Early this week I took by daughter to see the movie Kung Fu Panda. The main character is a pathetic Panda named Po who dreams of being a Kung Fu master, but he's stuck working in his father's noodle shop. There are a few scenes where Po prepares a big bowl of noodles, and as I watched, I kept thinking - Man, those noodles look good. I wonder what spices he's using. I developed this intense craving for Asian noodles that still lingers with me. When I take a few steps back and analyze my reaction to the movie, I realize that I'm crazy. The idea that cartoon - not real- noodles stirred this intense desire in me is nuts. Maybe I need help.
This is not an isolated story. A few months ago I watched the George Clooney movie Michael Clayton. In that movie there's a scene where Michael Clayton (played by George Clooney) confronts a character played by Tom Wilkinson. They're standing out in a New York City street, and Wilkinson's character, a manic-depressive soul, has a big sack full of baguettes, more than one normal man needs. Clooney's character tries to have a serious conversation with Wilkinson, but he just wants to talk about how great his bag of bread is. He even tries to give Clooney a baguette. The whole time I'm thinking - Man, that's some nice looking bread. Take the baguette, Clooney. I wish I had a sack of bread like that. For about five minutes after that scene, I couldn't focus on the movie because the baguettes sent me into a gourmand tailspin.
I don't think this is normal.
Still jonesing for some noodles,
P.S. I'm currently reading Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop, a British food writer who has written a few cookbook on Chinese Cuisine. Every few paragraphs of the book, my craving for noodles is intensified. I challenge you to read the following description of something called Dan Dan Noodles and not crave them:
"They looked quite plain: a small bowlful of noodles topped with a spoonful of dark, crisp, minced beef. But as soon as you stirred them with your chopsticks, you awakened the flavours in the slick of spicy seasonings at the base of the bowl and coated each strand of pasta in a mix of soy sauce, chilli oil, seasame paste and Sichaun pepper. The effect was electrifying. Within seconds, your mouth was on fire, your lips quivering under the onslaught of the pepper, and your whole body radiant with heat."