As a vegetarian who pushes aside all morals in the face of shrimp and salmon, I have found difficulty in eating at college.
I have the incredible privilege to live in a dorm, which is the direct consequence of working as a college RA. Unfortunately, with that comes the meal plan, which I eat away with gallons of carbs coming in all forms.
My favorite is french fries. A second close is stir-fry from our cafeteria.
Because of my decision to be a vegetarian, I have surrounded myself with snack foods. I feast nightly on a pound of noodles and I love it.
Nothing is better than having the diet of a toddler.
I’m sure all of the people in my life love it also. There is nothing better than coming home for a weekend to my mother, who stares me dead in the eyes and tells me I’m on my own as the family tears apart steak in my presence.
I have resorted to two options.
Unfortunately, one is Chuy’s.
It’s a tex-mex place I once despised, but to my surprise, if you put enough cheese on anything, it tastes incredible. Footnote: I am severely lactose intolerant.
They just don’t make Mexican food here like they used to, in my tiny hometown of a thousand. No one knows what good salsa tastes like, no one understands the incredible potential of a quesadilla filled with a pound of rice, beans and shrimp. They don’t think about the ancient practice of drowning food in the same salsa I’ve ate since childhood.
But, I do. And I miss it.
But, I found something else.
No one understands the love I have for ramen. True ramen. Any ramen.
Miso ramen. Vegan ramen. Dry ramen. All ramen.
I once searched the nutritional values of ramen, and then I slammed my computer shut, drove to the nearest restaurant, ordered and asked for extra noodles.
As I ate a week’s worth of sodium, I knew I would be back soon, to slurp and to drink and to stain my shirt.
This love I have for ramen is forever.
I’ve imagined it in every way.
It’s a good date food. It shows someone who you really are, what primal instincts you truly are capable of.
It’s a good eat-by-yourself food, to stare at your phone as the soup greases over the screen.
It’s an incredible take-out, to eat in the comfort of your own home, wearing only a t-shirt with greasy hair.
In what some would describe as morbid, I plan to serve ramen at my funeral, because why not. Why not share with my loved ones the one thing that always made me smile.
I think that’s what’s beautiful about ramen. I want to share it with everyone. I want everyone to smile over a warm bowl and wobble as they walk completely stuffed.
Ramen, mi amor. My beautiful slippery girl. You are my ode, my quiet love, my guiltless pleasure.