Confession: I’ve never eaten ramen at college.
Blasphemy, right? Ramen is practically made for midnight snacks and alternatives to dining hall food, but it’s always been a homey comfort food for me.
When I was little, ramen was reserved for Saturday mornings. We’d wake up and eat our ramen (always adding peas, chicken, or egg so it had at least some nutritional value). We ate ramen on sick days, too. It was always a breakfast, never a lunch or dinner. That might seem bizarre to some people, but we often eat spaghetti or Indian curry for breakfast in my household.
I still remember turning ten and going through the rite of passage of learning to make our beloved Japanese-style soup. My older sister, 12 at the time, taught me how to boil the water and soften the noodles. It was bittersweet: she would no longer make it just for me, but now I could make it for both of us.
Since being home, I’ve had two ramen breakfasts. I pan-fry chicken in olive oil and sriracha, boil the noodles, and add vegetables and seasoning. It’s more sophisticated that way, more like a real meal instead of cheap packaged noodles.
Even as my cooking ability has improved and my tastes have changed, ramen will always take me back ten years to sick days and Saturday mornings.