Food prices have been rising for months, but until now, the cost of a food staple for millions (perhaps billions) of people (including me) has remained fairly stable. Well, this week the stories started appearing in the American news: Vietnam and Cambodia are limiting rice exports; Sam's Club is rationing the amount that can be purchased, and the cost of rice has risen 50% in the last two months, and has at least doubled since 2004.
Some of the perception of a rice shortage in the U.S. may be due to restaurants stockpiling rice, a direct result of stories in the media. I myself am fighting the urge to run out to Winco and buy the entire bulk container of rice, just to be safe.
So what's a frugal eater to do? Well, lately I've returned to a staple of my college days: yes, Top Ramen. Only these days, I don't use the super-salty seasoning packet. Instead, I saute some veggies in low-sodium soy sauce (and sometimes in my garlicky Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce) and mix it all up into a chow mein type extravaganza. The Top Ramen runs 9 cents a packet at my local Winco, which is much, much less per pound than the sobe noodles that are also sold in the Asian food aisle.
Here's a wonderful, simple, tasty recipe for ramen noodles that I found on the internet several months ago. There are also several other good sites with great (and not so great) recipes using the always well-priced ramen noodles. Among them are:
You can even pen an ode to your great love of ramen at Ramen Haiku
Happy slurping, frugal friends!