Monday, March 21, 2005

Oodles of Noodles

This weekend, I had an unexpected craving for Ramen Noodles.

It'd been a number of years since I had Ramen Noodles. My mom used to feed them to my brother and me for weekend lunches when we were kids. We called them "oodles of noodles." I ate Ramen as soup when I was a kid. I got a kick out of pounding on the package with my fist to break up the noodles so they would easily fit in my spoon. I also liked to nibble on the "raw" noodles. After pouring in the season packet, my mom used to let my brother and me lick out the inside of the envelope. The second ingredient in the season packet is MSG. The first is salt. I don't think my mom knew how bad they were for us at the time. I'd like to think I wouldn't server them to my kids (when I have kids). But it's hard to resist the price at $0.16/package!

Then, there was Ramen in college, living in a 10' sqare dorm room with a microwave and an electric tea kettle. How many packs of Ramen we ate in college, I'll never know. In college I learned to eat Ramen as noodles, not soup. The noodles were left whole and eaten with a fork and most of the liquid was drained out. This concentrated the salty MSG flavor.

After college, there was the tight budget, apartment livng years. By this time, I had a better sense of eating healthfully, but it was still hard to pass up the 10 packs of Ramen for $1.00 at the grocery store. My way of eating Ramen had evolved again. Now, Ramen became a combination of soup and noodles and was eaten with both a fork and a spoon. The noodles brick was broken in half so that the noodles were still long and curly, but a little easier to eat in the salty broth. I tried to develop a system when eating Ramen this way, but it was always difficult. Should I eat the noodles then sip the broth? Or should I sip the broth, then eat the noodles. Or alternate? I also remember a friend serving a vegetable stir fry for dinner that consisted of Ramen noodles, vegetables, and beer. I remember it being really good, too.

I gave into my craving and bought two packages of chicken mushroom Ramen yesterday. We ate them for lunch and enjoyed the guilty pleasure of steaming saturated fat, sodium, and chemicals. Then, for dinner, I made a virtually fat free (save for some extra virgin olive oil) vegetable soup that contained fresh leeks, spinach, and zucchini along with chick peas and tomatoes. I redeemed myself.


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