It's been a heck of a cookbook season thus far. Suffice it to say that our credit cards are smoking because there were so many that we just couldn't live without. Of course buying the books is only a first step. Once we have them we have to find some time to actually read them. If your life is anything like ours you'll understand that is easier said than done.
I have a tendency to suffer insomnia on a somewhat regular basis. This becomes the time I indulge my penchant for reading. Once I've been awake long enough to know there's no going back to sleep I reach for a book. A good portion of the time I choose to read novels, biographies, or travelogues on my phone, but if I'm motivated/awake enough to leave the bedroom I go for the giant stack of cookbooks waiting to be read. This morning round about 3am I was thinking about ramen. So I dragged myself downstairs, put a pot dashi on to simmer, and picked up Ivan Ramen.
This book was one of Alex's picks and it had the words ramen, love and obsession on the front cover so I figured it would be right up my alley. From the introduction by David Chang right through the end I was completely hooked. Ivan even includes the recipe for his signature Shiyo Ramen, dough and all, which I love. As he rightly notes in the text ramen chefs are known for their secrets and it is beyond frustrating to try and track down authentic recipes for the various components. He has nothing to lose by publishing his now because Ivan Ramen has become an institution. I am a sucker for chef stories and this one is engrossing. I'll keep the details to myself because you should buy this book, though I will say that that the recipe section at the end is both useful and unique. In a season full of stellar books, many of which we hope to talk about sooner rather than later, this one is very special.