Bowing down to the demon ramen and other collegiate culinary indignities and delights
September 10th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: this is a part of FN Dish's Back to School Communal Table. Follow #pullupachair on Twitter and see other contributions below.

Sometimes, late in the night, the craving comes to me. I fight it, as I must, for the sake of decency and taste and everything I have strived for as a grown-up human being. I cannot...I will not...I must not...pour bottled Zesty Italian salad dressing over a heap of drained ramen noodles and slurp down the whole hot, harsh mess hunched over the kitchen counter in my bare feet. Even though (as I recall) it would be freaking delicious.

I swore an oath as art school ended - my best friend and I vowing in a low-rent, modern-day Scarlett O'Hara sort of way that we'd never again sustain ourselves on $.25 noodle packets, generic mac & cheese, off-label dried soup packets, past-their-sell-by-date baked goods and the other cheap but filling foodstuffs that have sustained broke students since the dawn of time (or at least the invention of the microwave). "Bowing down to the demon ramen," she called it. I nodded and agreed - she'd just always known better about grown-up things like that - but that didn't stop the pangs.

A few of my other college favorites:

– Boxed spaghetti with margarine (seriously - who could afford butter?), black pepper, curry powder and as much shake-on Parmesan cheese as I could spirit out of the pizza place in a napkin

– Boxed macaroni & cheese made with either the margarine or the milk (buying both at once wasn't in the cards most weeks) and as many mustard packets as I could get my paint-stained paws on

– Salad bar vegetables stir fried with peanut butter, duck sauce packets, white rice and an egg in my electric wok

– Baked potatoes with globs of cheap hot sauce or barbecue sauce mashed in with a fork

I'm ostensibly a grown-up lady now, one with actual metal silverware that didn't come as a supermarket giveaway, wedding china, cups not acquired at ballgames and fast food restaurants, and I swear I haven't hoarded condiment packets for at least a decade. But I can't say I'm not physically restraining myself from running down to the dollar store, nabbing the cheapest brick and bottle I can find, and shame-eating the whole concoction with the blinds down.

Let me know I'm not alone - post your favorite college food concoction in the comments below and we'll share them in an upcoming post.

I...have an errand to run...

P.S. Yes - ramen can be extremely fantastic, artistic and artisanal. I just didn't know that in college. Here are a few ways our iReporters like to get their ramen on.

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  1. peace9882

    I dated a chef last year and one of the best things he made me was fried chicken with Ramen. Popeyes or Browns or KFC. Take the crispy skin off. Take the meat off the bone. Fry both, togther, in a skillet. Cook your Ramen noodles in a pot of water, with the spice packet. Drain the noodles, add the chicken. YUM!

    September 11, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  2. J.D>


    AND not all college students live like this. When I was at the University of Georgia I gorged myself on buffet style food at the Universities dining halls (76+ medals for food service and quality and counting!) that was available 24/7 (except holidays and breaks) that included such things as fresh made omelletes (made in front of you with your choice of toppings), fresh smoothies made to order, burgers and chicken sandwiches cooked in front of you and yes.... ahh I remember it well... the midnight pizza runs to Snelling Dining Commons... Yeah.. I ate like a king.

    September 11, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • R.

      I remember Snelling, that was such a great place to eat!
      I lived in O-House my last year on campus, I would look out the window and see how bad the lines were on Sunday.

      September 11, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  3. WWRRD

    Yes , You could live pretty cheap. Ramen noodles, Cheap turkey or chicken hot dogs, eggs, pasta, Mac n Cheese, We used to stop at Roy Rogers. You could make a mean salad at their fixin's bar.

    September 11, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  4. Clemmer

    College, late 70's. "Cuse!!! Who remembers BK? Buy a whopper, get one free (on M Street) instead of ordering the meal. The fries were a hard give up. Or Wendys with the fixins bar (free salad). No dollar menu back then but still cheap And who can forget a case of "Genny Cream for under 5 bucks!

    September 11, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  5. F. Schrodinger

    These culinary delights are a right of passage into adulthood for most Americans. One which Mitt never knew. That silver spoon deleted the taste of ramen and mac & cheese.

