The movie Parasite was indeed a winner, but so was the dish served to the ravenous family! Ram-don noodles with steak. Who wouldn't want to give that a go right after seeing the film?
You climb the ladder to the high diving board, hand over hand. All those rungs. Maybe a hundred. Finally, following the kid in front of you, followed by the kid behind, you reach the springy board at the top. You look around. You take a tentative step. Your knees wobble with a life of their own. The moment has come. The choice between the leap of faith or the retreat of shame. Both require a form of bravery.
And such is the metaphor for so many moments in everyone’s life. To stay or to go? To take a chance on marriage or to stay safely single? To accept the job or to stick with the one you know? To jump the bungee? To ride the wave? To ski downhill? To give the speech? To smoke the cigarette? To kiss the boy?
When confronted with anything new or strange, there we are again, up there on the high diving board. And we know that to take the leap is not always the right answer. Not all pools contain water. Decisions must be made. The other kids follow us through life, encouraging us, or egging us on. Or jeering when we choose the safe path. Every decision involves wobbly knees.
So if life is an unrelenting challenge, why does food have to be? Why are the other kids pushing and poking at us to try things weird and strange? Why does food have to be an adventure? Can’t we safely retreat to the comfort of the familiar?
The answer is, of course, you can. You took the chance. You kissed the girl. You got the job. You gave the speech. You deserve the comfort of meat and potatoes. And maybe something green. Never mind all the other kids teasing you about your fear of spices or your reluctance to try raw fish. You get to make your own choices.
Restaurants help us transition from safe to brave if we’ve a mind to go there. Had I not, one time accidentally ordered raw oysters in a restaurant, I would certainly never have discovered that I loved them! And recently at the Sheepshead Bistro, I took the plunge and ordered the Special of the Day, ‘Pork Belly on a bun’. Something with that name could have gone either way, but fortunately, it was extraordinary. Like the crispy edge bits of an old-fashioned pork roast that Mom and her kitchen crew used to keep for themselves, stacked on a bun. Oh baby!
Every successful leap makes up a bit braver. Sometimes it’s a regret, but that’s the nature of risk.
Without the leap, there is always the lingering wonder that, much as you enjoy your safe corner, it isn’t really awfully exciting and maybe there are thrills out there that you’re missing. You see people posting some pretty interesting delights on Facebook or Instagram, and you wonder. But what if I don’t like it? Well, think this through. It’s not whether or not to hop on the Titanic, after all. It’s only dinner.
Curiosity has gotten the better of you. You took the plunge and saw the Academy Award winning movie, Parasite. You’re halfway there. You did the subtitles. And you were lured by the family’s lust for a dish called Steak Ram Don. And you googled it. As did, apparently, half the known world, because it has become a culinary sensation! I had to give it a go. I like steak. I like noodles. It’s not that high a board.
“Ram-Don Recipe from Parasite Movie aka Jjapaguri with Steak
Prep time: 3 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes
1 Package of Chapagetti (Instant Noodles made by Nongshim)
1 Package of Neoguri (Instant Noodles made by Nongshim)
12 oz Sirloin or Ribeye Steak – I vote rib eye!
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Salted Butter
Use a blade tenderizer and push the needles through the whole steak once. (You can skip this step if the steak is tender. You do know how to cook a steak!). Cut into ¾ inch cubes, then season with ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt and ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper. Place 1 Teaspoon of Oil into a cast iron pan or a heavy fry pan and heat on High. When it’s smoking hot, add the steak and let it sear for 1 minute. Add 1 Tablespoon of Salted Butter and continue to brown all sides of the steak for another 2 minutes or until the doneness is to your liking. Remove the steak cubes from the pan and place onto a plate or bowl.
(Start this step while you’re cooking the steak) Fill a pot with 5 Cups of Water. Heat on high until it boils, add the two packets of Vegetable Mix and noodles from both packages. Boil for 3 minutes, stir the noodles so they cook evenly. Reserve ¾ Cup of the cooking water. Drain the noodles in a colander. Pour ¾ Cup of the reserved water back into the pan, turn the heat to medium. Add the Oil packet and the 2 Soup Base Packets, stir well. Once it comes to a boil, add the noodles and stir for 1 Minute so the sauce starts to thicken. Turn off the heat, add the steak and toss to combine, serve immediately. Enjoy!”
Are these ingredients obscure and impossible to find? Not really. I found them at the Superstore in Brockville. It’s basically ramen noodles with good steak.
If you aren’t quite that brave, you can slither back down the ladder and serve Canadian Ramen (Kraft Dinner) with tube steak, and wait until the next time a challenge presents itself - maybe at the movies.