The true story of Momofuku Ando, who persevered to invent a speedy, nutritious, and tasty ramen to help feed the hungry in post–World War II Japan.
A year after the war ended, people were still starving for food. Realizing that the “world is peaceful only when everyone has enough to eat,” Ando decided to make food his life’s work. In a backyard shed, Ando attempted to realize his dream of a more nutritious ramen. He experimented by adding different ingredients to a basic recipe of flour, salt, and water: eggs, powdered milk, and even spinach! He invented a way to infuse the noodles with flavor, but the noodles were still too tough. Then, watching his wife make tempura gave him a brilliant idea—fry the noodles! Frying creates tiny holes in the noodles, causing them to soften after just a few minutes in hot water. Voilà: tender, chewy noodles in hot, tasty soup that was ready in two minutes! With an aesthetic that’s straight out of a Hayao Miyazaki animated film, Urbanowicz’s illustrations pair deliciously with Wang’s concise, conversational text. Clever use of lighting, white space, and comic-book compositions moderate pacing in all the right places. The illustrator earns brownie points for accurate cultural details: geta (wooden sandals), cascading cherry blossoms, kanji characters, etc.
Eaters of all ages will enjoy learning about the history of this popular food gone global. (biographical note) (Informational picture book. 4-10)