Ramen Will Save You

I loathe grocery shopping and therefore make my trips to the market quick, much like the preferred method of Band-Aid removal. As I was walk-running past the “ethnic foods” aisle the other day, I saw ramen noodles on sale 10 for a dollar instead of their normal 5 for a dollar. College student budget instincts die hard, and I almost tripped my daughter when I did a little half-stop turny thing before thinking better of it (I have eaten entirely too much ramen in my life, I don’t care how on sale it is).

Seeing the cheaper-than-the-crap-they’re-made-of noodles made me nostalgic for my college days and how different my relationship with food and the shopping for it was when I was a no-family-having girl. Grocery shopping was irregular, spotty, mismatched (who buys only mangoes, Honey Smacks, coffee and brie?), and rarely represented all the food groups. It was also way more fun.

I only had to shop for me, first of all. I was in class all day and then I’d be studying or procrastinating all evening. Around midnight or two in the morning, after too much thinking and caffeine consumption, I’d be all zippy and sproingy and it would suddenly be the perfect time to go grocery shopping.

Single-girl shopping excursions in the middle of the night are so much more enjoyable than mommy shopping excursions with cranky toddlers half an hour past nap time. In the wee hours of the morning there are only a few other delirious (either chemically-altered, of reclusive tendencies, or hopped-up on caffeine like me) shoppers wandering the aisles along with the employees re-stocking the shelves.

It was lovely to meander my way through the store, looking at everything and basing my buying decisions solely on (a) what sounded good right then, (b) what fit into my food budget (sort of), and (c) how cringe-y would my mom get if she saw me buying it (my mother’s house was free of sugar, television and any processed or fried foods). After blowing my food money on French cheese and tropical fruit, I’d be down to ramen, tofu and frozen peas for the rest of the month.

I had to aggregate my own ramen recipes, prices and brand comparisons. Nowadays, there are books and blogs devoted to the MSG-laced perfection that is ramen:

Books:

101 Things To Do With Ramen Noodles

The Book of Ramen: Lowcost Gourmet Meals Using Instant Ramen Noodles

The Top Ramen Noodle Cookbook

Everybody Loves Ramen: Recipes, Stories, Games and Fun Facts About the Noodles You Love

Blogs:

The Official Ramen Homepage

The Ramen Blog

Ramen Haiku

Journey Into the World of Ramen

And if you’ve had enough fried noodle bricks to last a lifetime, there’s the twenty-something guide to never having to eat ramen again: No More Ramen.

Posted by Alexa Harrington

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