Depends where I am and what kind of cuisine I’m cooking, but my go-tos for short stays are garlic or onion powder, black pepper, and cumin. I also frequently buy fresh basil and other herbs at farmer’s markets when I can get them. You can also buy really tasty oils (truffle oil, for instance) and use them over the course of a month or two without wasting any/much.
Just tossing out some fast, super-protein-packed go-to’s…
a bag of hearty greens mixed with white beans and oil-packed tuna/sardines/salmon (especially sardines “in something” like piquillo peppers or whatever) can actually make for a super healthy meal.
tuna and white beans on their own isn’t precisely delicious but if you have some Italian dressing, it’ll do.
if you can heat up stuff: a can black beans, shredded cheese, then top with half a jar of salsa and, if you have it, half an avocado.
I have a bag of Kosher salt in my backpack but one can get their hands on salt, pepper and hot sauce a lot of places … any of the above can be doctored as condiments are available.
I know enough about myself to know that co-living won’t work for me. Can’t concentrate when other people are around. I’ll just want to party all the time. Being by myself, I can control my time. I find that living with people, it becomes like a frat house. Once the Party Voltron assembles, it’s really difficult to say no.
I’m a trained chef, so happy to cook for everybody if we’re ever in the same place! In some cities, it makes sense to eat out because food is cheap, tasty and plentiful. But in other cities, you can save a lot of money if you cook for yourself. I usually cook breakfast and dinner, and grab lunch out. Master a few basic go-to dishes like noodles, rice, omelettes, baked chicken, broiled salmon, etc…and you can change it up, based on whatever local ingredients are available. That way, you don’t have to buy a lot of different proteins or spices (salt & pepper are all you really need and you can get that anywhere). Always buy fresh, local breads and cheeses - they’re the best. And finally, don’t be afraid to eat local produce - it’s actually very rare to get sick from fresh fruits and veggies. In terms of equipment, you should be able to get by with one saucepan, a medium size pot, a good chef’s knife (CAN NOT CARRY ON A PLANE - MUST CHECK), a veg peeler, tongs, spatula and one place setting (plate, bowl, mug, utensils). Anything else is useless.
i do miss having a good knife.
This is huge topic for me. How to get a healthy supply of fruits and veggies esp. in Asia? Bayer AG is selling endosulfan products all over asia. Even so-called organic produce is like 50% likely to be contaminated. Thailand is the worst. There’s “safer” varieties, like cabbage, e.g. , melons. I’ve been thinking to buy local electric steamers (20 bucks) And perhaps trying to travel with KTec blender-coconut milk, alfalfa sprouts, banana, mint, with some USA superfood powders. I dunno.
I found a miniscule, teeny, weeny locally sourced organic once a month farmers market in Penang, connected to Real Food Restaurant,and a cool organic cafe inside Nin Bus Depot Art Gallery.