    September 11, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  6. Jason

    It's a sin when our kids have to eat bad food like this when our governments waste billions of tax payers dollars on foolishness. Wouldn't some of the money be better spent providing education for our kids????

    September 11, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • Mr. C

      where do you think most financial aid, scholarship and grant money comes from?

      September 11, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Clemmer

      Go home! if you want to get political, hit the tab at the top of the page

      September 11, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • VladT

      I say its a sin to make me pay for your kids so they won't have to learn...
      1) how to budget
      2) how to be creative with limited ingredients.

      I swear, some of my old college roomies and I could give those chefs on "Chopped" a run for their money

      September 11, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • JC

      Any kind of stringy pasta (linguini worked awesomely, spaghetti, etc.)
      Boiled Eggs cut into small pieces
      Boil the pasta then toss the other ingredients in....YUMMY (even thought it seems disgusting)!
      Sometimes we even threw in a little cheese (yellow)!

      September 11, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  7. Sam

    Instant mashed potatoes mixed with generic Stove Top-like stuffing, then eaten as a sandwich with bread and butter. Sure it was a carb load, but it was awesome after bar. For those UW-Madison, Uncle Jim's pizza–$5 for a 16-inch one-topping pizza. And unlike similar deals from Dominoe's, Hut, etc., it was good pizza.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  8. whinewithmycheese

    I went to college in the early 70s when you could get kraft macaroni & cheese 4 boxes for $1.00. About the only veggie we lived on was coleslaw from the deli which was cheap back then. We had a vending machine that had candy bars for a dime. The machine would empty of all the good ones as soon as it was filled. We had to hide our hot pots and electric cooking plates because they were not allowed. If too many people "cooked" at once the dorm would blow a fuse and they would search our rooms. Never heard of ramen noodles back then.

    September 11, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  9. Danielle

    Ramen Noodles + Peanut Butter + Hot Sauce = Grad Student Pad Thai....

    September 11, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • britleeann

      That's Bad Thai :)

      September 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  10. betty

    macaroni with a can of stewed tomatoes, salt & pepper.
    Bologna sandwiches
    Kraft dinner (Canada's version of mac and cheese) with the flavour packet mixed in with margarine and a bit of water
    ramen noodles of course

    September 11, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  11. Lily

    I'm guessing Momo Fuku is overated?

    September 11, 2012 at 5:46 am |
  12. MOCaseA

    One of my Personal Favorites:

    Boxed Mashed Potatoes
    Canned Corn or Mixed Vegetables
    "Tubed" Ground Beef
    A packet of Brown Gravy Mix
    Minced Garlic

    In a 10" frying pan brown Ground beef. Drain grease. Add Garlic, 1 cup of water and Gravy Packet. Heal to boiling, then reduce an simmer. In a 2 quart saucepan make 2 servings of mashed potatoes. Heat canned vegetable in whatever manner you normally would.

    In a 1 qt bowl fill until roughly 1/2 full of mashed potatoes. Add drained vegetables until roughly half the remaining space is filled. In remaining space add ground beef and gravy mix until bowl is full. Add a thin layer of mashed potatoes to the top and put in a pre-heated oven (300 degrees F) for 5 minutes.

    I call it "Po'Boy Shepherds Pie"
    Serves: 2
    Cost: ~$6

    September 11, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • MOCaseA

      Oh yeah, I forgot. Add pepper to everything above when heating/cooking them

      September 11, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Jerv

      Actually sounds good to me. Thanks for sharing.

      September 11, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  13. Jonathan

    I knew of the mass consumption of ramen while I was in college but, I didn't partake in it. Some people even had to go to the hospital from eating so much of it! I ate pretty good at OSU though, I gained my "freshman 15" to prove it;) But now, there's a better way... MYUNLIMITEDFUNDS.COM...Say no to ramen once and for all! :)

    September 11, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  14. Amelia

    Ramen noodles (minus the flavor packet) cooked in cream of mushroom soup piled on top of toast!!!! I still enjoy ramen noodles, I didn't realize when you "grew up" you had to spend top dollar to enjoy the taste of food....smh

    September 11, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Sun

      I'm a chef, own a bakery, and no you don't have to "grow up"! I still use Ramen, minus the salt packet. It is a good basic pasta and can be made into a good meal for little $. Inexpensive food doesn't have to suck, Julia Childs loved mayo and lettuce sandwiches on white Wonderbread.

