitely seen this brand that is black and red that has the word shin on it. Yeah, big capital letters. Is that made by Nongshim? Yeah, it's

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:10

Shin Shin rom Yun is like their basic one. I got this Shin black. Why? Why did I get it? That sounds like it's gonna be really good. I hope so. I think I didn't do a good job of making this curry noodle or they do a good job. They didn't do a good job of making it that looks like oh, don't burn your mouth for that. Savior. smells pretty good. Okay. All right. All right. Oh, it does smell pretty good. Some of the noodles have not gotten fully hydrated, but it gives a nice little crunch. This is not I wanted to just kind of ship the broth because I think the broth is gonna be okay. Okay, I'll

Unknown Speaker 22:47

pass it back to you. And I'm done. But I'm gonna blow on this because if there's one thing I don't feel like sacrificing my tongue for it's the heat of a cup noodles. Yeah.

Matthew Amster-Burton 22:55

Should we should we like get some of these going at the same time? Otherwise, we're gonna be it's gonna be like five minutes. Every time five minutes of us blabbering every time we want to try a new noodle. Okay, so let me tell you what else we've got here and then we'll we'll start eating them so got a couple from Powell dough brand. I've got the gum tongue beef and vegetable and the tomb space. Stir fried ramen spicy. I'm very excited for that.

Unknown Speaker 23:20

And how did you choose these? Like I don't necessarily know what these words refer to like gum tongue.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:25

I went to I went to H Mart I got a couple of brands that I recognize that I've seen before like the the shin black and then Neo gudi spicy seafood. And then just a couple that looked appealing because it said spicy or it had like a creamy looking broth. What do you think of the curry?

Molly 23:41

Hmm. You know, it's a little better than I thought it would be okay. My feeling is that the aftertaste is kind of like flat. Yeah, like it needs fat somehow.

Matthew Amster-Burton 23:54

Yeah, I know. You mean I do enjoy sipping the broth. Do I love it? No.

Molly 23:58

This all is making me feel oddly comforted though. Yeah, there's something really comforting about holding that warm Styrofoam cup. It's like if we're gonna, if we're going to destroy the ozone layer, like holding a warm Styrofoam cup is a nice way to die.

Matthew Amster-Burton 24:14

Yeah, sure. I don't know what that little like nubbly bet is but it's not bad. Potato. Potato, dry potato. Yeah, I would I would eat this. Okay. Yeah, I think I would eat it too. Okay, how about if you do the the fill with hot water ones which are these two and I'll do the microwave ones which are these two. Okay, and then we'll come back and Okay.

Unknown Speaker 24:34

Instructions. Yes, six yonder cuisson houfy Look avec la Amati I routine. Wow, son was a boo Yan juice. Gotta lean Atlanta area. Okay, follow me Luke COVID Arklay. Let's say Posey Tommy nuit de la la Kubiak la de ghosty P

Molly 25:00

Okay. Okay, here we go. Okay, so this is the oh, I've got both Pelto ones. Oh, this has a packet in it. The instructions didn't mention the packet did cup noodles when we were kids did it have a packet that you had? No, no, it was always just like the flavoring was just sitting there waiting.

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:24

The Shin Black has two packets. Wow, that isn't Shane Black like a movie director or something?

Molly 25:30

I don't know. Okay. Oh, this one you whoa, this one's interesting. Okay, you you only add the soup bass and flakes later. Oh, wow. Okay, Matthew, I've got one that's going to take three minutes and one that's going to take four how are we going to do this?

Matthew Amster-Burton 25:50

I don't know if only there was a way how are we going to do it? Some of them are gonna get a little soggy

Molly 25:58

Okay, so these guys that I just did I think are paper so they definitely feel hotter. Yeah, so Matthew the one that's in the bigger Oh, no. Look, the lid is peeling pack.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:13

What do you think that paper lid does in terms of heat retention a lot.

Molly 26:17

Now so Matthew the one that's in the bigger thing. The Pelto Yeah. Is it to Him say?

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:24

Yeah, I'm not sure it's a Korean word that

Molly 26:26

fried ramen spicy. So that one what happens is we're going to drain the water out. Oh, nice. And then we add the sauce packet. I'm very excited about this. Spicy lovers packet sauce. The spicy love spicy lovers. We got a metal? Uh huh. Yep, we are best at blowing.

