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The Noodle Narratives: The Global Rise of an Industrial Food into the Twenty-First Century Paperback – August 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (August 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520276345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520276345
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"This magnificent book follows the invention, production, and consumption of the ever-popular instant ramen noodles around the world. Here we have ethnography at its best- the authors present a wonderfully appealing topic while also addressing the public issues and global inequalities surrounding it." —Niko Besnier, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, University of Amsterdam

The Noodle Narratives calls long overdue attention to an ubiquitous industrial product hiding in plain sight. This creative and readable book delivers a welcome and original contribution to the history of food and the anthropology of globalization.” —Robert Foster, author of Coca-Globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea



About the Author

Frederick Errington is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Deborah Gewertz is G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology at Amherst College. Tatsuro Fujikura is Professor at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies at Kyoto University.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jia Ming Li on October 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Noodle Narrative's three authors examine the role of instant noodles in people's lives across three very different markets: Japan - the birthplace of instant noodles, where they occupy a space of cultural obsession spawning a slew of zany flavors; the United States - where instant noodles have come to represent a symbol of transition, in which one moves from less-fortunate circumstances to hopefully better ones (ie. college, prison, poverty); Papua New Guinea - a relative newcomer into the sphere of influence wielded by instant noodles where mostly poor people enjoy it for a taste of modernity meanwhile fulfilling aspirations of participating in global consumer culture.

While Errington, Fujikura, Gewertz don't quite proffer instant noodles as the ultimate cure for world hunger, they argue that the flash fried noodle blocks do hold tremendous potential. That perhaps after some tweaks to its nutritional content - less sodium and fortified with vitamins and nutrients - it may become a much more viable solution. However, as with any dirt-cheap commodity available in nearly every international market, there comes a dark side. With instant noodles, it's palm oil. I wish the authors had elaborated more on palm oil exploitation (seeing as how I am an environmental studies major and all holla), but that discussion along with the discussion about instant noodles as a product of "big food" felt brief and glossed over given the global implications of an almost-too-convenient answer to such a massive humanitarian problem.
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