All those interested in food history, Japan, East Asian culinary history, ramen, popular culture, the history of Sino-Japan relations, China, East Asian history, and noodles.
"... In delving into the history of ramen, Kushner throws light on many interesting aspects of Japanese social and political history as well as on Japan's lengthy and complex relationship with China..."
Hugh Cortazzi, The Japan Times ONLINE
, (21 October, 2012)
"... A new book, Slurp! A Social and Culinary History of Ramen
by Dr Barak Kushner, who teaches modern Japanese history at Cambridge, both contextualises the soup and hints at some of the reasons behind its global spread. Kushner explains how noodles entered Japan from China and how they evolved in Japanese cuisine in a way that reflected the prevailing feelings of Japan towards its neighbour..."
Tim Hayward, ft.com
, (19 October, 2012)
[ review link
"Those long nights when sleep evades you and the mind runs along less tranquil corridors of the mind, one room repeatedly visited is full of books I should have published. This is one of them. It is most excellent (with a tiny proviso as to price). The history of ramen is a beacon to guide us through an appreciation of change in Japanese taste and cooking; to understand what Japanese food was like a long time ago; to how regional tastes have affected the development of Japanese cooking; to see how war has left its mark on all aspects of the Japanese table; to wonder at the depth of foreign influence on Japanese cooking (where silly old me had thought they were an isolated people). I could go on and on. Mr Kushner writes clearly, thankfully with no jargon, and entertainingly. His illustrations are intriguing, his reading is wide. The book has footnotes. Emphatic recommendation."
Tom Jaine, Petits Propos Culinaires
(PPC 97), (January 2013)
"Ramen has become a ubiquitous presence globally, from chic Japanese Asian noodle restaurants to cheap student sustenance. Historian Kushner (Cambridge) targets the general audience wanting to know more about the noodle dish with Chinese origins that has become a Japanese national food of sorts. Written in an unapologetically pop style, Kushner's work spans premodern origins in China to contemporary Japanese ramen comics, museums, and pop songs. Within that time frame, the author talks about a lot more than ramen. He covers food in general in Japan as a backdrop for politics and the place of ramen within it. Some might criticize his at times wandering too far from the topic, but providing the broad context is part of Kushner's strategy. One part of the context that he ignores is that of gender. Indeed, Japan is a man's world: ramen chefs are almost exclusively men; even ramen consumption is more of a man's activity than that of women, although both slurp their fair share. Rich with tidbits culled from personal experience, Kushner's book is a welcome addition to the bookshelves of those interested in Japan, food, and pop culture. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General, public, and undergraduate libraries."
C. R. Yano, University of Hawai'i, Choice
, v.50, no. 10 (June 2013)
[ review link
INTERVIEW with the author: Where would Japan be without China's culinary contribution?Asia & Japan Watch
[ interview link