Several weeks ago, I received a mysterious box filled with ramen in the mail.
Rereading that sentence, I’m currently questioning my common sense in pursuing said ramen. The package came with a letter welcoming me back to school and encouraging me to try one of three unique flavors next time I felt peckish: Soy Ginger, Spicy Chicken, or Spring Vegetable. For some, this might illicit reactions like, “yum!” or “How the hell do they know that I love ramen?” For me, rather than hunger pains, it inspired curiosity and suspicion.
Before today, I had never tried ramen. Some might call this an inexcusable offense for a senior in college. I blame it on the fact that my mother, a dietitian, drilled into me the dangers of high sodium counts from the age of four and that packaged ramen looks like the fake brains from Halloween carnivals at my elementary school.
Regardless, I devoted today’s lunch to Spring Vegetable Ramen, the only vegetarian option of the three. I heated up the water and opened the noodle package. I poured the hot water over the noodles—a step that is supposed to “loosen them up.” Then I poured the warm water out and filled the bowl with room temperature water, which felt oddly like taking care of a gold fish. Before putting it in the microwave, I squirted in the gooey flavor packet and stirred. This was the point when I started dreaming of energy bars, or any lunch that is not ramen. I then loosely covered my brainy creation and put it in the microwave for 90 seconds and prayed/waited.
I put the bowl down on the kitchen table in front of me and stood there staring down at it. It smelled and looked worse than when I first placed it in the microwave. Taking a tentative spoonful, I considered how long it would take to run to the sink to spit it out. I really can’t stress how terrible this stuff looked—all clumpy and brothy.
I have to say, it wasn’t terrible. The noodles had a nice feel to them and the broth didn’t taste like salad dressing as I had imagined. I felt kind of bad for how little credit I had given this pitiful salty microwave creation and was reminded of that weird Yeasayer music video with the sick blob-like creature. In spite of this new found sympathy, I threw the rest out after two more bites.
I think I’ll refrain from hashtagging this ramen in my next tweet, as the company suggested, but if you want some free ramen, feel free to email me!