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Writer Without a Clause: My Nomadic Kitchen

Updated on May 6, 2019
cam8510 profile image

In his "Writer Without a Clause" articles, Chris writes about whatever is on his mind at the moment without research and without editing.

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Writer Without a Clause

In my Writer Without a Clause series, I sit down, place my fingers on the keyboard, and write about whatever comes to mind with no research or editing except for spelling and grammar.

My Nomadic Life

I’ve been traveling around the United States nonstop for over six years as a short term histology technician in hospital laboratories. Mostly I stay in one spot for about three months, occasionally as long as a year. My housing varies from apartments to motel rooms to bedrooms in people’s homes where I have kitchen privileges. The kitchen really is a big deal. I had an Airbnb apartment that had an awesome kitchen. I’ve also had no kitchen at all...at least not a normal one. I carry most of my kitchen with me.

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If you were on the road full time, what would be your most important possessions? I imagine your means of travel would be very high on the list. Clothing would also merit a top position. Where would you live? Would you have a motorhome or travel trailer? Would you live in motels, extended stay apartments, or other people’s homes?

Darby Guarding My Jeep

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And what about your food? Would you prepare your own? What if your living conditions did not provide any cooking equipment? What if your sink wasn’t big enough to wash dishes or pans? Would you run out and eat at a local restaurant? Would you call out for someone to deliver a meal?

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I have a six-foot by two-foot table that folds up so that it nearly takes up no room when I pack to move. This serves as my work area when there is no counter space available. The electric skillet is the workhorse in my nomadic kitchen. On several occasions, I’ve been tempted to purchase a hot plate. But I always find a way to make do with the skillet. I make soup in it, and, if you are familiar with making kombucha, I make one gallon of tea for the base in the skillet.

My Nomadic Kitchen

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Where would I be without my crockpot? When I started using it, I felt as though I had stumbled onto some cutting edge technology. But these things have been around for a long time. And the concept is simple. Cook on relatively low heat for a long time and you will be very happy with the results.

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I ran into the slow cooking idea once many years ago. It was not a crock pot, and if one had been available, it would have been useless because, where I was, there was no electricity. I was far out in the bush of Papua New Guinea. The village I was staying in for just one evening and night was having a community meal in honor of the group I was trekking with.


Women brought fruits and vegetables, which I cannot now identify, to contribute to the meal. They grew them in their own gardens out in the bush. Someone dug a hole in the ground. Others brought hot rocks from a fire and lined the hole. Women brought palm leaves to place over the hot rocks. All of this was done quickly so the rocks wouldn’t have a chance to cool down. Then the vegetables and fruit were placed in the hole. More palm leaves covered the fruits and vegetables. Men covered the leaves with soil, and the fruits and vegetables were left to cook underground.

Slow cooking is nothing new. It is an ancient method of preparing food.

I’ve prepared pork tenderloin, beef pot roast, a whole chicken roaster, and pork chops. Each one lasts from five to seven days. What are the benefits of this kind of food preparation?

Today, I bought pork chops, on sale, for $1.79 per pound. The total cost was $14.32. Other ingredients cost $14.00. So $28.32 for food that will last me about six days. That is $4.72 per day. At a restaurant, a single meal would cost me at least two and a half times that amount.

Deliveroo Cyclist in London

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Why do I bring up restaurants? Because people like me who live on the road, live off restaurant food. Have you heard of Grub Hub? They deliver food from a wide variety of restaurants to your door. Did you know Uber now delivers restaurant food to your home? Travelers like me live on this stuff. Two large pizzas from Papa Johns would cost me $38. After a day or so, it tastes like crap. But a whole week of high-quality food made in the crock pot was $28. Yes, I love my crock pot.

It's Not Pretty, But It Was Good

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I am a modern nomad, wandering my country in search of beauty, wonder, and the grandest display mother nature has presented. Along the way, I like to enjoy myself by making good food. My dog, Darby, loves the bones.

So you aren’t a traveler like me. You have a home. You have a kitchen. I envy you. I really do. But I'll make do with my portable table, my pots, pans and dishes, my skillet, and my beloved crock pot. I love my food.

