When I was in college, this was pretty much its own food group.
Rather quickly, I realized that I only needed the bare minimum for a meal plan. I scheduled early classes every semester and I wasn't going to get up and eat in the cafeteria before they started. Typically, my first class was at 7:45 so I got up at 7:10, threw on some clothes, brushed my teeth, and darted off with a granola bar in my hand. Or a yogurt. I consumed vast amounts of yogurt in those days.
I almost always ate lunch in the "caf." Nearly every day I had a salad and french fries. When I'm on an early death bed because of the fries, I will apologize to my children and tell them that I really thought the salad would offset the cancer causing agents in fries.
Dinner, if we were in the middle of rehearsing a show, was a quick trip to the caf during our break to slap a sandwich together. I'm hesitant to add that I usually walked out of the dining hall carrying the sandwich in one hand and a cup full of fries in the other. It's truly remarkable that I'm still here. Also noteworthy is the fact that I graduated two pounds heavier than I started college and never experienced the freshman (or any other year for that matter) fifteen.
Occasionally, I would vary this diet with a hamburger or fresh fish and veggies or stir fry or any number of other options. But, for the most part, I lived on a steady diet of salads, sandwiches and french fries.
When I wasn't in the middle of rehearsing a show, when I wasn't needed as the production manager on a certain night or when I wasn't hanging around watching a rehearsal even though I wasn't called or otherwise expected that evening, I survived on Top Ramen while I dug myself out from under my homework.
And I always (ALWAYS!) ate it out of this giant mug that my parents bought me the weekend they left me on campus for the very first time to grow and learn and spread my wings and, eventually, fly. Or, well, hover. I don't know that I've ever actually soared but I've done a decent job at hovering.
To this day, some thirteen years later, Ramen is still one of my guilty pleasures. I refuse to eat it out of anything except my Point Loma Nazarene University bowlmug. I still cook it in the same hot pot that I took with me to the dorm when I wasn't even eighteen years old.
Ramen is horribly unhealthy and I rarely eat it these days. But when I do, I can't help but smile over my bowl of comfort food.