Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brown Bagging It and a Meditation on Ramen Noodles- Our Newest Food Group.

I work the night shift, and I bring my food in with me. Around me, the people I work with, order from Jimmy John's, from Suraj, and
- if we are close to payday- from P.F. Chang's. I do not see how they can afford it, since most make less than I do, but every night the delivery men come down the hall and leave a trail of forgotten nachos and fried rice in their wake.

I never order out, and I rarely go to The Cafetorium of the Big Hospital across Church Street anymore. One cannot escape from there for under six dollars. Six dollars will almost buy 2 gallons of gas!

It is not easy to succeed at brown-bagging. Many make the mistake of bringing food they are not enthused about eating at home. Virtue Foods. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, cottage cheese with pineapple. A carton of yogurt. Food that will not appeal at midnight when they are starving. Then one hears the Eternal Lament "I brought my dinner-But". And here comes the delivery man. Again. The yogurt is forgotten in the Unit refrigerator. Or it is left in the car until it rots.

One solution is to bring in pasta with a delicious sauce and cheese. Pasta so good that those who ordered out wish it was their meal.

"I want to eat at your house", they say when they see and smell the orzo with a sauce of sauteed zucchini,onion, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. (Pictured above) Pasta will not break the bank, though fresh zucchini and good cheese might. And have not strapped for cash families always depended on macaroni and cheese?

Not anymore. I read of Senate Hearings held in the past two weeks on the plight of middle-class and working families trying to get by. A teacher- her salary cut and her benefits pillaged- testified she fed her family ramen noodles. They were all she could afford. I mentioned this to one of the nursing technicians I work with. She is one of the working poor.

"My kids like pickle juice on ramen noodles", she told me.

I wonder what place pickle juice has among the food groups. Probably a vegetable, according to the Republicans, corporatists, and oligarchs who now run this country and to whom teachers and public sector workers are no better than serfs.

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