Bless you, my good friends.

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    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      3 weeks ago

      I'm not sure whether to feel good or bad. Lol. I do almost all of my cooking with a crock pot because that is the only way I know how to cook a decent meal. Chop things up and put it in the pot....five to eight hours later, a fantastic meal suddenly appears. The only other thing I make that is sort of okay is fried potatoes and bacon for breakfast and the occasional salad with salmon for dinner. And I have a permanent place to live in!

      Anyhoo, I guess I won't spend too much time worrying about the fact that I'm no Julia Child. But I suspect you could be, Chris, if you ever decided to stay put.

      I'm not a big traveler, but I relate to your article, nonetheless. ;)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris

      We know the crockpot very well, and the slow cooked over hot rocks here is the traditional Maori way of cooking.

      There are places here where the Earth's crust is so thin that all you do is dig a hole, cover the food and let it slow cook, its delicious!

      By the way, its Maori name is a 'Hangi'

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Bill, after six years of traveling constantly, it is hard to consider settling down. Even after I retire, I will continue to be on the road. I'll live in a small travel trailer. I will likely be in your area at some point. I love the northwest.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      God bless you, buddy. I couldn't do it. Not that I can't handle hardships, because I can, but because i need routine and normalcy to maintain my sanity. :) Stay safe out there, and if you are ever traveling through Olympia.......

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Doris, my next purchase will likely be an induction plate. After that, I will consider either and insta pot or an air fryer. I need something that replaces baking. I'm inclined to think the air fryer, without oil, would be the best. But I am not turning away any suggestions. My goal is to move into my travel trailer in the fall and not have a traditional kitchen. That means the oven/stove top will not exist. My other pieces will replace those two items. The open space will be filled with an extra large sink. I'm tired of washing things in the bathtub.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 months ago from Beautiful South

      Chris, I saw your comment about the Insta pot. I want one of those, too, since our pressure cooker conked out. I forgot to put that on the list with my cookware. The "special" cookware for the induction plate is anything plain stainless steel, no aluminum or copper. No special expensive brands are required. I don't think coated cookware like nonstick qualifies either.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      My lifestyle is free-flowing with few commitments to tie me down. In about four months, I'll buy a truck and travel trailer. I'll continue to wander the country until I retire. Then I'll keep wandering, but will stop doing my laboratory work. I'll just go where I want when I want. I'll write my articles and stories and meet people wherever I go. I might even park the truck and trailer and hop over to the UK and beyond for a while. It is strange to think of such a life as "mapped out". But maybe it is. If He has things for me to do along the way, then I'm available. Thanks for the visit, manatita. It's good to see you again.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      3 months ago from london

      I need to save, like you. I spend too much on food. Interesting life-style. Looks like He has mapped out a special path for you. May you be well. Om Shanti!!

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Linda, Darby is an amazing companion. He simply knows when I am not doing well emotionally. When I am struggling with the loss of my wife, he knows. When I am dealing with the fact that I am alone in life, he knows. He cries and whines. He stares at me while I try to come to terms with my emotions. I traveled without Darby for nearly six years. He has been with me for a little over one year. I do not want to go back to my time without him.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting article that is also thought provoking. I enjoyed reading about your nomadic life. Darby must be a great companion during your travels.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      I am now googling "instapots". I must have one. Anything that will do more functions yet using less energy and space is the choice for me.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Elijah, regarding enlightenment, I will not expect it, but I will watch for the possibility. You are a brother who brings light at every opportunity. My thanks to you.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Paula, since I have no idea where you are in upstate New York, I will say that I am about 324 miles or 5.2 hours from you now. Sleep tonight and leave with the home cooked meal in the morning at about 9 am. That will get you to Lowell, MA at around 2:30 pm. Perfect. This will likely be the closest I get to you since NY has it's own silly licensing for my profession. Same people do the work, but they jus pay a little extra to do it in your state. No thanks. Same with Florida. Well, I may bend a bit with Florida because of the weather in January compared to Michigan, my home state.

