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Sack Lunch: Cold Sesame Noodles

I don’t think I had ever heard about sesame noodles before I came to New York City. Maybe they were on the Chinese menus in Houston and my family was too excited about egg rolls, spare ribs, fried rice, General Tso, and beef with broccoli to notice. Maybe they were put in front of me several times and my childish disdain for cold noodles of any kind led me to turn up my nose. But in my adult life I somehow became aware that a delicious and highly craveable dish had slipped past me, and my interest was duly piqued.

After trying a couple of dud recipes, I found one that I like in The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. That might not seem the likeliest source for an excellent sesame noodle recipe, so please speak up if this looks wrong to you. This is one of the rare cases where I do not have a specific memory or Platonic taste ideal guiding my experience of a home-cooked dish (which is nice sometimes, because you get to enjoy what you’ve prepared for what it is rather than despair over what it is not). Cold sesame noodles make a great lunch on a hot day and are also good to take on car, train, or plane trips.

Last year Ed linked to Sam Sifton’s much better informed and memory-laden recipe in The New York Times Magazine, and a few months ago Smitten Kitchen gave us sesame noodles the way she likes them. Now that I’m on the bandwagon, I’d like to try both of these recipes, too.

About the author: Robin Bellinger recently escaped a career in book publishing, which was cutting into her cooking time. Now she's a freelance editor and can bake bread on Tuesday afternoon if she feels like it. She lives in Midtown Manhattan with her husband and blogs about cooking and crafting at home*economics.

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