Matt Knutson: Be intentional about learning from each other

Published 7:46 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson


“I’ll show you how to make ramen,” I told my wife after she conceded that she preferred my lunch over her own. It was a victorious moment for me, as I’d been singing the praises of my cheap ramen noodles for quite some time. Sera had previously acknowledged their affordability, but failed to accept that it was an appropriate meal for anyone to eat.

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I’m sure she has a point. My version of ramen noodles is the incredibly affordable version that you’ll find in multiple packs with a somewhat mysterious flavor packet. This is a staple of college dorms, which is why I’m surprised my wife has never taken part in the tradition. As a previous residence hall director, I had assumed she’d know the ins and outs of cheap college food. Apparently, she never had to give a tutorial to young college students — unlike doing laundry, making ramen must be intuitively known to freshmen.

One could ponder how healthy ramen truly is, and that’s exactly why my wife resisted for so long. Her claims that the flavor packet was filled with high sodium were imaginary in my mind — until I googled it. It turns out Sera is incredibly right, and perhaps no health-conscious person should ever eat my preferred ultra-affordable ramen noodles. In a moment of weakness, Sera asked to try a bite of mine for the first time. It was then that she saw the light (or perhaps, the dark).

She’s been asking me to make it ever since. It’s a strange role reversal for us. I am capable of cooking, but Sera does the majority of it because she enjoys it far more than I do. In my world, if it takes longer to make it than to eat it, I’m not interested. And that’s why ramen noodles are right up my alley. Sera could probably spend hours in the kitchen creating something divine, and I wouldn’t have the sensibility to truly appreciate the art she’d produce in the oven or on the stove. Despite that talent, she’s consistently hesitant to approach the ramen noodle package. It’s almost as if she thinks I have some secret recipe that makes it taste so good.

If you’re thinking I might — I don’t. I recall reading a blog from a former college acquaintance that detailed some innovative ways to make ramen noodles more engaging. I’m sure it was a brilliant resource for my peers to make as they graduated out of college and into the real world; adapting a penny-pinching staple into the post-grad lifestyle. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m literally microwaving noodles and water, draining the water and adding the flavor packet. I probably should add in some carrots or celery — anything really that might add some healthy component, but I don’t. Which is why I’m baffled that my wife insists on me making it for her. It’s quite literally one of the simplest things someone can make. I’ve actually shown her the simple process, and she still prefers when I make it. To be honest, I’m baffled.

Our foray into ramen noodles will likely shift to another meal sooner rather than later (after all, we’re not college kids anymore), but I hope we’re able to continue uncovering things about one another that we may not have previously known. It sounds like it is Sera’s turn to teach me something new for our next adventure. Maybe she can show me how to properly load the dishwasher so everything gets clean instead of the half-cleaned mess that normally occurs when I do it. Who knows — if we’re intentional about learning from one another, I just might have to come up with a new recipe to share. I wonder if she knows how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.