Friday, June 12, 2020


It’ll come as no surprise to you that I take Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of my role models.  And this being so, and taking into account the above image, I thought I might shelter from the pandemic by making a not especially in-depth study of ramen, or as we more often call it in England, pot noodles.

For a while, every time I went in a supermarket I bought a different variety with the result you see below.  Eleven pots - enough for eleven nights.

Did I expect to find culinary delights in these pots? Well no, not really, and I started with the one I thought would be the least enjoyable, so that I could get it out of the way.  This was the Naked Noodle Thai sweet chilli – described as ‘egg noodles in a sweet, tangy garlic and chilli sauce.’

Man, I had no idea how bad it could be.  Imagine you’ve just dissolved some sweet miscellaneous-flavoured jelly cubes in hot water and then tossed in some noodles and then added more sugar. Even with the addition of soy sauce and lemon juice to make it less sweet, it was truly revolting.  In fact it was so bad I haven’t dared taste any of the others as yet, but when I do you’ll be among the first to hear.

And then, I just so happened (on the recommendation of my psychogeographic pal, Mr Anthony Miller) to be reading the JG Ballard short story titled ‘The Enormous Space.’  In fact I think I was probably re-reading it, but it’s so archetypally Ballardian I couldn’t be absolutely sure.  Either way, it’s a great story for a lockdown.  A man living in Croydon, is having a mid-life crisis following a car crash and being abandoned by his wife for ‘a tedious sales manager,’ and decides to stay in his suburban house, never leave, and sever all connections with the outside world.  Rather touchingly, and I’d say improbably, his estranged wife, before leaving, ‘has stocked the freezer and refrigerator with a fortnight’s supply of eggs, ham and other bachelor staples.’  Whether bachelor staples includes pot noodles, I can’t say.  Inevitably the food soon runs out and our hero turns to that old Ballardian standby and staple - the dog.  ‘I returned to my lunch of poodle pie.’ It’s not clear where he gets the pastry, not that it matters much - before long he’s eating the man who’s come to take down the TV aerial.  Of course, this story was written in the days before Ocado.

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