Today, we celebrate Kids’ Day in Poland. Who counts as a kid and who doesn’t is a neverending discussion. My stand: in drawing the line, we should follow the child-like (syn. innocent, natural, simple, spontaneous, trusting) logic rather than the child-ish (syn. foolish, immature, irresponsible, infantile) one, so that you can qualify for celebrations even past your middle school days. Plus, it’s a really great quality in people in my book; I’ll let Andy Warhol do the explaining:
"I didn’t see Snow White until I was forty-five, when I went with Roman Polanski to see it at Lincoln Center. It was probably a good thing that I waited, because I can’t imagine how it could ever be more exciting than it was then. Which gave me the idea that instead of telling kids very early about the mechanics and nothingness of sex, maybe it would be better to suddenly and very excitingly reveal the details to them when they’re forty. […] Then suddenly their life would have new meaning. We should really stay babies for much longer than we do, now that we’re living so much longer."
Because really, most things (except for some movies etc) get boring when you do them for the n-th time. And if you’re not even excited about things like eating a bowl of soup with chopsticks and getting yourself stained with the broth all over (not to mention the satisfaction from finishing the whole thing without cheating with a fork/spoon) at twenty, then what are you going to be excited about in thirty years?
Which brings me to the main issue here: I’ll keep the proper version of ramen for when I’m older. (Is it still ramen if I have it with vegetable broth?) For now, it’ll be the improvised methods and proportions, and a lot of problems in naming my meals. And I’ll keep on making those deeply thought-through, ideological excuses to cover up my laziness, because isn’t that what kids are best at?
Broccoli, Asparagus and Noodles in Miso Broth
(makes 1 large or 2 smaller portions)
½ head broccoli
5 asparagus’ spears, or so
1 serving vegan Asian noodles
1 handful spinach
1 scallion, green part, chopped
1 tsp sesame seeds
For the broth:
1 tbsp miso paste (I used brown rice miso)
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
¼ tsp chili powder
1 cup water, or more, to taste
Cut the broccoli into bite-size florets, the asparagus - into 2cm chunks. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil, add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, until tender but still with some crunch. Or steam them if that’s your thing. Prepare the spinach: wash it in cold water, remove the stems, cut into 1cm stripes. Set aside.
In a second pot, heat up the oil over medium heat. Mince the garlic, fry for 2 minutes, add the miso paste and coriander, fry for another minute or so, cover with the measured water and add the remaining spices. Play around with the balance of spice, and add more water if the flavor is too strong. Let it boil for 5 minutes, lower the heat, add the noodles and leave them to cook for the time indicated on the package.
Then, take out the noodles (a fork will work just fine), place in a large bowl, arrange the cooked vegetables on top, then scatter the stripes of spinach in a thin, even layer, and pour the hot broth over that pile. Finish off with the chopped scallion and sesame seeds.