Frankly, I wanted to punch him in the mouth. I was sitting in the work lunch room, minding my own business, eating a hastily packed meal of Ramen noodles and snacks. My coworker Greg glanced over at my bowl and snorted.
“Are you eating Ramen Noodles?” “Yeah.”
“I wouldn’t get caught dead eating those things! I haven’t had them since college. I make too much money to have to eat Ramen Noodles anymore.”
I muttered something about running out of groceries that week and ducked my head closer to my bowl. Greg routinely suffered from verbal diarrhea of the jerk variety; this was not new to me. I saw nothing wrong with my lunch, but I never brought Ramen to work again.
Ramen Noodles are the national symbol for struggling college students. The knockoff Japanese noodles are cheap as Payless shoes, salty, moderately filling, and contain little to no nutritional value. Kids swear they will never eat Ramen again once they “get on.” I have no such compunction if I’m hungry enough. I once ate a whole pack raw.
Greg’s elitist critique of my meal got me thinking: what other “struggle foods” do people turn their noses up against once they have more income? A few ‘bougie biases’ came to mind:
I once lived for the sizzling sound fried bologna made when I tossed it into a hot pan. My mother taught me to slice a line from the middle so it wouldn’t bubble up. Even then, I could only eat bologna fried. I have not eaten bologna in years; it’s the bastard stepchild of cold cuts. Who actually likes Bologna? Do not even think of raising your hand.
Since I learned that hot dogs are made from garbage disposal animal parts, I’ve been on a boycott. Oscar Meyer hot dogs never look good as hors d’oeuvres, they are fattening and are out of style once summer wanes. Want a laugh? Try hanging around bougie meat eaters asking for turkey, veggie, or all beef hotdogs–forget healthy, it’s a hotdog, for Pete’s sake!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Whoever decided PBJs were better left in childhood needs to be tarred and feathered. I have packed said sandwich to work and garnered sarcastic remarks as to my cute lunch of PBJ and crackers. They called me a toddler. Grown ups don’t eat PBJs? Then I’m opting out of adulthood. I like mine triple decker, sliced diagonally, heavy on the PB, light on the J. In case you were wondering.
Sugar. Food coloring. Water. That’s all Kool-Aid really is. And Crystal Light, too. But admit to a full grown adult that you’re sipping on Grape Kool-Aid and not Pomegranate-Plum Crystal Light, and you’ll get the look. The “are you broke?” look. The “up your drink game, son!” look.
Tilapia and/or Catfish
My husband refuses to have tilapia in the house. He claims that it has no nutrients and tastes like glue. He also will not eat catfish because they are “bottom feeders,” the scumbags of the fish world. Erudite folk eat grouper and salmon and kingfish because those fish allegedly taste better. Right.
Chitlins/Chitterlings/Pickled Pig Feet, ANY animal feet!
Now that’s just nasty (to me). I dare you to request chitlins at Ruth’s Chris. I’ll wait.
All told, I split my eating habits between health-conscious and “I just don’t give a what.” But the one thing I can do without is the bougie judgments of people who have flown so far past their beginnings they forgot one important thing:
Sometimes, struggle food just tastes good. What’s your food bias?