Friday, February 23, 2024

The best article you'll read about ramen today

Via Chicago magazine, this rather wonderful (if intense) article: 

Striving for a perfect bowl of ramen — even if it can’t practically be achieved — requires more than feel, intuition, and thousands of hours of muscle memory. It demands exactitude measured in decimals, seconds, and milligrams, using levels, humidity gauges, and refractometers. It is cooking that veers into the domain of laboratory science.

Ask Satinover why this kind of precision is necessary — or really any question at all — and you’ll get an answer that is thought out, quantitative, ready to be bullet-pointed: “There are two reasons. From a business perspective, it’s consistency. My intuition about what’s right isn’t applicable to every component of every dish. I need a control, and numbers are easy to control. The other reason is to avoid having to think about it, to avoid the mental load of what’s correct and what’s not. The number is correct. Twenty grams of onions is correct, not 10 onions. What if you have a larger onion? It’s for a reduction in mental exhaustion.”

I have so many thoughts about this article, and how much I admire Satinover's approach to quality, consistency and his quest for excellence in a bowl. I really admire his search for the right tool for the job (a refractometer for the broth, wow!) 

It feels like launching new restaurants in modern America feels like a bit of a Houdini trick where you are chained inside a box and thrown in a pool and you have six months to either escape or you drown. In that sense, I'm delighted not to be Satinover. 

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looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20