Book Reviews: "Ramen Forever: An Artist’s Guide to Ramen"
First thing’s first—I love ramen. Love might not even do my feelings justice: I literally think about ramen as the food option, every single meal. My Tokyo visits equate to ramen served as fast-food, dinner food, friendship bonding-food, breakfast, lunch, airport food and everywhere else in between. I have memories of ramen that probably take up more space in my brain than should be allowable.
So when artist and curator Yarrow Lazer-Smith, AKA Yarrow Slaps, put together Ramen Forever: An Artist’s Guide to Ramen, it made perfect sense. There is a ritual with eating ramen that suffuses culture but there is also the unique appeal of being liked by everyone. Slaps is onto something with this “avant-garde cookbook,” which he affectionately calls, “An illustrated love letter to Ramen.” Featuring cover art by Kristen Liu-Wong and a collection of stories, illustrations and recipes from Slaps’ friends and fellow artists, it’s also a diary of his own edible experiences, describing memorable meals and conversations with top ramen chefs from around the world. As an art book, it’s a sensory vision. As a cookbook, it offers more than food for thought. When Slaps refers to his adventure as, “The rabbit hole of ramen,” you get the sense that what started off as an eclectic look at his favorite nosh became something richer and more comprehensive. In over 300+ pages, Ramen Forever won’t just make you pine for a barstool in a ramen shop, it will also leave you thinking about the special relationship between food and art cultures, the art of the cookbook, and the obsessions we have with each. —Evan Pricco
SWIM Gallery, ramenforever.com