Uncommon Ramen

Why are ramen noodles so addictive?

If you were ever depleted of funds as a college student or just short of cash at any time in your life, ramen noodles were probably your food of choice.  Undoubtedly, at under a dollar a package, they’re the cheapest meal around.  It’s likely you could find enough change on the street to pay for it.  Even those not in dire straits go for ramen noodles occasionally, and if you’re one particular teenaged girl in Britain, you had nothing (and I mean nothing) but ramen noodles for the last 13 years.

I may not have the same ramen noodle addiction as that British girl, but I have to admit that I sometimes have a craving for those inexpensive carbs.  Sure, they’re not exactly low in fat and calories and the sodium level is kinda high.  Nevertheless, those long squiggly, squishy noodles swimming in a succulent broth just tantalizes the taste buds, with flavors ranging from the conservative Chicken and Beef to the more adventurous (and not politically correct) Oriental and Lime Chili Shrimp.

And if you’re bored by traditional ramen despite the numerous flavors, there are plenty of recipes out there that take some creative spins on the old standard.  Martha Stewart is among celebrity chefs who pay homage to the budget cuisine, concocting such dishes as Ramen Noodle Upgrade, Ramen Soup with Vegetables, and the oh so chic-sounding Beef Satay with Peanut-Ginger Ramen.  There’s definitely more than one way to serve up ramen.

So what makes countless people addicted to the simple, preprocessed Japanese soup?  Comfort.  Like hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches, ramen noodles are an economical comfort food that just make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, taking you back to those times when things weren’t so complicated and stressful, when your mom’s or dad’s kiss on the forehead seemed to make everything better.  Why can’t we have more kisses on the forehead, even as adults?

Why, indeed.

ramen-noodles


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