Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jake Richler uses his noodle

It's too easy to make fun of Jacob Richler, but it's also fun, so...

Jake's latest "snob at large" column is about the lowly ramen noodle, which is an ideal jump-off for Richler's favourite sport – twitting the underclasses. He adds an interesting twist this time out, however:
... if you look at the numbers -- last year Nissin's premier product line, Cup O' Noodles, hit aggregate sales of 25 billion -- you know that there are a lot more cheap soup eaters out there than there are university students. The university angle is actually a reflection of journalistic elitism: Generally speaking, university students are the only poor people we know, or at any rate know well enough to be familiar with their eating habits.
See that? In an impressive demonstration of Richlerian ju-jitsu, he undercut an example of journalistic elitism with the use of... journalistic elitism! Jake, who attended my old alma mater, Concordia University (motto: "It's like four more years of high school!"), lets us know that he did not turn into a smug little shit once he got out into the real world, but was insufferable even as an undergrad:
Speaking for myself, I've never been much of a ramen-nosher, and I doubt that I had even heard of it when I attended university. And unlike most people writing on the subject of Mr. Noodle's death, I did not get by on the home-grown equivalent of KD either, because when abjectly broke and faced with that horrible prospect I preferred to resort to small-time crime.
Purse-snatching? Smash-and-grab? Selling weed at the tam tams?
Popping into local private clubs and signing other peoples' names and made up membership numbers on the chit...
"Welcome, sir. If you wouldn't mind signing right here."

"No trouble at all, my good man." (M- o- r- d- e- c-...)

There follows some highly dubious "crimes" supposedly committed by young Jake, most of which probably fall under the category of "wishful thinking." The rest of the column is about discovering the humble ramen noodle on a flight to Hong Kong (in "business class" he does not neglect to mention), and some boilerplate stuff on its history and how it is "supposed" to be prepared.

Richler then recounts his attempt to find some decent noodles here in Toronto by venturing into Chinatown (hankie pressed firmly to nose and mouth). He finds some, though not without being disappointed by the "paucity of choice." And how did he find his meal?

No points for guessing "adequate."


Anonymous said...

I love it when you poke fun at Jake.


ognir.rrats said...

Oh, what a rascally bon vivant old Jacob "born on third, thinks he hit a triple" Richler must have been in his tender years!

nathan said...

Thanks Radmilla. It's a little like shooting koi fish in a barrell, but fun nonetheless.

Backwards Ringo - Jake used to have a column in Hour magazine, one of Mtl's free alt-weekly's, while he was still in Concordia, and he used to brag that he never actually read the magazine (it being for poor students and all). After a certain point, most of his columns were about hanging out sipping scotch with Nick Auf Der Mar, the city councillor and his dad's buddy. This was when he was about 22 or 23...

ognir.rrats said...

That Mordecai sure had some looooong fuckin' coat tails to drag all the kiddies around.

queen B said...

It always makes my day when you take the piss out of Jake. Yes, it's easy, but so is making a cup o' Mr. Noodle.

But I can't help but wonder how Susur Lee manages to find great cheap eats in Toronto, but Jake has such a hard time. I suppose it's hard to smell good cooking with his nose so high in the air?

Tara Orme-Latreille said...

I too was at Concordia at the same time as Jake and while he did sip scotch with Nick Auf Der Mar, we all did because we worked at a restaurant that he hung out at in Old MTL called Au Cepage....don't make something out of nothing....I was only 21.