Matthew Amster-Burton 26:46

We I feel like this is an episode where like some someday when we have like a high maintenance episode like this, where we're like cooking a bunch of things. And this is like real cooking. This is pretty high maintenance. And we should we should see if we can get producer Abby to like, come over and like prep. I think we'd have to pay her more. But she wouldn't she wouldn't be deserving. Okay. It's just it's, you know, whether we want to spend our money. You think she would charge like a surcharge? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, to be in our presence for sure. I was.

Molly 27:16

Okay. So one more to go into Miko. Okay, we've got about a minute 15 left on the gum tongue. So Matthew, I was recently on a Hawaiian Airlines flight. We went to Hawaii for June spring break and we were flying from this flight was from Honolulu to Seattle. And there was a family next to me and I think that what the mom was watching were Japanese game shows the whole way so I think it was a Japanese family. At one point I heard her asked for noodles just asked for noodles from the flight attendant and I was like, What is she about to get like I was not aware we could have noodles. And the guy came back with two containers of Mato chon instant lunch. And, and you know his little like credit card machine and rang her up. And it turns out that on Hawaiian Airlines it is like a basic thing that you can always get Matan instant lunch for four bucks. That's

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:15

awesome. I didn't know that. I didn't know that either. I have been on Hawaiian Airlines one time going to Japan. I loved that this woman had what felt to me like insider knowledge. I had no idea. Yeah, that's like she ordered off the secret menu. Like did she get her noodles? Animal Style.

Unknown Speaker 28:31

Doggy style. We're going to edit this part out. No, we're not. Okay, Matthew

Matthew Amster-Burton 28:40

30. Like the mic picked up when you said she got her noodle doggy style. Oh, thanks. Thanks for repeating that. Okay, I've got the nail Guti spicy seafood.

Molly 28:50

Okay, I've got the gum tongue. beef and vegetable flavor made by Paul dough. Oh, God, this does not smell good. I mean, do you think that beef was just like waved over the like through the room in which this powder was made? Because really good. Smell this.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:08

Okay, the I just tasted the spicy seafood and I really like it. Interesting.

Molly 29:12

Oh, this spicy seafood actually smells like like dried shrimp.

Matthew Amster-Burton 29:16

Yeah, okay, I'm excited. No, I'm excited to try this. This beef one that cut it just kind of smells like negative space. Okay, I'm gonna try to find a way to drain all water from the this feels like a stunt. Oh, boy. We do not have workers comp. I mean, what if I were trying to do this like in my office? I think if you were trying to do the one where you have to drain the noodles in the office like you I mean you'd like try and like get an intern to do it. I can't I can't respond to you right now. No, I don't think I like this. This beef and vegetable one. Do you even understand where beef is associated with it? Or does it just feel like I think it's supposed to be like a beef bone. I kind of thing but like the flavor isn't right for me, but the spicy seafood I like a lot the noodle texture on that one is the best I've had so far here Matthew,

Molly 30:09

could you add so I can taste? Yeah, you're supposed to add the spicy lovers. And you're supposed to stir well, I will. Okay, I'm going to taste this spicy seafood. All right, what is this guy? This is Nongshim spicy seafood flavor noodle soup. Okay, yeah, this smells really good. It kind of maybe it has a bit of like a dashi smell. Yeah, that kind of dried dried fish.

Matthew Amster-Burton 30:38

smells spicy. Yeah, yeah. Okay, and it's a mix this really well. This feels like more of a project than a cup noodle should be this spicy ramen one because you had to drain the water. And then like mixing it up. Is a pain. Oh, this is tasty. Yeah, the nail Guti spicy seafood harder is that

Molly 30:59

it's really spicy. Yeah. What do you think? You feeling pretty good about that. That effort you just put in.

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:07

Okay, so I'm tasting the spicy lovers. The noodle texture is not great. It's soft. Which I guess is just kind of what you're gonna expect from a from a cup noodle. The sauce is really spicy and I really like it.

Molly 31:21

I really liked this new go to knit nail. Goody my saying that approximately right. Oh, okay. What would that God this does smell spicy spelt. Smells like spicy ketchup? Yeah, it kind of kind of does it looks like there's some sort of seaweed in here. Yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 31:37

I think it's I mean I feel like there's some some like go to Jiang in the in the spicy lovers because I get getting that like fermented character. But It's spicier than a than a go to job. Or that at least then most go to John. I've had that good.

