AKA Feeding a Hungry Triathlete Part II, or How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #9: Save money by cooking in your bathroom.
This post is dedicated to my Mom, whose primary concern is that I’m not eating enough, whether I am at home or overseas. She actually sent a large boxful of food (and toiletries) ahead of me, and it was happily waiting for me when I arrived in Manila. Well Mom, I quickly went through the 4 boxes of cereal, and recently finished the big jar of almond butter, the cans of salmon, and tuna packets. I’m over halfway done with the Nutella, almonds and walnuts, and beef jerkey supply (which gets the thumbs up from Coach). As for the toiletries, I didn’t really need 3 tubes of toothpaste, 4 bottles of hand sanitizer, 5 tubes of sunblock, 2 bottles of contact solution, or a whole year’s supply of mouthwash. And I stopped washing my own clothes after the first week, so the jug of laundry detergent is hanging out under the sink as well. But I will be sure to find good homes for all of them!
oh, and check out the American-sized Nutella (from Costco of course), versus the Filipino-sized Nutella:
Each of our rooms comes equipped with a water kettle for boiling water to make tea, much like how most American hotels come with a coffee maker. I hear these are good for boiling eggs and making pasta, but lucky me, my Mom hid a better one from home (with a larger opening) in my bike box, pictured below. We can blame her for why my bike box was over the weight limit. This is a fabulous little kettle for boiling water to make oatmeal (which is waaaay cheaper than buying boxed cereal), and will boil eggs and vegetables.
Here’s the bathroom kitchen set-up. All that counter space was practically begging to be made into a kitchen!
I got tired of eating boiled vegetables with tuna after a couple weeks, so my Pinay sister from another mother, Ria, lent me her electric hot plate. This hot plate totally makes me the envy of all the other TBB freshmen, even Mat who has a gas stove and a huge refrigerator in his apartment. Now, to the 5 people reading this blog, please don’t snitch on me… We are going to be quiet about this hot plate in my bathroom, because while hotel management hasn’t ever actually told me I *can’t* cook in my bathroom with a hot plate, it does magically go into hiding when housekeeping comes in on Tuesdays. It’s probably one of those things where it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, like when getting a body piercing or bringing home a new dog. (right, Mom? right? hahahaha)
I made the executive decision to not deal with any raw meat, as our refrigerator is a tiny little mini bar that doesn’t stay as cold as a real fridge, and I didn’t want raw meat mingling too closely to my produce. There will be no food poisoning from the Hotel Bathroom Restaurant. Over the weeks I’ve learned which vegetables keep the best and cook the easiest. I stopped getting spinach, other leafy green veggies, and bean sprouts because they go bad fast, and potatoes take way too long to boil. Cucumbers and tomatoes make an easy salad, and I’ve been eating a ton of eggplant and green beans (or baguio beans which are like local green beans). Actually I wonder if I will turn purple from eating so much eggplant, like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?? My protein when dining in my room comes from: tuna in a packet, salmon in a can, eggs, beef jerkey, and sometimes chicken in a can (it is rare to find the version here that is lean white meat in water not oil, I bought out the 3-can supply in the Freeport Exchange grocery).
Spices and flavorings are from oyster sauce (a Chinese cooking STAPLE), teriyaki marinade, and spice packets like Kare-kare peanut sauce, and a curry blend with coconut milk powder. And green onions and garlic. I do a lot of stir-fries and experiment a little. The eggplant and green beans get boiled up a little in the kettle before getting thrown on the 88-peso frying pan. Here are some of my concoctions:
Eggplant and tuna scrambled with a couple eggs and green onions:
Baguio beans and salmon in peanut sauce:
Green beans and eggplant with teriyaki salmon and walnuts. Thumbs up!
Eggplant and tuna and egg in coconut curry. Um, this was really my only weird dish (mixing the egg and curry sauce made it too…GOOPY) but I ate it anyway.
Eggplant and tomato in peanut sauce with teriyaki chicken. Yummy.
Sometimes I am too tired to cook, and we go out for dinner maybe every other night. That’s when I get excited about steak, and chicken, and fresh seafood! And the occasional pizza. MMM. Yellow Cab is my favorite pizza place here–unfortunately Sandy’s Pizza doesn’t have a branch out here in Subic yet (that’s Rick’s sister’s pizza place in San Juan). Mmmm…my fave is her Thai chicken pizza, but I will have to settle for the BBQ chicken pizza at Yellow Cab. Honestly though it can be faster to whip up something in the bathroom kitchen than walk to a restaurant, order and wait for meal to be served. If the reality TV show idea is a bomb, I can always host a cooking show for triathletes. I actually rather enjoy cooking in my bathroom–see I have a little bit of “domestic goddess” in me, and it reminds me of my mom too! Also I don’t think she (or various ex-boyfriends) actually believe I can cook as she does all the cooking at home.
OK! Do you feel better now Mom? see, I’m eating! and see, I really can cook!
for fun, here is a picture of me and a monkey checking each other out. You can feed a hungry triathlete, but there shall be NO FEEDING THE MONKEYS!!