It's a Friday afternoon, and my mother and I sit at the table, contemplating what's to be cooked for dinner.
"How about roast beef?"
"No, that's too heavy"
"Hmmm, should I order pizza?"
"Nooo," I groan, "We always order pizza on Fridays. Let's eat something else."
"Well, instead of saying 'no' this 'no' that, how about you make a suggestion for once if you don't want to eat what I suggest!"
My mom fumed for a hot minute, until she settled back down to her calm bubbly self. I thought to myself, what if we eat simple, but good?
"Hmmm, what about-"
"Ramen!" We shouted in unison. We slid our chairs back and clicked on the stove. My mom went off into the garden to collect some green onions that grew near the fence while I began to boil the water. The crinkle of the ramen packages attracted both my father and brother like rattling a box of dog treats to two hungry dogs. My dad cleared the table in one fell swoop and placed his laptop at the corner of the table that he sat at. While he lumbered to go plug the charger into the wall, my brother took up the duty to fill the cups with water and dish out the silverware: chopsticks, spoons, and a fork for himself. My mother returned from the garden with plumes of green onions in her grasp as the water finally started to boil. I shook the pack of dried vegetables, gave them a few good flicks and ripped open the top, sprinkling the flakes into the bubbling water. I chopped up the green onions into inch long strips and dropped them in the water to increase the flavor of the soup.
Another minute went by and I gently placed the five squares of dried noodles into the frothing bath. After the noodles finished cooking, I sprinkled in the soup powder, stirred in an egg, and plopped a hefty serving of small discs of rice cake. As if they knew I was about to call them, my father, mother and brother sat themselves at the table, waiting for the food. I picked up the pot and poured the ramen equally into four steep bowls and placed each of them in front of a pair of chopsticks, or a fork in my brother's case. As soon as I was seated, everyone picked up their weapon of choice and dug into the snaking noodles cooked to perfection. Three minutes of slurping, chewing, and exhaling in amazement went by until my father finally spoke in Korean,
"Seriously, Yunji's the best at making ramen. Yah~ this is amazing." He picked up his bowl and slurped away as my mother scoffed under her breath.
"Then should I stop making dinner forever?" My mom jokingly said. We all laughed at her witty comment, my brother choking on his noodles from it going down the wrong pipe as he laughed.
We continued to eat in silence, with the occasional comment on school or anything that happened on the news. The house was silent, and all of the lights were off except for in the kitchen. It was always a habit everyone in our house had: save every single penny.
As each one of us finished, we could feel the effects of a food coma come upon us, slowly slipping away out of consciousness, but before we were overcome with sleep, my mother sprang from her chair and pulled on her pink, latex, dish gloves, and turned on the sink. On cue, everyone grabbed their dishes and put them by the sink as my mom washed the ones that were already in the soapy water. My father left for his room to expire for the day, my brother ran off to who knows where like he always does, and only my mother and I remained. I stood by her side, ready with a towel to dry and put away the dishes. We worked in silence, working quickly so that we too could disappear into our own corners of the house.