Ramen or KD?

Ramen or KD, but first, let me take a selfie. Or provide some definitions. When I say “ramen,” I’m referring to the Mr. Noodles et al dehydrated packs of near food available twelve to the dollar at Walmart – six if you splurge for the Sapporo Ichiban brand. It is marginally better. I’m not referring to the lovely, freshly-made versions I’ve never had the privilege of consuming.

One day.

Watch the noodles made if you can. It’s a process.

And for “KD,” read any house brand of the Kraft Dinner original. They’re of a type, although I find Annie’s Organics to be a slightly worse version of the already borderline. Generic is the best and not only when it comes to results. Catch me paying twice as much for cheese-adjacent noodles because someone slapped the Kraft name on the box.

Neither is a brilliant food choice – they’re the poster children for empty calories – but If I must indulge – and given the frequency of consumption it appears I must – I’m ramen all the way down. [i]

I have rather atrocious eating habits. Part of it is eating disorder recovery – I’m still not good with food wrangling and because I’ve not had young ones around, I’ve been able to stick with borderline choices. I eat a lot of cereal. I eat a lot of uni-product meals.

It’s always time for bagels.

And no to the cream cheese. What are you, a lunatic? Blueberry bagel with a smear of jam from now until the end of time. [ii]

I now have the Sapporo Ichiban jingle playing in my brain. Commercials.

I like my ramen steamed. I may eat garbage, but at least I’m pretentious about it. Steamed with some hot sauce and butter for that je ne sais quoi.

How do you prep your refined grain flour fried in palm oil topped with a high sodium and high MSG flavour packet? My son likes to boil his, drain it mostly, and then add an egg, a sort of ramen carbonara. I feel guilty every time he eats it, as though I’ve failed as a parent by not teaching him that ramen noodles are tasty packets of cardiovascular distress.

Even a bowl of boiled dried pasta would be better. With some butter, of course, to clog those arteries, and salt, because, salt.

I really do have that “centre of the universe” thing down.

This brings us to that ubiquitous box of cardboard noodles and sawdust cheese. God help you if you pick the “white cheddar” option. I’m not sure why they made it impermeable to liquid – perhaps it’s just a twisted inside joke. Regardless, white cheddar is an exercise in frustration.

I still say generic is best. With ketchup.

White cheddar’s not the only variant out there. Boxed mac and cheese is a popular product, so of course, everyone wants in on the game. Doritos offers versions of chip-flavoured noodles, a recent entry into a saturated market. There’s Kraft, of course, with everything from original to spiral noodles to cauliflower-based. Spirals are a special yum though the window between cooked and disgusting is three milliseconds.

There are organic offerings as well – Annie’s is a popular choice. I bought a case of it back in the day, back when I had a Costco card and bought things in quantities too large. Back when I was trying to be a good parent. I cooked the white cheddar option first. It was also the last, and the food bank got eleven boxes of pasta dinner with my apologies.

It’s not good.

I really hated them.

I find efforts to spin fundamentally empty food into healthy and organic options amusingly ridiculous. Why get into boxed noodles if health food is your brand?

I’m equally amused by salad at Wendy’s and thin Oreos. We really are a “have our cake and eat it too” species.

Trying to make deep-fried noodles and dehydrated, oil-based “cheese” seem healthy is peak us.

Add your own vegetables is a hint I’ve read. I guess they don’t know about putting lipstick on a pig.

Neither ramen nor KD is particularly good for you. But they’re cheap, they’re easy, and fat and salt make everything taste better. They’re better than nothing for sure.

Honestly, they’re not terribly different from a doughnut, a breakfast standby.

Much of life is marketing.

[i] “Turtles all the way down” is an expression of the problem of infinite regress. The saying alludes to the mythological idea of a World Turtle that supports a flat Earth on its back. It suggests that this turtle rests on the back of an even larger turtle, which itself is part of a column of increasingly larger turtles that continues indefinitely.

[ii] I occasionally break rank and have an everything bagel. Those do get topped with cream cheese. Herb and garlic is my favourite.

19 thoughts on “Ramen or KD?

  1. I eat both ramen (always boiled—sometimes drained with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, sometimes left in the broth as instructed) and KD (we call it Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the States—I usually get the thick and creamy variety, add more butter, less milk, and grind fresh peppercorn on top). I love pasta and cheese, so I’ll eat just about any variety, though there are degrees of deliciousness. I prefer homemade/restaurant versions of mac and cheese, but keep boxes of KD around for when I want something quick, easy, and comforting. I have had fresh/fancy ramen a couple of times—it can have A LOT going on in one bowl, which is not my favorite. I’m a keep your foods separated kind of girl, so simple works best for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never seen Kraft Mac and Cheese box look like that! That is SO COOL. I just saw a hack for your KD on Tik TOk and I’m going to share it with you here.

    Put two boxes of noodles in a large pan.
    Add just enough water to cover the noodles.
    Mix in two packets of the cheese powder.
    Add two heaping tablespoons of butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high and continue to stir until it boils and thickens.

    Then, stir in 1 cup of milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. According to the lady who shared this, you will never make it the other way again.

    Let me know if it’s good!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was about to google ‘KD’ but I saw it in line 2 that you were going to explain. Oh, the joy! Thank you!

    Kraft Mac&Cheese is a classic and forever will be. I tried the ‘healthier’ Annie’s and.. didn’t like it. What a shame to pay more and enjoy something less.

    While I enjoy both, ramen definitely tips the scale. But I don’t like the cups. The noodles are too long and not soft enough. While I eat ramen the ‘regular’ way, sometimes, when I have leftovers, I will let the noodles absorb the liquid and then splatter them with Tabasco and enjoy noodles that way. Spaghetti! Two dinners out of one!

    As someone who likes cheese, I tried the white cheddar, too. WHY??? I wonder if anyone likes it… I did try cheetos man n cheese. I have to say that the neon orange and the salt made for a delicious meal.

    Herb and garlic cream cheese is delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on the cups. They’re awful.
      The questions about KD remind me that although Canada and the US are close, there are differences.

      I licked the cream cheese knife this morning for extras.

      Liked by 1 person

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