theoutline.comWhen police discovered just over a gram of crack cocaine in the trash can of Ron Freeman’s hot-dog cart, they gave him a choice. Either tell them who put it there or take the charge and go to prison. His options were limited.

The culprit was a well-known member of the Crips, and ratting him out would mean certain death. “In our culture, snitches get stitches. You don’t tell,” Freeman told me as we stood outside the dilapidated apartment complex where his cart once sat in the Gardena neighborhood southwest of Los Angeles. He pled no contest and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Two decades later, Freeman, better known as “Chef Ron” around the Los Angeles neighborhoods where he grew up, stood on a sidewalk in Watts. A bright-blue food truck operated by his friend was parked nearby, surrounded by a group of tourists awaiting their shrimp quesadillas.

A woman looked at 54-year-old Freeman, the sun reflecting off of the frames of his wide-brim glasses, which sat beneath a tiny tuft of perfectly curled hair. He wore a yellow button-down shirt, embroidered with a pair of shrimp emerging from the words “Mama Pat’s” on the pocket. “What’s Mama Pat’s?” she asked. Minutes later, he returned with a few packets of ramen and handed them to her.

Over the past three years, Freeman has been developing a low-sodium ramen that will soon be sold at correctional institution commissaries across the country. Along with honey buns, ramen noodles — typically the kind that comes in a plastic wrapper, made by the brands Maruchan or Nissin — are the most popular items at prison commissaries, filling the gap left by nutritionally inadequate and, at times, inedible correctional meals.

I was all ready to laugh at this headline but nah salute to Chef Ron, this is a dope idea and lord knows normal Ramen is loaded with nothing but sodium.

Leave a Reply