For eating on the cheap, it’s hard to beat ramen, a noodle-based delight that’s spawned several cookbooks, Japan’s Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum and The Official Ramen Homepage (mattfischer.com/ramen), a website that boasts more than 300 recipes.
Ramen noodles are centuries old and are thought to have originated in China, but the instant ramen we know today was introduced in 1958 by Japan’s Nissin Foods. At first it was considered a luxury item since it cost up to six times as much as fresh noodles.
Ramen migrated to the United States in 1970 and eventually became a hit with financially challenged college students, to the point where some wits renamed it “Purina student chow.” Nowadays Americans eat about nine portions of ramen apiece every year, which makes it one-fifth as popular here as it is in Japan.
We’ve added a few simple ingredients to a package of ramen to tranform this simple noodle dish into something a bit more substantial for dinner—for you and your students. Genius!
By William I. Lengeman III, a writer in Hummelstown, Pa. Recipes reprinted with permission from 101 Things to do with Ramen Noodles by Toni Patrick.