Molly 31:50

Wow, that's really spicy. This is the kind of heat that would sometimes give me hiccups. Do you ever get hiccups from really spicy food? No, just from laughing at your jokes. The first time this ever happened to me was at Mission Chinese food in San Francisco. Like years ago. I got the hiccups. And then I felt deeply nauseated. It was so good. And it was so spicy. Yeah, I like this. I prefer the Nongshim the Neo goodie Naoko D spicy seafood.

Unknown Speaker 32:17

There's one more in the microwave. Oh, wow. I'm on fire from that. The stir fried ramen. Ah, I think I need a cracker. Do you have any sell teens? No. Yeah, it's real spicy. It is really spicy. I'm glad that you think it's spicy, too. Okay, thank you.

Matthew Amster-Burton 32:38

Okay, I'm cleansing my palate. Yeah, I think I think we kind of fell down on the cheese plating job here. Because I think this last one is going to be much less spicy. And so it might register as what is that last? This is the shin black with beef bone broth.

Molly 32:52

Okay, I have a feeling also that I messed up by not tasting this one the watery beef earlier. That's what it's called. It smells terrible. I don't want to eat this.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:02

It's not it doesn't taste bad, but it doesn't taste like much.

Molly 33:05

No, I don't like that. It tastes like it smells which is like, like the contents of a vacuum cleaner.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:12

The Shin Black is very tasty. Okay. Overall, I would say the spicy the Neo booty spicy seafood is my favorite. Okay, but the shin Black is very good. I like the one that's too spicy. I can I can go for that sort of thing sometimes. So I feel like we ended up with three bots. I ended up with like three that I really like and three that are kind of and this is not bad. I think if I'd had this one before, the spicy seafood and the spicy Spicy ship some of the broth. It's really hot, though. Is there? I know you're afraid of dental emergencies?

Molly 33:44

No, it's that I burned my tongue really easily. Yeah. Okay, what do I want? I don't like the smell of this though. There's something to the smell of the noodles. In some of these that I don't care for.

Matthew Amster-Burton 33:57

It's probably that they've got a lot of continuity or whatever they call it in other languages to to like keep them a little bouncy and springy. But like it's it's lie water. It's not lie. It's a it's an alkaline solution.

Unknown Speaker 34:11

I don't like whatever the smell is coming off of that. I'm gonna try the spicy seafood again.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:17

Yeah, the spicy seafood. It feels like just like the most balanced all around to me.

Molly 34:21

Also, the noodles look different, don't they? Yeah, they have a tiny bit of a translucency to them. That makes them look a little bit less.

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:29

Oh yeah, I like to Shin black a lot. Okay, one more bite of the super spicy.

Molly 34:34

No, for me. The runaway winner was the spicy seafood. That is good stuff. Yeah, I think they had that one at Safeway. I would have never thought to buy this like spicy seafood flavor. It doesn't have many chunks, right? Yeah, but I don't think I want I know, freeze dried chunks. Okay, so what's our what's our take? What have we learned?

Matthew Amster-Burton 34:57

Well, I'm wondering like, am I gonna have my going Buy these and I, I'm not sure if you worked in an office. Yeah. Would you buy these I would be concerned about like subjecting co workers to like my noodle aromas. Yeah, I

Molly 35:11

think the spicy seafood is a real aroma situation,

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:14

but they're probably used to my aromas by now if I've been working there for a while, I bet

Molly 35:18

you would come in with a lot of aromas. So you're probably right.

Matthew Amster-Burton 35:21

Here's the thing for me, noted homebody okay, I started making that tick tock ramen that I've mentioned before, tell me about it or whatever it's it's like an Indonesian style recipe where you cook some some ramen without the seasoning packet. And then you make a sauce that's like chili flakes, brown sugar soy sauce, and then you and then you like cook an egg and mix that through and it's really tasty and takes about six minutes to make. And so because I'm always home at lunchtime, I'm more likely to end all I have those ingredients on hand I'm more likely to make something like that like a doctored packaged ramen, then go for a cup noodle having said that, I do think some of these are really tasty maybe I just don't like lead a cup noodle lifestyle the way I used to when I was like seven when I was seven when working working in an office in the in accounts receivable

Molly 36:18

I think that part of what is working for me about the NAO Gudauri one is that it has more of a smell like it has more spices and stuff. It almost smells well it smells a bit funky from the seafood. Yeah. But it also has a bit of like a kimchi funk or like that kind of Yeah, like, like spicy chili funk. And so for me that elevates it above above other cup noodles that just kind of are warm things to hold the world.

