The Case for Cup Noodles

A page from Marie Claire

In the last company I worked for, our office manager ordered a case of Cup Noodles for the kitchen. "For emergencies," she said, in a motherly way, "When everyone is running to back-to-back meetings and there's no time to grab lunch." She was onto something. There'd be grueling days when our noses would be put to the grind and we wouldn't realize that we had missed lunch until we caught sight of the time at 3:30 p.m.

On those days, I'd scurry into the kitchen, tear open a Cup Noodles, and anxiously await for the water to boil in the electric tea kettle. It was such a guilty pleasure thing. Like, I knew it was totally bad for me, but at that point of hunger, I just wanted a "hot meal" on the spot. The boiling water burbles as it's being poured into the Styrofoam, cooking the noodles and creating a broth from a powdered seasoning. Magically, the dehydrated peas, carrots, and corn are brought back to life.

I'd twirl a heap of those thin curly noodles onto a fork and take a sip of that ridiculously salty broth after each bite. This is not real food, I'd tell myself. You're not doing this again. This is the last time! There's no nutritional value here—these are empty calories! Three minutes. When all you've got is three minutes, boy, does it feel real.