      I'm afraid Darby is a very spoiled dog. But he has maintained his youthful, 70 pound figure since the day I got him. Likewise, I have...Sorry...soup is calling. Must turn off the smoke alarm. I'll talk to you later.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Eric, my dear friend. I know better. You would put yourself in danger at a moments notice, but not your son's. Whatever hike you set out on, may your strength be multiplied, may your steps be lively, and may your vision be filled with unimaginable wonder.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 months ago from Central Florida

      Chris, thanks for this glimpse into your life. I knew your job has you travelling quite frequently, but wasn't sure to what extent. It sounds like you never know what your accommodations will be.

      What exactly is a histology technician? Since you work at each place short term, who pays for your housing?

      I'd love to learn more about your lifestyle.

    • Matthew Scherer profile image

      Matthew Scherer 

      3 months ago from Corpus Christi

      This was a fascinating read, I've always been enamored by people who live on the road! Definitely an interesting series I will be following!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      3 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Well pork chops and stewed slices of yellow squash and zucchini do look quite good to me. Oh I love pizza, but all that bread could affect my youthful figure. Heh.

      And no doubt pizza doesn't taste so wonderful the next day. Certainly not the day after the next.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      3 months ago from Washington DC

      Chris, "All are called but few are chosen" to become enlightened so unless you are chosen to enlightenment continue as you are, the incarnation for choosing you will come.

      In answering "I will seek to suffer so others can prosper. Is this the way? Is this enlightenment?"

      No, suffering is not enlightenment. None of that was suffering, it was enduring the education I needed to become enlightened since I had answered YES to the call to become. We are to follow our schooling "to be stuff dependent" until we hear the call to become enlightened, then have the option to endure until enlightened or reject the call. However, I don't believe anyone will be willing to forsake the call once they hear it because until that call we are tadpoles, upon accepting the call we are conceived like tadpoles begin to change and after gestation we are "born anew" like tadpoles becoming frogs and no longer human and woman but "man aka sons of god".

      We have no say-so, we can make the transition willfully as the "five wise virgins" who survives in Armageddon or unwillingly like the five foolish virgins who discarnates in "the battle of that greatly of God Almighty" as civilization ends; but we will do it!!!!

      Peace.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I think you have this working and traveling in the road figured out. I do not like fast food much, and it typically is not that healthy. Good restaurants are expensive. Your grocery bill is tolerable.

      I would take my InstaPot, which I received for my birthday in Feb. It sautes, works as a crock pot, and I can pressure cook meat and vegetables with little effort on my part in a half hour or less.

      I really enjoyed your article of living on the road, and even having a work table is great. This is a very interesting read.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Chris....You mean you're not just another pretty face?? Wow, you are clever, creative and definitely resourceful! I'm impressed and I commend you for taking care to eat well despite being a "nomad."

      In terms of living on the move...you seem to be a one-man band!

      Tell you what, if ever you're in my part of the country.....I'll personally deliver you a home-cooked meal, just because you're cute and I like you! Believe me, I don't cook any more these days for just anyone! Does Darby get to share or just plain ole dog food for him?? LOL Peace, Paula

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I found this a great read, Chris. It is actually a lifestyle that many would envy. We bought a motor home/bus converted to spend more time travelling around but have only done a few weekend trips away so far. Still, we have it set up well with an electric stove, battery powered/solar refrigerator, gas cooktop, air con, porta loo etc. So, all set for if we do go on an extended trip.

      We have always had a crock pot (great invention) and a convection turbo oven that can cook anything the crockpot can't. Cheers.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      WARNING: This hike is no joke. Make sure you do your research, know what to expect, the weather forecast, and be properly equipped and in proper shape before attempting this trail. AND FOR GODS SAKE, DON’T TRY THIS HIKE IN THE SUMMER TIME.

      Well My boy and I are planning this hike. Funny but they can land a chopper anywhere to get you out. What risk is that? Don't tell my youngster.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Elijah, I feel like an imposter, calling myself a nomad, when you have lived that life for decades. My life is different from that of most Americans, but really, I don't sacrifice much. I have food, clothing, and shelter. I never lack any of these three necessities. You have seen periods of want. I will seek to truly experience a lack of necessities. It will be difficult because I make enough money to cover all my needs. So I will ignore my needs. I will sacrifice for the gain of others. I will seek to suffer so others can prosper. Is this the way? Is this enlightenment?