      September 11, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  15. StillLikeSpaghetti

    When I was in grad school I developed my own spaghetti sauce recipe. Every few months I made a large crockpot full, using canned tomatoes and tomato sauce from the dented can store, ground beef and onions bought from which ever of the three grocery stores nearby had them the cheapest (getting ingredients at different stores if necessary), and eaten with noodles also from the dented can store. Since I'm a small person, that gallon or so of sauce lasted me for months (frozen in small containers). Then I'd make another batch and continue the cycle. You'd think I'd be really sick of spaghetti by now, but decades later, recipe slightly tweaked over the years, it's still my staple. I don't "need" to eat so cheaply any more, but I really like it, it's fairly healthy the way I make it, and a big crockpot full still lasts me months in the freezer. Why mess with a good thing?

    September 11, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  16. IUjock1974

    I enjoyed the liquid beverage diet during my 5 years of undergrad!

    September 11, 2012 at 3:33 am |
  17. Broke Student Now

    I'm in college right now and have been living on cup-o-noodles. You put water in them, let them "cook", dump the entire container (soupy part included) into a sauce pan and simmer the soup away. Add a tiny bit of butter/margirine and some ketchup. Sooo good even though I'm getting tired of eating them.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  18. Joey S

    Lets face it, we are living in a new era and its time for us to accept the fact that this economy is NOT going to rebound easily for a long time. Sooner you accept the better off you are.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:43 am |
  19. Will

    When I lived in a dorm that didn't allow microwaves or other cooking appliances in the rooms, I used my iron as a griddle (I certainly never ironed with it).

    For a grilled cheese sandwich, just assemble the sandwich as normal, butter the outsides of the bread, wrap in foil, and iron it on the high setting. To reheat a slice of pizza, just upend the iron, cover it in foil, heat it, and lay on a slice of pizza - the shape of the iron clearly shows it was designed to reheat pizza by the slice.

    September 11, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  20. pleasedotell

    I'll give up Ramen when America gives up fast food.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  21. tresorsdelavie

    This is my college food blog! All entrees are less than $8!
    Check it out! :)

    September 11, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  22. jdoe

    I used to know a guy who ate cereal with water. He didn't have milk so he just poured in water instead.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  23. WSU_Cougar

    Huge treat when I could afford it: half a package of jello (strawberry and lime were favorites) mixed with a couple cups of ice and turned into a slushy in a blender. A staple was generic mac & cheese (yes, the white boxes with black lettering) made with milk, or water when I did not have milk, and seasoned with Ketchup. If I had some cumin to toss in that was a huge plus.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  24. Johnny Orlando

    I go to college and I wouldn't eat this junk unless I was really really high.

    September 11, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • MOCaseA

      So you eat it 5-10 times a day then?

      September 11, 2012 at 5:30 am |
  25. lance corporal

    rice and beans in bulk plus trips to the local farmers market for veggies and fruit, you will not only live cheaply but well, oh and if your near water add in doing some fishing, I went to college in FL and this worked out very well for me

    now I love good noodles but the boxed ramen things ain't it and what radioactive tripe is in those packets anyway? scary! people in college are adults and should eat like it, if your eating boxed ramen then your parents forgot to teach you something before they sent you off

    September 11, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Robert

      We can all safely assume you didn't complete college if you aren't even capable of knowing the difference between "your" and "you're" at this point.

      September 11, 2012 at 1:07 am |
      • Kevin


        September 11, 2012 at 1:41 am |
      • education

        English Comp 101

        September 11, 2012 at 2:07 am |
      • charles

        With what colleges get away with charging students nowadays, and for what little they get away with actually having to teach, I wouldn't be surprised if he's a grad. Also wouldn't be surprised if the declining skills of each year of new grads is a big reason why so many are out of work.

