Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reason #7: Simplicity

Don’t you love when things go the way they’re supposed to? Yeah, me too.
Being a college kid sometimes seems enough of an excuse in itself to eat quick, unhealthy foods. Some days, I have just enough time to heat up a can of Chef Boyardee and scarf it down before I have to run to class. Some days, I have just ten minutes to cross the entire campus to get to work on time after class ends. Some days, I have to take my unhealthy food with me and eat in public. Other days, I’m just too lazy to walk to the dining hall.
Eating unhealthy food all alone in your dorm room isn’t that bad. What can be tiring sometimes is the lack of variety available in dorm food. My cooking supplies include a minifridge, a microwave, plastic silverware (which I often snag from the college cafeteria because I’m too lazy to use my own silverware, which I’d have to wash after every use), Tupperware containers that do double duty as plates and bowls, and a couple of plastic bins full of non-perishable food. So you see, I’m limited as to what I can create on those days when I choose to chow down in my room.
The options usually consist of the following: Chef Boyardee, canned soup, Ramon Noodles, ham sandwiches, or PB&J. That said, I always try to look for new options when I’m grocery shopping. Last week, I discovered the BumbleBee Lunch-To-Go packs, which are my new favorite.
Coming from a family that eats cheese by the ton, I quickly recognized the off-brand of Easy Mac as a great addition to my list of lunchtime options when I saw it in the store.
The instructions on the packaging read as follows:
1.       Pour Macaroni into 2-cup microwaveable bowl. Add 2/3 cup water.
After asking my roommates and everyone next door if they had a measuring cup, I decided I’d just have to eyeball the water. So I pour out the little macaroni noodles into a small plastic container and add some water.
2.       Microwave, uncovered, on high 3 ½ to 4 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Do not drain. Remaining water will be used to make the cheese sauce.
After pulling my noodles out of the microwave, I had to ask myself, “What water?” It seemed to me that the noodles had absorbed it all. Not knowing what else to do, I added a little extra water and moved on to the next step.
3.       Add cheese sauce mix and stir until smooth. If cheese sauce appears thin do not microwave. Cheese sauce will thicken upon standing.
Then I really had to wonder what was going on. As I attempted to mix in the cheese sauce, I realized that the noodles were glued together in the shape of my bowl, which made mixing extremely difficult. I added more and more water until I could finally stir in the neon-orange powder.
Though it didn’t look great, I told myself it was still edible. Edible, as in, the noodles were a mixture of over-cooked chewiness and under-cooked hard, and the cheese powder was mixed so poorly that it added a nice bitter crunch to the dish. I ate the whole thing.
I’ve tried multiple times to make Easy Mac since then, but it just hasn’t worked. I’ve tried adding more water, pausing the microwave every 30 seconds to give the noodles a stir, adding the cheese mix a little at a time, etc.
In the end, I simply come to the conclusion that sometimes, even Easy Mac is hard.



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