As the time goes on all aspects of The Grand Adventure get easier. We are comfortable. Even eating (both dining out and cooking in) have fallen into a workable pattern. I can make a delicious dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen like nobody’s business!
In the beginning I freaked out a little as I encountered and inspected each new kitchen. Hoping for a colander, a non-stick skillet and a can opener were my constant worry. French Press? Forget about it.
Now we just make it work. We eat the same thing for breakfast everyday – yogurt and fruit and coffee (usually instant coffee in most countries). We eat lunch out more often than dinner but lunch might also be a sandwich or a picnic of meat and cheese and fruit. Sometimes lunch is leftovers – just like at home.
When we arrive at each new place we determine whether there is a large grocery store (Asia and New Zealand had great ones) or a tiny convenience store with limited selection (like in the Seychelles) near by. We also scope out fresh produce farmer’s markets. Here in Sozopol there is a well stocked small market, but it is more expensive than the larger “Lidl” store in Burgas. We were in Burgas today so we stopped and picked up a few things.
Because we are on a pretty strict budget we eat out only a few times each week. In the Seychelles we averaged $56 a day for two, but only ate out three times in the entire month. In Vietnam we averaged $31 per day for three people and we ate out most meals. Here in Bulgaria we are averaging $38 and we are eating out about a third of the time.
If we weren’t making the effort to cook regularly our food costs would be two or three times what it is.
We try not to eat too many carbs but we fall back on pasta and risotto when necessary, like in the Seychelles when choice was so limited. We also make things like chicken and pork and local dishes when we can, like in Thailand and Vietnam where I was able to take cooking classes. Here in early summer in Bulgaria the produce is excellent and it’s easier to go light on the carbs and bulk up in the veg and protein. Last night we had a simple pork chop
with sliced tomato and cucumber salad. Bulgaria has offered us for the first time in our travels kitchens with ovens! I made stuffed cabbage one night and tonight it’s noodle-less lasagna with zucchini and eggplant. I can smell it in the oven now and it smells wonderful.
We have a small supply of spices we carry with us along with two knives and a flexible plastic cutting board. Awhile back I saw a collapsible rubber colander and I sure wish I had bought it. It’s rare to have a kitchen that includes one. I’ve always used a colander a lot – not just for pasta but for washing
fruits and veg.
Another item that is often MIA in many kitchens is a can opener. We have one coming when Arne’s mom visits us next month. How can you have a kitchen without a can opener? So I put it on my wish list for special delivery with several other items she is bringing.
We have had kitchens without towels or hot pads and usually no vegetable peeler. We have had
kitchens with excellent crockery and professional pots and pans. We have had kitchens with no hot water and others with no salad bowl. It’s a crap shoot.
When we arrive in each new place I buy staples like olive oil, vinegar, eggs, yogurt and fruit. We explore our shopping options and our kitchen landscape
and decide how we are going to eat. In Asia it was cheaper to eat out than cook at home. In Seychelles it was expensive no matter what.
I’m blessed with a husband who will eat anything, but in our Fab Fifties we are more conscious of how we eat. Arne has lost more weight than I have, but I have dropped at least 15 lb since leaving the US. Lack of junk food plays a big part.
I really enjoy being creative in the kitchen. So it works out nicely and we eat pretty darn well, even when we have less than adequate kitchens or access to fresh produce.
Food glorious food. A fun part of The Grand Adventure!