Matthew Amster-Burton 36:51

And there are other flavors of Neo gudi also. Oh what is Neo goodie mean? I think it's some kind of monster. Let's look this up. Okay, thank you. You're some kind of monster

Molly 37:02

I know. I am. I am impressed by how spicy these are. Yeah, I mean, I did not expect that.

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:08

Ah, I was sort of right. Neo gudi is the Korean word for raccoon dog what's called a tanuki in Japanese. So it's like it's like a critter. Not a monster. But okay, okay. I think yeah, I think we've learned a lot I have a question for you. If you worked in an office would you rather work in accounts payable or accounts receivable? Sorry, what is saying when is receiving? This is why it's like qualifies to me as like starting a bit. Oh, okay. I don't have any sense of where it's gonna go.

Molly 37:39

I think I'd I think I'd want to send out the invoices. Oh, okay. I want to just the opposite I so I have to do I do some invoicing for my teaching. I send invoices through QuickBooks,

Matthew Amster-Burton 37:51

and I might sponsored by quick I really enjoy

Unknown Speaker 37:55

like the system I have for sending invoices and then like keeping track of whether they've been paid or not

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:02

okay, I feel like if I was working at a company though like I want to be in payable I want to make people happy by like sending them a check on time. So why don't you invoice me

Unknown Speaker 38:11

payable? I get it now. I find it was just like you sat there and received the money.

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:17

That's I think that's receivable I think you send the invoices and then receive the money. Oh, god. Yeah, I'm sorry. I like I am Wait, have you been sending invoices and then sending people the money after sending the invoice I

Molly 38:31

seriously no corporate link. I don't eat that's like that's the only thing I do not like my spouse right now is getting a certificate in data analytics. I don't understand

Matthew Amster-Burton 38:45

sounds like they're bound for the C suite. That's a that's a corporate term I picked up at work.

Molly 38:50

I remember when Ash was working in their their last corporate job. They mentioned something about the org chart. And I was just like, why is it that like you guys can't say the word organization or like staff, staff chart staff chart like what the hell Why is it an org chart?

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:07

I know it sounds cool to me. I all the all the work. You're doing a reorg everything I know about corporate life. I learned stop serving tea at Facebook. Yeah. All right. Let's move on to segments because this episode is long. Oh, I think probably like a lot of waiting for noodles to soften. Cut out by producer Abby.

Molly 39:26

Let's hope so. Okay, Matthew, would you read our spilled mail?

Matthew Amster-Burton 39:30

I would love to this is from listener a Montes. Hi, longtime listener. Marty's here. First a comment. I recently read listen to the m&ms episode and wonder if you ever attained your dream of having a bowl of custom m&ms With your faces on them. So you could read real AMS behind m&ms. This must be a thing we said on the m&ms. The answer is no. We have not realized any of our Dreams including that one. Yeah. My question is something is gonna get serious. We're there. We're about to have a turn. My question is something I've been trying to figure out myself for a little while. I like trying new recipes and cooking styles. I love that you both do too from all types of cuisines. But when you're thinking about purchasing a cookbook, do you do any research or anything to learn more about the chef or person behind it to determine whether you want to support them in their work by buying their book, maybe this is an attempt to learn more about where appropriation and respect slash enthusiasm intersect and how people talk about it. There's also the dynamic of a lot of white guys. No disrespect, Matthew, you're wonderful. taking up a lot of space, but it's obviously not a hard and fast rule just to not buy cookbooks from white men. Do you each do anything yourselves to investigate that sort of thing before purchases? Thank you both. For everything you do. I love each of your writing careers. And this perfectly engineered podcast P P.

