Oh, I know what you're thinking. Ramen? Dried ramen!?! That's not cooking! That's 30¢, broke-as-a-joke, college dorm food that insults dedicated ramen chefs making it fresh in Kyoto every day.
Hey! Stick with me here. I wanna go to Hokkaido for the fresh ramen as much as the next gal but even dried American ramen is better than no ramen.
Would you believe that I'd never had ramen until my husband, Michael Thompson, introduced me to it last year!? Yes, at the ripe old age of thirty-eight, I fell madly in love with Maruchan Ramen. It became my default, never-let-me-down comfort food for a quick breakfast, lunch, supper or a midnight snack.
But...something was missing. Even with the Oriental flavor packet, it hinted at greater things and I was determined that our ramen would be not just a quick, easy and cheap meal, but delicious, nutritious and satisfying as well.
Gravy has always been Michael's speciality. His kids loved coming over for visitation because Dad made gravy. I've had his gravy. It's so good I'd have pretended to be a 4th Thompson Child just to sneak into visitation to have his gravy!
But it's so much more fun to give culinary things a fancy French name and gravy falls in the French Mother Sauces category of Béchamel pronounced "besh-uh-mell." Basically a béchamel is a dairy-based sauce thickened with flour and flavored with meat juices, drippings, herbs, etc.
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