        September 11, 2012 at 2:41 am |
  26. Texan in Havana

    2008-vacationing a Cuba. No beef in Cuba. Stale fish, stale lobster. Paid $1.25 for ramen packet that had expired over 1 yr earlier. Probably donated by Red Cross or US church. Added seasoning packet to heated bottled water for beef bullion. Hungry yes. But still couldn't eat the noodles. Lived on fresh fruit. I kissed the asphalt @ DFW Airport when we returned. Seriously.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  27. peninsula p

    Check out the cookbook, "THE BOOK OF RAMEN". It's one of my favorites. My nearly grown kids think all stir-fry dishes come with crunchy crushed Ramen noodles...

    September 11, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  28. ka

    One can strategize the value meal with 'value' food such as kale, bean salad, from soup bean, dandelion green.
    Education on food is the key. Stay away from the cheap process stuff as you will pay for that later.
    Repurposing leftover works great too.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  29. MUWarrior

    For an entire year, my roommate and I lived the high life re-printing $1 Whopper or Classic Chicken sandwich coupons until the local Burger King manager decided he had enough. That was 15 years ago and I have not been to a BK since then.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Jerv

      LM AO! Too funny!

      September 11, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  30. bill

    For those who have a slightly more indulgent budget, or is at least smart enough to save money on fast food and eating out, try this awesome college recipe for generic mac and cheese:

    substitute the milk with coconut milk, original is good, but I prefer the vanilla.

    Real butter is ideal but margarine is acceptable

    If you like coconut the taste is out of this world. A mac and cheese delight that taste like Mounds, or Alond Joy was ground up and mixed in!.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  31. Shawna

    As an adult woman, I still enjoy ramen noodles. But not as much as my husband who survived on them in college and still eats ramen to this very day as a pre-dinner snack. In fact he recently invented a product called Rapid Ramen which is a square shaped bowl that allows you to make perfect ramen noodles in the microwave. Apparently there is a huge market, because he is selling Rapid Ramen online and in Walmart stores coming this November, 2012. He loves he's helping everyone else love them even more!

    September 11, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  32. quesa-dillah

    my roommate and I would spend our money at the bar and have none left for late nigh tacos. We would microwave cheese between two tortillas (35c at the mexican grocery store) and voila! quesadilla. we once overcooked it bc the "reheat" setting broke and that was a hot mess...

    September 11, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  33. itsjustme

    Ketchup, mustard or mayo on white bread !!!

    Anybody ever have these???

    You don't have to be a kiddo or a poor college kid to love ketchup, mustard or mayo sandwiches!

    Ditto baked potatoes with ketchup.:)

    September 11, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Catherine

      I love peanut butter, ketchup and bacon sandwiches.

      One of my guilty pleasure meals is a box of KD but instead of adding milk & margarine, pour a generous dollop of pasta sauce (from a jar) and mix up the cheese powder with that.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  34. Merrik

    .69 bag of noodles, .35 can tomato sauce (only 1/2 of course) 1 celery stick and one bouillon cube DINNER!

    September 11, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  35. Lara

    If I legitimately had no time, I ate ramen noddles minus flavor packet, with snow peas and mushrooms added in. And maybe lemon.

    Tuna. You can make so much stuff with tuna. Sure, not the tastiest thing ever, but consider how much protein is packed into that 50 cent can of fish.

    Fruits. Lots of fruits. Mango for breakfast, banana and plum for lunch, that sort of thing. Fruits can be surprisingly cheap if you buy in season, or buy the ripe ones on sale if you plan on eating them right away.

    Rice. Rice and beans are freaking cheap and filling.

