[mouthwatering review] magic ramen by andrea wang and kana urbanowicz

“Mankind is Noodlekind” ~ Momofuku Ando

 

Know what would really hit the spot right about now?

A warm bowl of instant ramen. Care to join me?

 

 

I can’t even guess how many years I’ve been going from “hungry to happy” with Top Ramen and Cup Noodles. They’re pretty unbeatable (and ubiquitous) as comfort food — quick, convenient, portable, shelf stable, cheap, tasty and satisfying. It’s the kind of thing you take for granted, the food that helped you get through college. 🙂

But do you know who actually invented instant ramen?

 

 

I first heard of Taiwanese-born Momofuku Ando in an article that appeared in David Chang’s inaugural issue of the now defunct Lucky Peach magazine (2011). What a fascinating and inspirational story! Anyone who’s ever slurped up their fair share of ramen should know the who, what, when, how, and why of what the Japanese consider to be their best invention of the 20th century.

 

 

Now, thanks to Andrea Wang and Kana Urbanowicz, hungry, noodle-loving kids can read all about it in a new picture book, Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando (little bee books, 2019). They will see that because of one man’s compassion, ingenuity, persistence, and entrepreneurial smarts, people all over the world can make their own delicious ramen “anywhere, anytime” in just a few minutes. 🙂

Continue reading

nine cool things on a tuesday

1. There’s nothing ho-hum about Oregon-based ceramicist Sara Swink’s work. She creates human and animal figures that tease our thinking and beg interpretation. She takes something familiar and gives it a dreamlike, bizarre, or even humorous twist. Her distinctive pieces definitely compel us to take a second or third look.

Her love of clay began when she was eight, with the encouragement of a neighbor who was a potter. She learned to throw on a potter’s wheel, hand build and mix glazes in high school, even buying her own wheel with money earned cleaning houses.

Some twenty years later, she began taking ceramics classes, then studied art history, printmaking, drawing, and foundry work at several universities while teaching. Studying with Coeleen Kiebert (whose approach is to fuse artmaking with the psychology of the individual) was pivotal in shaping Sara’s work. Sara’s pieces can be seen as expressions of her inner psyche; there is a personal narrative that runs through all her art.

Sara opened Clay Circle Studio when she moved to the Portland area in 2006 and continues to offer workshops. Find out more about her classes at her official website, where you can also view a wonderful archive of available and past pieces.

*

 

Continue reading

it’s foodimentary, my dear!

In the mood for a raspberry popover, a heavenly slice of coconut cream pie, or a big bowl of strawberries and cream? Maybe you’d prefer something a little more substantial, like some southern barbecue, a hoagie, or even a roast leg of lamb?

Whatever your pleasure, did you know that each of these foods has its own designated holiday during the month of May? Of course one does not need a holiday to enjoy any food, but somehow it’s a little more fun that way.

Back in 2005, Alabama resident John-Bryan Hopkins coined the term “Foodimentary” while cooking with friends. He wanted to start a food blog (he had the perfect name for it), but wanted to do something different. He wanted to feature interesting food facts rather than write a personal blog with recipes. So he read, researched, and gathered all kinds of fascinating tidbits of food history and trivia, sharing them daily with his readers.

His blog gained a good following immediately, and he soon expanded his reach via various social media platforms, most notably, Twitter. His foodie info-bites were perfect for Twitter. People gobbled up his short nuggets and couldn’t get enough. Hopkins also noted that food holidays were one of the most popular and trending topics in the food category, so he decided to incorporate them into his Foodimentary website.

Continue reading

jane massey’s pictures make me want to hug myself

Why, hello!

There’s nothing like seeing the world through a child’s eyes.

Position your Cheerios and take a look at these adorable illustrations by UK author/illustrator Jane Massey.

 

 

You may know her from the dozens of children’s books she’s illustrated — books she’s written herself and by many others (Alexandra Penfold, Joyce Dunbar, Dawn Richards, Claire Freedman, et. al.).

 

 

I confess I first noticed her work on Pinterest and Instagram, where she regularly posts THE CUTEST drawings and sketches. I marvel at her childlike instinct. We would expect her art to speak directly to children, but I was also struck by how deeply her pictures spoke to the child in me. I discovered recently that I certainly was not alone in my reaction.

 

 

Not too long ago, I posted the above drawing, called “New Shoes,” on Facebook. People LOVED and identified with it, recalling their own childhood experiences. Comments ranged from “simple and beautiful,” to “I adore this!” to “awwwwwww. . . ” Some of these people had never commented or “liked” any of my posts before. Jane’s art had grabbed them, and for a fleeting moment, they remembered what it was like to be two or three again.

 

 

Isn’t it amazing how something so simple could elicit such a strong emotional response? And that’s what characterizes Massey’s work: a posture, an expression, a nuance of emotion — all the feelings and heart of a child are ever present.

 

 

There are many artists who can draw children well, but not all are able to capture such believable emotion in just a few masterful strokes. This is especially evident in the drawings she posts on Instagram — not necessarily part of a specific book project, yet each subscribes to the “less is more” philosophy — where character is instantly established, and a larger narrative is implied. Brilliant!

 

 

 

 

Look at the Cheerios girl at the top of this post. Don’t you already know her? Can’t you already imagine the trouble she could get into?

 

Continue reading

nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Here’s something to make National Poetry Month even more fabulous: a new activity book by London-based illustrator, designer and cut-paper collage queen Clover Robin!

Origami and Poetry: Inspired by Nature (Nosy Crow, 2019), was just released in mid March, and is a wonderful way for kids to extend their enjoyment of poetry with hands-on fun.

This stunning book features nature-inspired poems and origami. For each animal or object, children will be able to read a poem and then make a corresponding origami figure! With clear, simple directions and links to helpful videos for how to make thirteen animals or objects and fifty sheets of origami paper, this is the perfect introduction to the art of paper folding.

You may remember we featured Clover Robin’s work not too long ago; she is brilliant and her love of nature shines through in all her projects. Snip snip snip!

*

 

2. Look what’s coming out later this year: Sesame Street postage stamps! In honor of Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary, the U.S. Postal Service is issuing 16 Forever stamps featuring some of the beloved characters from the show, including Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo and Grover. Nice to see that Julia, a new character with autism who was introduced in 2017, is also part of the line-up.

My favorite has always been Elmo, though when I get some of these stamps I will use Oscar the Grouch to mail all my bills. 🙂

*

Continue reading