Writer Without a Clause: My Nomadic Kitchen
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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.