Molly 40:50

Oh, thank you. Okay, this is a terrific question. And I'm glad that we are being asked this question. In order to answer it, I'm going to shift it a little bit because I haven't bought cookbooks in a long time. I just bought two. Oh, you did. But I do use recipes from the internet all the time. And I think like a lot of white Americans, it has only occurred to me in the past two to four years, that I really do want to do that research and need to do that research before I choose a recipe. So you know, I think in the past, if I were looking for, I don't know, some sort of, let's say, a Vietnamese noodle recipe. Yeah, I might have gone looking for it on the internet and found a recipe from Bon appetit and just used it right now I find myself much more inclined to go to either, like a Vietnamese YouTube channel, or to a Vietnamese food blog. I feel like I've learned a lot from I learned a lot about Japanese food from just one cookbook. Sure. And in the past, you know, to be perfectly frank, it would have never occurred to me that I needed to to step outside of the box of white cookbook authors and actually go to the source.

Matthew Amster-Burton 42:10

I think this is this is a big question. Like I do think about, you know, Molly and I grew up kind of in the era of like coming of age and learning about food of like, you know, if you want a Mexican recipe, you turn to Rick Bayless or dyadic entity exactly, neither of whom are Mexican. And I think some progress has been made with that. And like a lot of a lot of this like is work that has to be done by the publishing industry, because they remain like the gatekeepers, especially in the world of cookbooks, which hasn't been affected as much by self publishing as some areas other areas of publishing. Yeah. But of course, like, you know, they respond to to demand from consumers and you know, promoters like us, you know, I have thought about this more in terms. Well, first, let me talk about the two cookbooks that I recently bought, okay, because like, I think it might be kind of like illustrative of my muddled thinking on this subject. I bought two new Japanese cookbooks, both of which I really like. One is called Tokyo up late by Brendon Liu, who I don't really know anything about. And one is called your home isa kya. by Tim Anderson and Tim Anderson, I do know a little about because I have cooked from almost all I think this is a fifth Japanese cookbook. He is a white American guy, who has spent a lot of time in Japan and get and getting deeply into Japanese food, kind of like someone else I can think of. And so, you know, that doesn't necessarily make him a good guy. And I don't know anything about him. So I think first of all, there were kind of conflating the issue of cultural appropriation and like whether someone is a bad person, which can which can go together, but don't always Yes, right. Yes, like so I don't know anything about either of these cookbook authors as people. I know that when I read both of these books, they clearly have a very deep understanding and closeness to Japanese food and culture. Is there like a whiff of cultural appropriation about the fact that one of them is written by a white guy, and the other one is written by a guy of Asian descent? Who I don't think is Japanese based on his name, although that could be an unfair conclusion to jump to. Yes.

Molly 44:23

It's really tricky, because it's obviously difficult to figure out how to talk about this. Yeah, because it is so muddled this book that you're holding up here, this your home is a kya is gorgeous, looks, you know, at first, like it looks truly authoritative. And it's really tricky because we don't know the story of how it got made or whether there are other proposals out there for a similar book that got overlooked.

Matthew Amster-Burton 44:50

Right. So I, you know, I feel personally like not always comfortable with the amount of space that I take up. You know, I think that was a good way that For listener on bodies to put it, you know, I think about this kind of more. I've been reading more fiction lately. And so I think I think it's a question that goes far beyond cookbooks. You know, this is this is something that I haven't really like talked said publicly, because it's something that like, I don't, I don't know, like how, okay, it is to express it this way. But it's something that I've come to feel pretty strongly. So let's just put it out there and see if anyone cares. I think for the most part, if you are a, you know, a sis white man, and you are thinking about writing a book, think about doing something else instead, because what you are unless you unless you have like a very unique perspective,

Molly 45:40

I have a question, would you say this, do you think like this across the board,

Matthew Amster-Burton 45:44

I think as a as a good starting place, okay. The reason I came to this was because I wrote the manuscript for a novel that I was pretty proud of, where the main character that the point of view character was a Chinese American Girl. And I talked about this with wife, the show, Laurie, and with several other people, including you and came to the conclusion was like, not only would it be cultural appropriation for me to write that, but like, maybe more important than that, I just don't really know what it's like to grow up as a Chinese American Girl. And I'm not going to do a good job of portraying that even if I go in with the best intentions. So what are my options at that point, like, you know, I can write a book where a you know, a white guy growing up is the center of the book, and maybe is like trying to do his best, fine, but I don't not really interested in that. Like, I don't want to write that book. We've like we've got enough of those books. And I think that