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      3 months ago from Washington DC

      Gee wee, Chris, You carry a lot of stuff for a nomad. I was exclusively a walking nomad, unless someone offered me a ride, from 1977 until deported back from Belize in February 1980. Then after 1 year working a for a Cattle rancher of dairy and beef cattle in Iowa I again walked to NYC where I transformed into NatureBoy until January '84. After a bus trip from there to San Fran, CA. I returned to walking unless offered rides 7 months a year and wintering in Louisiana until the end of '98. There were times I only had the clothes on my back and other times as much as a 50 pound backpack with tent, sleeping bag, a few changes of my brand of shorts [photo], a few times Peanut Butter, honey and bread and other things found along the way. My question is how was I supposed go carry all of that around with me.

      Before and after the cattle rancher the only money I got was found along the highways or given me without my asking. That, my friend, is a nomad so you were correct saying you were "nomadic", so that caused me to live off unprocessed berries, fruit, grains, nuts and plants which eliminated the need for utensils.

      I enjoyed the reading, we both shows just how little one needs to survive, thanks for sharing yours.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Ruby, If you can't find the crock pot, they are a dime a dozen at thrift stores. That's good for you and me, but it is sad that the original owners didn't see their benefit. Thank you for visiting. I'll stop by your hubs soon.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Doris, ok, let's leave out the part about your husband and talk about your size 8 petite figure...I'm only kidding so relax. haha. I'd give anything to have a size 8 petite figure now.

      You are most gracious. Thank you for your kind words. I looked at the induction hotplate. I didn't know if it was right for me. You make me think maybe it is. I'll reconsider. I did notice it requires specific cookware. That's fine as long as it produces what I need.

    • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Mills 

      3 months ago from Dallas, Texas through August 23, 2019.

      Eric, My life and style may look appealing. To a certain extent, I think it is true. But look at your own life. Your wife. Your little son. Your older children. You have traditions. You have connections with people who love you. Ok, I'll trade places with you for a month. haha. Just keep being who you are. You are marvelous.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 months ago from Beautiful South

      Chris, the title alone attracted me without seeing your name as author. I really loved your article and think you are a practical, innovative man in more ways than one. Your dish looks delicious to me. I found your methods of cooking very similar to the economy cook I was forced to become as a single mother of teenage boys years ago, and that we still practice today.

      The crockpot came first to my kitchen, and I loved it. Roasts, soups, stews, even barbecued chicken really stretched our budget. I was sad the day that 1976 Rival gave up the ghost about 5 years ago. I'm also sad that they no longer make a 3 qt. model. I have them in 2 qt., 4 qt, and 6 qt. (a gift from a friend) models and none seem to be the right size. Since then I've added a convection toaster oven and a NuWave induction "hot plate." An induction hot plate is a good substitute for a slow cooker and is great for regular cooking, too, so I suggest you might add one to your kitchen repertoire, especially when your crockpot gives up the ghost. Granted, they take special cookware, but our favorite pot is a stainless steel combination double boiler steamer we bought at WalMart for around $40. Very practical because it's 3 pans in one. I gave my brother the set for Christmas because he'd worn out the pan that came with his NuWave.

      Kudos to your for being a practical man instead of taking years off your life with fast food. Today my husband and I have to do our own cooking and rarely eat out because I am both dairy and wheat allergic. It also helps this old lady keep her size 8 petite figure. Did I say it was a great article?

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just stop it Chris. You opened floodgates of memories. Remember the notion of Europe on 5$ a day? My danged camp stove won't work above 4500 feet so I "get" to do dishes in the river instead of cook. REI is in big trouble;-)

      I so admire and envy your life and style. I see that you have published and pull up a good rock around the campfire and savor the stories. Bless you friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I disagree, the chop dish looked yummy. Your article reminded me that I have a crock pot and it is a good way to cook, so I've got to dig it out from somewhere. Interesting way to live...

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