Written by Ilona Ronay
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Topics: Food, New York

Thursday, 17 June 2004

Crispy pan-fried noodle cake--the delicious and easy-to-make Cantonese dish described by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman in his weekly column--has been found to be useful in two new venues: to control bleeding during various cardiac and gastroenterological surgical procedures, and in hair transplantation prcedures.

Jane Brody, in her weekly science column, noted that surgeons at Columbia University Medical School had used a portion of a leftover noodle cake during emergency liver surgery on an elderly man whose liver was ravaged by many years of alcohol abuse. "We found the noodle cake to be as or more effective than more commonly used surgical sealants to stop oozing and bleeding if--and this is a big if--good-quality soy sauce was used in the preparation," explained the resident who performed the emergency operation. "It has been well-known for many years that soy sauce has incredible clotting properties, but that's only true for the real kind. If the noodle cake contains an inferior supermarket brand, then forget it." The patient is said to be recuperating nicely but is constantly complaining of being hungry an hour after he has eaten and only wants to drink kirin beer or rice wine.

In addition, men wanting hair that is light brown and wiry, smells good, and doesn't get that dry, fly-away static-y feeling now ask for crispy pan-fried noodle cake to be affixed to their scalps during hair transplantation procedures. "After the transplant, my girlfriend just couldn't stop kissing me," said one man. "Even though I get a little tired of being doused with duck sauce and hot mustard, I think it was worth it."

In a departure from the recipe, which calls for thin spaghetti, crispy pan-fried noodle cake that is cooked specifically to be used in hair transplantation procedures utilizes fusilli or gemelli. "Most guys don't want a spaghetti-length head of hair," said one doctor who performs transplants. "I find that fusilli length is long enough--it adds a touch of messy, devil-may-care insouciance without screaming 1970s and Woodstock."

Mr. Bittman was unavailable for comment, although sources close to him said he was glad people were reading his weekly column.

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