Molly 46:43

there are a lot of people that would respond to what you're saying, like, well, Matthew, just because you step aside doesn't mean that a Chinese American woman is going to get to publish her novel well, and that but that's not the point. Right? The point is that like what you are in control of is that you can choose to be silent. Yeah. And to not actively move into that space that we don't know whether it can be occupied by someone else or not. But you can choose whether you try to occupy it

Matthew Amster-Burton 47:11

right so I don't know that was that was like a big mess because like my thoughts about this are a big mess. But no, my appreciate I appreciate listener Ahmadi, as you're asking the question and giving us an opportunity to express our mess.

Molly 47:24

Yeah. And I just want to say too, that I feel Yeah, I feel like I am very much trying to learn how to talk about this and what I think about it. I mean, like, for instance, I feel like I learned so much about Chinese food from fuchsia Dunlop, yeah, who is a white British food writer. Yeah. And I think that I can do better. So yeah, I think that I'm really glad we're having these conversations. And also, this is part of what has made me not want to write about food anymore. Yeah. Is that it? I just feel like, a lot of the foods that I love to eat or not mine to write about, yeah,

Matthew Amster-Burton 48:03

no, I feel the same way. And like, you know, the fact that we do a show about food, like I've sometimes thought like, I wish we could sort of like set aside the food at this point. And just like do a show about like a couple of friends being dumb asses. That is kind of what we're that's kind of what we do. But but it like, you know, it puts us in a difficult spot because we want to be inclusive about what kind of foods we talk about. But that means being inclusive of foods that we you know, didn't grew up with and aren't part of our culture and need to like bring out a guest to talk about or you know, kind of fumble through it. You know, it can affect the tone of the show and like you know, we are trying our best but don't always do a great job of that I

Molly 48:41

think yeah, it is a work in progress. And I think for the most part we just hope to do no harm. Yeah, as we are bumbling our way to figuring out what is what is fair and respectful and allows the right people to be in the spotlight.

Matthew Amster-Burton 48:59

Yeah, cool. All right. Okay, we're gonna move on to uh, now but wow, yes. Okay

so this is a first this now but well, that I'm recommending was created by the same person who suggested this episode. Really? Did you? Oh, hold on. Did you think about this? Did I didn't just realize it now. Oh, okay. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 49:27

So this episode was suggested by you aren't just like, you know, like, puffing up to hero

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:33

Have you tried to hero puffs. Oh, like, like a like a tit for tat kind of like

Unknown Speaker 49:40

saying doesn't make any sense because basically we owe this whole episode to your hero and Chihiro your newsletter is great and Matthew is about to talk about it.

Matthew Amster-Burton 49:49

Okay, so listener to hear about Tomioka covers Japanese cooking and travel with a particular focus on sweets and gifts in her substack newsletter, which is just called Chi heroes newsletter. I suppose. Try to it it is free. You You got it at nada no ma chats.substack.com We'll link to it in the show notes. And I like it because the writing is beautiful. She's a professional writer and it covers like areas of Japanese food that I don't know very well but would love to learn more about like sweets and gifts. So she did a how to reason newsletter about nama Gashi, which is like a particular particular type of traditional Japanese sweets. And it contains the following delightful footnote which I'm going to read in its entirety. Okay, I love my hometown, but boy, is it a trek from New York? You must fly to naughty to 14 hours take the naughty to express does fina gala one hour take the Shinkansen to Kyoto two hours and then the Express contents are to Yamato Koyama. One one hour. That's the itinerary. You're welcome. Excellent. So she heroes newsletter on substack. It's great. Fantastic. Well, our producer is Abby circuit tele, please rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. And if you would like to talk

Unknown Speaker 50:57

with other spilled milk listeners, you can do that on our subreddit which is reddit.com/are/everything spilled milk.

Matthew Amster-Burton 51:04

And until next time, thank you for listening to spilled milk bumbling my way in to your ear holes. Which I think the best way to the heart is through the year hole. Personally I agree. I'm Matthew Amster-Burton. I'm Molly Weissenberg. Oh my God, I'm such an idiot.