    The dorm building had one stove for 4 floors, and I had to buy my own cookingware from goodwill, but at least I wasn't malnourished. People make such a big deal out of being a "poor" college kid, but you know, I was once an art student too, and I too had to buy 300 dollars worth of cutting tools, paints, brushes and paper every semester, and I still treated my body decently. Any extra money I had went towards savings for next year, or food. Your food, the stuff you use to maintain your body, is the LAST thing you should cut back on.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  36. The_Desert_Fox

    ramen noodles and pancake syrup, awesome hot mess of cheap carbs and delicious sweet corn syrup.
    later, you can use the chicken/beef ramen favoring packet for a rainy day cup of yummy hot water soup.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  37. Ca Ed

    SPAM and crackers lifted off the soup station.
    Once opened, SPAM could last a couple of weeks if kept cold; once it starts moving on its own, cube it up and put in Ramen, eggs, salads and soup cups.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  38. A.W. Stuart

    Little do most readers know, the author PAINTED that huge closeup of ramen noodles! (It was easy because she eats so many, given the major of her illustrious degree.)

    September 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • K Ferguson

      mean-spirited and ignorant comment

      September 11, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Well, I actually do work here at CNN, so I guess it all turned out okay.

      September 11, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  39. Bean

    10 cent wing night at Granny's Attic (in Flagstaff, AZ) with a glass of water and "lots of lemons". When the waitress left we'd mash the lemons with a spoon and add a couple of sugar packets. Voila! Lemonade!

    September 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  40. Diamond

    I can't tell if most college kids (females) are broke because I see them out toting very high end bags (not Coach and not knockoffs) and spending money on the weekends like there's no tomorrow.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Kev

      That's because its the beginning of the school year and they haven't maxed out their credit cards yet.. but soon!

      September 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  41. Dan

    Store-label pot pies for 25 cents, with a cracked egg on top. Either that or military tins of peanut butter and Civil Defense crackers.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  42. Brodie

    Ramen Noodles with Ritz Crackers. It has enough salt in it for about 50 people , but damn did it tast good.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Dan

      Sounds better than my ramen noodles over stale white bread, especially the end crusts!

      September 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  43. Ter

    The fact that this article exists disgusts me. This "food" should not be consumed and certainly should not be reminisced about.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • BetterThanYou

      I agree. If these children can't afford to eat they shouldn't be going to college in the first place. Just go get a job in the service industry and make my coffee and leave the college dream behind you, it won't matter anyway. Why waste your time?

      September 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
      • onepercenter

        Would rather starve than lower myself to eating the rubbish described in this article. Pathetic youngsters have no idea that their culinary sacrifice for an "education" will yield nothing in return. A lifetime of poverty awaits all of you poor middle class wanderers, LOL!!! I love being rich!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! It's soooooo awesome!!

        September 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
        • Grifinator4380

          youre a jerk

          September 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
        • f you

          you are a piece of crap , grow the f up.

          September 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
        • BumInBox

          very funny you sum betch.

          September 11, 2012 at 12:27 am |
        • Other one percenter

          Agreed! If all these kids can't afford to eat like me, they should be scrubing my shoes! Muhahahaha

          September 11, 2012 at 12:58 am |
        • lance corporal

          don't feed the troll

          September 11, 2012 at 1:04 am |
        • Tired of Blowhards

          Oh for heaven's sake. Can't you learn to enjoy some nostalgia. I ate crap in college like everyone in my dorm and I'm now a CEO. Life of poverty, you say? What do you do now Bud?

          September 11, 2012 at 2:54 am |
      • Dan

        Hilarious. Very Swiftian in spirit. But really, bugger off, you effete snob!

        September 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • itsjustme


      Ramen noodles RULE!:)

      September 11, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • Heyyzuz

      I fully agree with you!

      September 11, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  44. BlackDynamite

    I'm beginning to hate CNN, and what they call front page news.
    This drivel should be banned from any "news" source....

    September 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Please

      Then get off.

      September 11, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Tired of Blowhards

      This was in the Food Section, you idiot. Perhaps we could get CNN to give you a call for permission next time they want to write an article you might consider fluff. Would that help?

      September 11, 2012 at 3:03 am |
  45. Lea

    one bag of store brand tortilla chips, one block of velveeta cheese (cubed), one can of store brand tomatoes with chilis. mix cheese and tomatoes in a bowl and microwave the hell out of that bad larry until melty and delicious. voila, nacho night!

