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Ivan Ramen

Ideally at this point in your life you understand that ramen isn't just a cheap way to eat your way through college, but a versatile dietary staple that can actually taste incredible. As a middle-aged Jewish man originally from Long Island, Ivan Orkin — now owner of two Tokyo ramen shops and author of Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo's Most Unlikely Noodle Joint ($18) — certainly has a unique perspective on these deceptively simple noodles. His book is part memoir, exploring how he became a culinary entrepreneur and minor celebrity in Japan, and part cookbook, exposing the secrets behind his now-legendary handmade noodles, broth, and toppings. After reading it, you'll have a new-found respect for this incredible food, and an admiration for a man who defied all odds to become who he is today.

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