Chef Jeff

A few of you have probably heard that I’m back in Stockholm now for about a month to tie up some loose ends, finish up my classes, etc. The trip over was, as usual, uneventful, but I think I’ve finally given up on trying to sleep on flights over to Europe. It never seems to work. I’m better off just staying up the whole time, making sure I stay up the next day no matter how tired I am, and get to bed at a normal time and all is right with the world on day 2. So be it. It means I can watch more movies (I got to check out the Oscar contenders Michael Clayton and Atonement on the way over … they were both excellently done … planes may be the only way I see movies anymore).

But anyway, thats not what I really wanted to discuss. I wanted to continue the trend of food related posting. It’s often a goal of the backpacking types (i.e. us) to cook meals while on the road to accomplish a couple of things: reduce costs, feel more like a local and at home, venture into some “less touristy” areas, etc. I think reduce costs might be the main one. Now I have always kind of gone along with this mantra, but really thought of it in the more idealized sense (kind of like many Americans treat cooking their own food … a rarity).

But I’m proud to say that with minimal ingredients and minimal effort (and minimal costs) I have managed to do my own cooking so far over here and been very pleased with the results. And we’re not talking ramen here. I’ve been having salami and brie sandwiches for lunch (one of my favorites ever). Last night I prepared some pasta with some homemade sauce combining crushed tomatoes, brie for creaminess, arugula for spice and meatballs for, well, meat. I had a delicious spinach and arugula salad two nights ago. Tonight I made tacos (though I was missing mexican cheese … ’twas a shame). And I’ve got some barbecue pork ribs and our chorizo soup in mind soon too. All easy to make and without needing many ingredients or time to prepare. And a lot cheaper than eating out in Stockholm, where meals start at $25 and McDonald’s is at least $10. I just thought I would share my success with all of you. I’d have taken pictures for some nice food porn for everyone, but I was too busy eating =).  Point is, it’s a very doable thing, me being able to pull it off proves that beyond a doubt. We’ll see how well it carries on over the whole month though, my enthusiasm for cooking has been known to wane quickly.

The one issue I’ve noticed, though, is what to do with leftovers. Fortunately, there’s a fair bit of tupperware around here for me to put my things in, but that’s not likely the case at hostels/budget hotels. I guess you just have to eat it all in one sitting. Or carry around a big plastic case with you. Or give it to all the poor, dirty and hungry fellow travelers.

The other thing I’m enjoying about staying here right now is that any time of day or night I’m literally steps away from a machine who’s sole job it is to make me a cup of delicious hot chocolate (it makes coffee for the Swedes, but I don’t drink that stuff). So culinarily, I’m living pretty good right now.