Steve Espinola’s Recipe for Ramen with Anchovies

Caution: Certain details are specific to the New York City area. Translate as appropriate.

1) Get off at home subway station after late night gig.

2) Check in with stomach. If hungry in that 2:00-in-the-morning, too-late-for-a-full-meal way, proceed to Korean all-night grocery store.

3) Buy ramen. The large $1.35 kind with kimchee and dehydrated extras packet is best.

4) Also buy anchovies, in small rectangular can. These must be the kind where each anchovy is curled around a caper.* The brand I buy includes the poetic printed advice: “Keep Cool”.

5) Take groceries home. Fill a small pot with about 2 inches of water. While heating up water, check phone messages, then turn on TV. Catch a few minutes of Channel 7’s “Late Night Movie”, which will feature one actor you know, in a movie you’ve never heard of (usually for obvious reasons). Do not get hooked, because the ending is always a disappointment.**

6) While continuing to wait for water to boil, rip open plastic ramen package. Break off small chunk of dry noodles, and eat.

7) Add ramen noodles to boiling water. Add powdered spicy flavor packet and dehydrated extras packet.

8) When ramen is ready, pour noodles into a bowl with as much soup as you like. Open can of anchovies. Fork out all 10 anchovies into noodle bowl, capers intact. Add small amount of leftover anchovy oil for flavor. Mix. As cats are now milling about, threatening to wake roommate with meows, give each a small amount of leftover anchovy bits.

9) Sit on couch in front of TV set. Eat ramen and anchovies.***

10) Optionally, make satisfied “mmmmm” noises. Leave empy bowl on floor, where cats will take turns licking at it.

11) Turn off TV at commercial break. Leave bowl and pot in sink for morning. Brush teeth. Remove clothing. Go to bed.


* By the way, according to my expert friend Ted, they actually coax the anchovy fish to curl themselves around the capers, using reason, before shooting them.

**It used to be that the late night movie would end around 2:30, and it would be followed by ABC’s “World News Now”. This was a fantastic and surreal news show featuring the witty, sassy, attractive, and irreverent Asha Blake (she looked like an Indian Halle Barry), and the nearly-as-wacky Mark Mullen. For filler, they would play videotapes of, say, George Will, cut him off, and then make fun of him! Or they’d read the news while spaceships zoomed around in the background. Thursday nights they had a staff accordion player who performed polkas at Peter Jennings’ desk. Eventually the original writers and producers and anchors and sense of humor left, and now they run it at 4 am, if at all. It’s a real shame.

***Be careful about those splintery anchovy bones. As a child, I had to go to the hospital twice to get anchovy bones out of my throat; I must say, though, that this seems to be more of a problem with anchovies on pizzas which have been overcooked to the point of dryness. These canned, capered anchovies should be delicious and safe. Enjoy!

Steve E.

UPDATE/DISCLAIMER AS OF 12/2000: So far, only two people have reported to me that they actually tried my recipe: My friend Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches, and her mother. They did not like it at all. I’m not sure they followed the essential time-space-TV-cat details, but you may want to take this as a warning. I continue to eat this stuff at least 3 times a month.

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