“There is no light so perfect as that which shines from an open fridge door at 2am.” ~Nigel Slater
(The shot below is actually a very early morning one, but it was only possible because I was up all night.)
We have all been there, or at least I hope so. In front of the refrigerator. At whatever our late-night hour is. For me, it’s VERY late! I really don’t know why that is. Anyhow, while standing in front of that proverbial door last week, I started thinking about the food we eat at that time of night. It’s different, somehow. One reason it is different is that we are surrounded by silence. So, we don’t want to grind coffee beans or blend smoothies lest our neighbors or their babies wake up (our neighbors’ babies don’t feel the same way about waking us up! And, of course, they are also our neighbors, by definition). We are socially programmed into thinking that we are up at an unnatural hour, so we must behave unnaturally. And so we leap at the opportunity and indulge ourselves into eating unnatural foods. Ramen. Amen!
For Indian kids, ramen mostly means Maggi Noodles or Top Ramen (now that I think about it consciously, the ‘Top’ bit sounds so silly). Every school or college hostel has a canteen or café, and they make a different version of these noodles. Some use green chillies and others use cilantro. Or they go all out and use onions, tomatoes, green chillies AND cilantro. All of them taste completely different and equally delicious. I am pretty sure there are several variations that I haven’t tried.
These days, when I am relatively grown-up and no longer in the custody of a warden, I cook my own meals. Which also means that I get to cook the noodles my way. I have also moved away from that childhood delight very often in the past few years. There have been months when, every night, I have peeled and chopped a Russet potato and cooked it with cumin seeds, a little salt, chili powder, turmeric, lime juice and cilantro in a cast iron pan and eaten it sans anything. I believe a potato doesn’t need a companion. Those days were followed by incessant plates of broccoli, roasted with cheddar. Followed by bread slices spread with Nutella. Then hummus. Or just ice-cream. Oh, and one summer I religiously ate two popsicles or Italian Ices every night. And invariably, all this happens AFTER I have brushed my teeth for the night. Life is unfair.
P.S. What do you eat late at night?