Noodles are irresistible, easy to cook, and fun to eat - the smart fast food. Their popularity is nothing new. They have been invented and reinvented round the world. The basic mix of flour, water, and salt - with or without egg - is infinitely adaptable. Noodles are made today in factories, restaurants, and artisans' workshops, and you can even make them in your kitchen. No wonder they come in so many varieties! Noodles are much more than their different shapes. When mixed with any kind of sauce or dressing, they take on some of its texture and flavor but keep their own personality. In the author's words, "Noodles have another attraction for me: they are not snobs, they are at ease in any company and are perhaps the most democratic of foods." There will always be new noodle dishes because noodles are a theme on which anyone can improvise. Noodles are culinary jazz. Sri Owen, who has always said she is "a cook first, a writer second," wants everyone to enjoy the music. The dishes she describes here are an extensive and varied collection, including such classics as Singapore Fried Noodles, Pad Thai, Laksa Lemak, and Szechuan Shrimp Chow Mein, as well as more unusual and adventurous delights such as Noodles with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes, Fried Noodles on Portobello Mushrooms, and Quail Stuffed with Noodles and Herbs. When you have cooked your way through this invaluable repertoire of recipes, you will have a thorough grounding in the cooking of noodles and good basic knowledge of how ingredients are used together. You can then continue to "cook by the book" or improvise, confident that the results will be not just easy to prepare, but tasty and nutritious as well.