Who Gave Me This!?

People often give me food. Some people give a bottle of truffle oil or some special salt as a thoughtful gift. Other people, usually family, will drop off cakes or leftovers from parties or wilty vegetables as they attempt to clear out their fridge and lighten their own load. “I brought you some food!” they’ll say. Still others will bring us food when they go on vacation or discover their child is gluten intolerant.

Sea Tangle kelp noodles

Sometimes the “gifts” are useful, sometimes they are not.

I hate to waste anything. I used to feel guilt throwing away unwanted food gifts, and then I would feel resentment toward whomever gave them to me for not having the courage to throw away their own food. I don’t feel that anymore. If my sister gives me a bruised, squishy avocado, into the composter it goes.

Recently someone gave us some food, and I can’t recall who. But among whatever they gave us was a bag of kelp noodles. “That looks disgusting,” I remember saying. “I’m sure you can figure out something fun to do with them,” whoever it was replied. I’m always game to try something new, and I typically like seaweed-related foods, especially if I’m cooking Asian. So I thought it might be an interesting challenge to decide what to do with the kelp noodles.

I had a plan — I just happened to be preparing Japanese food, and was going to be broiling some black cod. So I would make an Asian-style noodle with ginger, cilantro, peanuts and fish sauce, upon which to serve the fish.

And then I tasted the raw noodles.

I should’ve suspected trouble from the brand name — Sea Tangle. The second clue this might not end well came as I tried to take the noodles from the package. It was indeed a tangle. And the more I pulled on the “noodles” trying to get them out, the longer they stretched, like briny rubber bands. The entire mess was, actually, very much like one of the tangles of kelp you find when you’re walking along the beach — minus the little flies.

And now, without further digression, back to the “taste.” In addition to being “mineral-rich,” “low in carbs,” and “free of all allergens,” the packaging promised “Neutral taste,” which I’ve never seen as a benefit bullet point before. Indeed, the crunchy strings at first had no taste. But the longer you chewed — and chewed and chewed — the more your tastebuds detected a vaguely paste-like, chemical aftertaste. Not at all what you would expect of a natural raw food product. But then again, I’m a fan of cooking.

I spit the wad of chewed up raw kelp noodle food into the trash. My black cod I served on a bed of hastily pickled cucumber.

My vegan, gluten-free, raw-food fanatic friends might say I never gave the Sea Tangle noodles a chance. Perhaps they are right — maybe had I floated the noodles in a lemongrassy coconutty Thai broth, they would’ve been delicious. Maybe if I’d only stir fried them with peanuts and shrimp and fish sauce, they’d have been liberated from their stringy, pasty flavorlessness and sung. Maybe.

My only question remains…

Who gave me this!???

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Gaskin
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 02:34:11

    I have some indescribable sauce in a bag from Kyoko that I’ve been meaning to give you 😉 Looks like a puree of Sea Tangle 😉


  2. Andy
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 03:00:47



  3. Mom
    Aug 17, 2012 @ 03:02:52

    Who cares if you could have ‘saved’ them . Life is short, and shorter and shorter and ingredients are infinite. Go for the heart warmers.


  4. Allison
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 17:12:12

    Haha, I think I’ve actually (intentionally) bought this product before (at Whole Foods maybe?)! And I prepared it like a spicy cold Korean noodle dish with sesame oil, rice vinegar, chili powder, etc., and some vegetables. It was fine (I don’t remember the tangly-ness!), but it would have been much better with Korean dangmyon noodles that are typically used for that kind of thing.

    Meanwhile, I suspect these noodles might have dissolved or gotten mushy in that otherwise delicious-sounding lemongrassy coconutty Thai broth you mentioned, so I’m with you on just skipping it!


    • scolgin
      Aug 20, 2012 @ 17:18:35

      Well, yeah… you put all THAT stuff on it and styrofoam packing peanuts would taste good! LOL It would’ve tasted better if they’d just skipped all the hassle of turning the seaweed into noodles and just left it seaweed. And now, I want to hear more about your spicy Korean noodle dish! (With the dangmyon noodles, pleasssssee…)


      • Allison
        Aug 20, 2012 @ 18:01:24

        You make a good point! And yeah, seaweed is nice on its own, without turning it into noodles.

        I’m already getting a different Korean side dish post ready, but I’ll try to post some kind of chilled dangmyon noodle dish soon! (They’re the same kind of sweet potato noodles that are used in japchae.)

      • scolgin
        Aug 20, 2012 @ 18:29:26

        I’ll eat whatever you post. 🙂

  5. Allison
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 19:34:39

    Deal 🙂


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