Friday, July 14, 2006

The sterling glint of the seasoning packet

Sitting at my desk all day, waiting for Celebrity Death Beeper to send me word of the latest in, well, dead celebrities, I've become accustomed to the day-to-day deterioration of my spirit, but today, the flesh is suffering as well. Thanks to a rope-a-dope of credit card debt, student loans, and the general assfuckery that is my rent, my meager income is spread pretty thin, not so much like spreading butter over too much bread, but more like spreading butter over ...I don't know, a continent. Fuck similes, I'm always broke.

Aaaaanyways, to make up for money hemorrhaged on a daily basis, I'm pretty good at reining in my food costs to a bare minimum, whether it be by taking advantage of Omaha Steaks' delicious discount barnyard animals, or by my daily lunch routine, which involves adding hot water to ramen bought in bulk. At 99 cents for six packages, there is no better deal in this world. If you had told six year-old Rubber that one day the tooth she was putting under her pillow would feed her for a week...well, Reaganomics being what they were, that wasn't such a hot deal in 1985, nor did the specifics of a market economy really bowl me over back then. But nowadays, it just tickles me pink.

When science allows for a menage a trois with Kraft Mac & Cheese, I will make you a very happy prepackaged dehydrated noodle.

The aforementioned spirit-deterioration pretty much ensures that lunch is taken at the same time every day, a predetermined time that divides the day into chunks designed to minimize the damage done to my soul, so I've become a bit of a fixture in the kitchen; I'd like to think the site of me hydrating my noodles is comforting to others, like the rising of the sun. Recently, a new man joined my workspace (around the same time that Hated New Guy departed for sunnier, and more importantly, other, shores), a middle-aged bald Asian man with a precarous grasp on the language, and a habit of being polite that makes even the least cynical of New Yorkers wary. After a month of ramen making and kitchen encounter, this exchange took place:

Bald Asian Man: You make noodles every day.
RB: Yep. They're good. And cheap.
BAM: They are bad for you.
RB: Probably. But they are cheap. And good.
BAM: I used to make in college all the time.
RB: Me too. They were so good. And cheap.

I'm not against a little stranger-on-stranger conversation, and I'd like to think that I got my point across to even the ESLest of people; money is indeed an object, and mostly, I just really like the taste of ramen. Every day, I look forward to eating them, and in my 20 years of eating them (the Mother's not exactly an epicurean), I have never grown tired of them. I'm like a goldfish, albeit one that meets 400% of its daily recommended sodium allowance.

8 g of Trinitrotoluene? I don't want to be a prude or anything...

Today, as I sat at my desk, mourning Red Buttons, BAM approached and offered me a small package of beef ramen, the hardcore Chinese kind that wouldn't be caught dead in packaging with a cartoon of Fu Manchu on it. He said that "it taste better" and I should try it. I thanked him profusely, not having been bought a meal in longer than I care to remember (at least not of the solid variety) and said I would try it.

As lunch hour approached, I took a look at the nutritional information, something I don't often do. 490 calories, 20 g of fat? I'm not a calorie counter by any means (side note- try the deep fried Cadbury Cream Egg, it's a little battered ball of heaven) , but that is some serious, serious shit there. This is three times the levels of my normal ramen. This is Big Mac level calories (side note- try the deep fried Big Mac, re: heaven). This is the kind of stuff that they give to West African children to put weight on their bones. This is so not getting eaten.

I don't want to hurt his feelings, so I can't eat my regular noodles today, but I am sure as hell not putting That Ramen in my body, not unless I can help myself to a steaming bowl of anti-That Ramen afterwards to cancel out the aftereffects. BAM doesn't appear to be leaving his desk anytime soon, and now that I know what fuels him, I don't want to get on his bad side. At this point, it's probably easiest for me to just sit here, waiting for his heart to give out. And so I will, starving, weakening, dying in body and soul until they release me on the Wendy's of the world.

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At July 14, 2006 2:09 PM, Anonymous Your old Asian roommate said...

My god. I am totally that guy who gives people packets of "real" Ramen to replace their packets of noodles that actually have the word "Ramen" on them. Jesus, does everyone just throw them away?? It's really good, I promise! I mean, if Rush Limbaugh didn't die from oxycotin, if Brett Favre can chomp Vicotin like tic tacs, if Kobayashi can chomp 53 and 3/4 hot dogs, what's 3000% more sodium from a beef seasoning packet? Nothing. It's nothing. Eat the noodles. The oil packet is especially yummy.

At July 14, 2006 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ramen noodles, taste the poverty.

At July 15, 2006 7:02 PM, Blogger shirley said...

Oh gawd, does it make me really Asian that I have recipes centered around Ramen? Things like only adding 1/2 the packet of powder and tossing in some blanched broccoli crowns when cooking the noodles?

Meanwhile, who is the "your old asian roomie" person?? I thought I was the only old asian roomie in your life. *frown*

At July 17, 2006 2:09 PM, Blogger Ben said...

First off, celebrity death beeper rocks. It's especially useful since each year I participate in a deadpool. Find it at:

Do you want in next year? $10 to play, see the website for rules.

Second, Omaha Steaks is anything but discount.

Third, I'm very sorry to hear about the departure of hated new guy. Maybe you can change the blog to Asian New Guy. I'm interested in his antics as well.

Fourth, deep fried cadbury eggs and bacon quarter pounders disturb me. Is it necessary to make them WORSE for you? Seriously...

Finally, eat the damned noodles. Once won't kill you. Go home, do some situps, drink some water, and forget it. Just don't get hooked. He probably slipped some crack in there. Sneaky little asians...

At July 18, 2006 4:51 PM, Blogger fuzzymuffin said...

I really want to try a deep fried creme egg now! Is it really better than a normal one?!

And as a student myself; noodles are the way forward

At July 18, 2006 4:51 PM, Blogger fuzzymuffin said...

I really want to try a deep fried creme egg now! Is it really better than a normal one?!

And as a student myself; noodles are the way forward

At July 19, 2006 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That actually looks like Korean noodles (I mean the picture you posted).

At August 02, 2006 4:24 PM, Blogger Kate said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At August 02, 2006 4:26 PM, Blogger Kate said...

There were these amazingly spicy and delicious noodles called Shin Cups that i got addicted to when I did my semester abroad in australia. One drunken night during my Senior fall (after I had returned from Down Under), i go into a bodega in midtown and find none other but the worshipped Shin Cups. I bought 10 of them. My roommate at the time looks at my bags full of Shin Cups and goes, "Why the hell did you buy 10 ramen cups?" and I explained to her that I couldn't find them anywhere in New York, blah blah. She said nothing, but once we got back up to campus, she brought me to the campus supermarket and showed me that there had been a large supply of Shin Cups under my nose the entire time. I won the senior award for Most Water Retained Over The Course Of A Semester.

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At April 26, 2007 9:13 PM, Blogger brainchild said...

OK..Taste the poverty... that was a good line. Why do Koreans have like zillions of types to choose from? Its like a fricking art form. You guys try this recipe... Shin Ramen according to the directions.. with an Egg Mixed in.. top with 10 oz. of Grade A Angus ribeye, sliced and seared in garlic and butter. Don't analyze the cost ratio between the steak and Ramen, and enjoy!


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