Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pass the ramen noodles with pride

Along with paper and pens, cheap food like SPAM, instant mac n’ cheese and ramen noodles have long been basic staples of existence for the struggling writer. For all those scribes who can still taste the charcoal and ham goodness of their last fried SPAM sandwich, rejoice! We are in style now, thanks to a tanking economy, rising food costs and stratospheric gas prices. Sales of the canned meat are rising fast, along with the cheapest food in the pantry, ramen noodles, and that summer essential, hot dogs, especially the on-sale variety that come so cheap, you don’t even dare read the nutrition label.

I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that cans of tuna fish and the Wal-Mart house brand of macaroni and cheese have been selling fast. Next up on the kitchen top ten: beans and rice. Just wait until the soccer moms discover you can make veggie burgers out of them!

It will be a nice feeling to no longer feel guilty about the cheap food in my shopping basket. In fact, all writers can finally bask in the glory of being chic. We’re not cheap, we’re frugal! And we’re fed, without depending on government cheese.

So take the spotlight, and share a few of those recipes you’ve cooked up over the years. Tell a neighbor how to make your tasty cornbread tuna pie, or talk authoritatively about the difference between SPAM and the lower-cost option, Treet (just as tasty, and half the price!) at family get-togethers. Share the wisdom of the $3.32 Creamy Chicken Bowl (two packages of chicken-flavored ramen noodles, one can of white chicken chunks, one can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup, your choice) which feeds up to four people.

They may have laughed at you at the academy, but who’s the stylish evil genius with a fully belly now? Bwah-hah-hah-ha!


Kappa no He said...

Would you believe spam is outrageously expensive in Japan? Not a frugal meal at all. Ha ha. It's funny when I tell people about its image back home. No one believes me. It's not like they necessarily 'like' the stuff, it's just expensive.

There are bazillions of types of instant ramen noodles, though, that are cheap and amazingly delicious.

colbymarshall said...

One of my favorites is the suddenly salad pasta salad...yum!

Anonymous said...

Great point, Plaid!

We got that Creamy Chicken Bowl recipe from a bachelor friend of ours.

Ooh, and if you *really* want to be cheap about it, make your "cream of" soup from scratch! A little butter, flour and milk is cheaper than a can of soup. :)

And use chicken and broth from the leftovers of last night's chicken dinner. (Just boil, season, etc. Recipes abound on the Internet and it is super easy.)

And then you're not only stylishly frugal, you're also eco-friendly because you don't need no stinkin' can! LOL.

Anonymous said...

What the recipe for rice/bean veggie burgers?

Anonymous said...

Who'd have thought that SPAM would actually mean something other than e-mail to be avoided at all costs again! Great post! Mental note: add to grocery list.

Unknown said...

auria, I never had a specific recipe, just take equal amounts of beans and rice (already cooked), add in an egg and some bread crumbs or crushed up saltines. You can spice it up if you like with some chopped onion or garlic. Press into patties, and plop into skillet. Ta-da! Cheap dinner!

Unknown said...

kappa and erika, it's so weird how SPAM is viewed in different places. I just read an article about spam sushi, and now I'm curious to try it!

Anonymous said...

Spam doesn't exist here, and that's quite fine by me!

Personally, we practice cheap by cooking from scratch. Hey, where'd that "we" come from? Me! Me me me me me! But processed food doesn't exist here like it does in North America, so, you know, it's really that or starve... :D