    September 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Jerv

      Oh yeah, and I still eat that to this day. Got my nephew, who is now in college, hooked on this concoction.

      September 11, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  46. Mike from SIU

    Mmm... college food...

    The 4.95 lunch special at Mary Lou's Diner (7 different food items on 2 plates!)
    Box of generic elbows mixed with a can of tomato paste and liberal dose of sugar for dinner – (feeds 3!)

    September 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

    All I can afford as a grown adult with a wife and child is college food. Didn't fall out of the right vagina so I don't have enough natural intelligence (a good memory and quick mind) to get a better job and earn a better living. Sucks not being able to enjoy all the fun the rich are having. I'd kill myself if I wasn't such a pussy but I guess I'll look forward to an early death by eating crappy food. Oh well, that's life I guess. Should just be happy with the crap I do have.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Ter


      September 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • CobiaKiller

      Haha...well, you dont need a good memory or a quick mind...just look at all these athletes and reality tv show people that make millions a year. But everything else you said could not be truer!

      September 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • BumInBox

      You sound like a foul mouthed version of Harvey Pekar. Your self-deprecating style of humor in these cynical times is refreshing. With your permission, I'd love to create a simple comic strip with the words you have posted. Please send me an email, it's my name at mail dot com. Thank you.

      September 11, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • I congree or agcur

      Agreed ( about Pekar-ism). The online articles about these well heeled going crazy and shooting people leads me to
      believe they couldn't down shift their lifestyles as required. When you're at the lower rungs, sometimes it's an advantage, i.e., one is not upholding the high fallootin' image with all that stress behind it. Stress is the killer- the brain overloads the stress hormones and all reason is out the door ( see suicides in Italy). I speak from experience- I worked 24/7 for a decade to step into a higher lifestyle. Then came the hightech crash/glut that fried me. It was misery to
      be going down the lifestyle escalator slipping on the rails. But, I had a 10 year head start before the Housing fiasco/
      global meltdown. I'm so happy to have my sense of humor back, having phony, pretentious ,fake friends away from me
      and life is great ( relatively). Too much continual, maximized stress was the killer.

      Note: Although there's a lot of folks who worked hard and built fortunes, the game is commonly rigged ( family capital
      to finance them through Ivy Leauge schools, professional schools, capital for starting businesses, etc.). So average
      folks, hold your head up and stay healthy. Thanks for listening to this free form-Auto Bio- unasked for-blab.

      September 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  48. georgebushSR

    Also chop up your favorite skillet fryable veggies cook the ramen with nomal amounts of water and add the soup packet, skillet fry the veggies and after they start to brown a little throw the noodles and soup on top in the skillet, cook till the noodles brown and it is a dish worthy of Ghengis.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  49. MashaSobaka

    Everywhere I've ever lived, fresh ingredients have been cheaper than boxed preprepared crap. Tastier too.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • kaburi

      Really? That must be nice. Yes, if you go to a big university in a big city, you're going to have access to farmers markets and high-end grocery stores, but at a small liberal arts school in a small town, you make do.

      In the small town where I went to undergrad, we only had one store: a gas station. Our nearest grocery store was two towns over, at least a twenty minute drive each way. Wal-Mart? Twenty-five minutes up the road, in the other direction. Didn't have a car? Well, your choices were either the school cafeteria or the student bookstore's gum aisle. (At least this was circa 2001 when gas was cheap.) My Junior year, they opened a Dollar General in town, which gave us access to boxed meals, ramen, and laundry detergent without requiring an hour of travel time, and we were ecstatic.

      September 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • lauraby

      In the 80's at University of Southern California (in South Central LA) big grocery store chains were leaving and not returning. If you didn't have wheels you were stuck with what they offered. Fruit & veggies were expensive relative to crap food. On a college budget it's no wonder everyone was eating this stuff. We all survived and it's nostalgic and all ... I'm sure we all went on to high paying jobs and better food...but you have to wonder about the people that live in these communities without access to better and less expensive food options.

      September 13, 2012 at 2:45 am |
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