Commentary by Melinda Houttuin
Generations of college students have slurped Ramen noodles because they are cheap and easy to prepare. Ramen noodles, which was developed in Japan in 1958, came to the United States 24 years later. The product provides one of the cheapest meals around, with a package costing as little as 10 cents. Ramen is also versatile. You can make many different dishes depending upon what you add.
As I sat on my couch one day slurping down my Ramen beef-flavored noodles, I began to wonder how many other students have had to depend on Ramen as a source of food. Do these other Ramen lovers eat it plain, the way it comes in the package, or do they spice it up and take Ramen to a whole new level?
I began my adventure by traveling across campus asking people if they knew what Ramen was and if they had ever had it. Many replied yes, and that they too, at some point, had to rely on the noodles to afford their college education. Several of the students admitted to venturing outside of their comfort zone and attempting brave new concoctions for the popular noodles. Danny O’Brien, a senior at Missouri Valley College, said, “I once tried to make dessert out of Ramen, and the result was a new hit around the dorms.” Danny said his recipe involved a candy bar being put on top of the Ramen and then micro-waved to make chocolate noodles.
Along with the many unique recipes, many that I will be trying out, I also wanted to know how long people had lived off the noodles. The feedback was shocking. Many students had only had to eat Ramen for a few days to get to their next paycheck while one student had lived off Ramen for the entire school year. Jesse Carlson, a junior at Missouri Valley College, said, “I wanted to see how long I could eat Ramen. I was surprised when I made it a whole school year.”
So, how healthy is Ramen. Besides only having 290 calories for the instant pack, it unfortunately has a large amount of sodium and fat content. There are various articles of research online concerning heart disease and other dietary health effects. But nothing will likely stop some from enjoying the instant, cheap noodles. Joseph Crim, a sophomore at Missouri Valley College, said, “Ramen has saved my wallet several times. Will I continue to eat it after college? Probably not, but for now, what’s the harm?”
So, where do you stand on Ramen noodles. Are you an adventurer and try new concoctions, or are you a live-off-the-noodles- to-survive kind of consumer? I personally love my delicious innovations of the “slurpable” noodles and will continue to eat it when the economy has my wallet in a pinch.