Ramen and Rice-a-roni

Anthony (Tony) Pretlow
1 min readFeb 15, 2022


I went to college at a prestigious Midwestern university when there were fewer than 300 black students. I attended the school in the early ’70s.

Most of us were from the ‘inner city’ and were there on a combination Merit Scholarships, federal student loans, and Work/Study programs.

Suffice it to say, most of us were of limited means. As such, our college experience was very different from the average non-scholarship white student.

The differences were most pronounced during weekends and holidays.

On the weekends student dining halls were closed. Whites poured into local bars, restaurants, and cafes. Blacks stayed in our dorms huddled around hot plates cooking Ramen and Rice-a-Roni.

During the week, we worked in those dining halls or were dormitory lobby monitors. We learned to stretch our dollars during that period of high inflation.

During the holidays' school was deserted. White students flocked to their homes and blacks stayed behind and basically had run of the campus.

It was time for a hot plate jamboree. You’d be surprised at how many ways you can use them.

I eat ramen and Rice-a-Roni by choice these days. They taste the same.

But, I eat them with a lot less enthusiasm.



Anthony (Tony) Pretlow

Prolific reader. Baseball enthusiast. Devoted father of five. Sound money advocate. Happily married/ retired. I write off the cuff. Being right is overrated.