Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not Cooking for One

Adobo on rice *sigh*

This photo by River Rats

One of the things I miss the most from back home? Hot, homecooked meals.

I may be living in a house with a kitchen, but it just takes too much energy to cook for one.

I have done my best over the past few weeks not to fall into the trap of eating too much "take away" (a.k.a. "take out" back home) - which is both horrendously unhealthy, not to mention expensive. I've mostly succeeded, but gastronomic options become quite limited when you don't want to be bothered with cooking.

Don't get me wrong, I can cook. I actually even enjoy it under different circumstances. But the idea of having to take out the pots and pans, prepare all the ingredients, then putting everything away and washing up after - it's just too much effort to make for a meal just for one person. Whereas when you nuke a frozen meal (invariably a meat pie or a box of Lean Cuisine) in the microwave or prepare a sandwich, you only need to wash one plate after. Peeling an orange or biting into an apple means you don't even have to wash anything at all... a good thing when you're dead on your feet from work and walking the three or so kilometers home.

As for a full, hot breakfast? Out of the question. I barely have time to eat my cereal in the mornings as it is! When I get out really late, I have breakfast on the go - walking to work while munching on an apple.

Maybe when I've saved enough money and settled into the rhythm of things, I may get one of those electric skillets on which I can do a little bit of grilling (would you believe I've been here a month and not have had a bite of steak?) and a stir-fry every now and then.

I will only consider whipping out my culinary skills only if I'm going to be making food good for more than one portion. In the meantime, I'm sticking to bread, fruit, cereals, and frozen food. And if I get the urge to eat rice - there's always Indian or Chinese take away, which I indulge in once a week.

Can anyone here think of other alternatives? I'd love to hear them.


the donG said...

we also had adobo today! hahaha... pinoy nga talaga.

Manggy said...

Oh, shucks. Sorry to hear that Ma'am. I've been wondering about that too. What's the point of cooking well if you barely have any time to think?! I think you can get away with cooking a largish batch of food and freezing individual servings in freezer bags or containers-- should be fine for a month or two. But eating take-away constantly is not a good thing, definitely. The cooks in those kitchens are not trained on the assumption that you eat their food in moderation (twice a month). They saturate everything with oil and salt. But it is still a worthy guilty pleasure ;) Is the hospital cafeteria not good?

dr_clairebear said...

@dong: i so miss adobo. and rice! I'll probably try cooking adobo on one of my days off and freeze it as it gets better over time, but i still haven't gotten around to how i will cook rice for one. fresh rice is the best rice. anything else (with the exception of singangag) is just blech.

@manggy: our cafeteria serves a lot of healthy stuff like salads and salad rolls, as well as the usual high fat high oil stuff. i try to wake up early enough to make sandwiches to take to work, though. i am currently so into sun-dried tomatoes, which i can buy at 100 to 200 grams at a time. i put them in sandwiches with philadelphia cheese and stick them in a sandwich maker. doesn't sound very good, but i like it. :P what can i say, i LOVE sun-dried!

ness said...

i've never tried sun dried tomatoes. maybe it's like dried mangoes except that its' not sweet?

take care over there, clairebear!

dr_clairebear said...

@ness: sun-dried tomatoes are the BEST! i first had them eating this winner puttanesca sauce from a jar - I don't know where my mom bought them. they're great on italian salads with feta cheese and on pasta. :) sarap!

the donG said...

i forgot to say that you had a great shot for this adobo.

Bone MD said...

Sounds like you'll be getting a double program out there claire, and cooking (or eating) solo would be one!

Manggy is the guy if your in for a cookbest, single serving or large servings.

Good luck sis!

BK said...

I understoodwhat you mean. I was living alone oversea for about 2 years and taking out the pot and pan to prepare meal for one sure doesn't seem to make it any attractive. However, in the long run, eating take-aways will take its toil on the health. For me, I just cook some noodle or pancit and then made some eggs to go with it. You might want to consider buying some vegetables from the market and instead of stir fried, steam it instead? Sometimes I eat that way. It might not be really healthy but at least I could control what I put in my mouth.