(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Nothing beats a home cooked meal in a foreign country with exotic ingredients (bought at the super expensive expat store). There is a pleasure (for me) to have friends sitting around the table instead of at the 'Chinese' in Ampara, Khana Khazana in Kampala, or Mocca in Khosar Market in Islamabad. I am pleased to say that I have managed a Thanksgiving dinner of some sort while away from home. First one away from home was in Sri Lanka and my drivers brought me five wild turkeys (alive and probably possibly perhaps mayhaps someone's pets). They were small turkeys so five was a good number. The other American in town was from Texas and therefore, two of the turkeys were fried...whole. Luckily he was not industrious and adventurous enough to find all his ingredients for a turducken. Me and thanksgivings around the world is another story.
People travel with their different must have's (a teddy bear, photos of family, yoga mat, kindle, favourite pair of PJs) and my must have's ALWAYS include kitchen items. Chances are if I am living in a house that has a kitchen and a stove, I will be cooking. My must have's that I don't leave it up to chance that the local markets will have, include:
A proper knife. If you don't own one, being in a kitchen sucks. When you DO have one, oh my oh my oh my. BRING IT. I have dreams of all my knives one day being only Wusthof but that day is still far away. Good luck explaining it at customs if you get caught going through the green channel.
Salt and Peppercorn mill. These are separate devices for separate spices. I love the Drogheria & Alimentari line of products since they are easy to carry and they really can transform a meal. Plus, the pepper corns are all such pretty colours that they just make you happy. Just look at that photo...it's like a private fiesta in a bottle.
Sesame Oil. This is only necessary to travel with OUTSIDE of South East Asia, obviously. Quick, easy meals that have a certain j'ne c'est quai to them. You can find them in expat super markets (you can in Khosar market) but I prefer the organic and non generic type.
Agave Nectar. I have a thing against white sugar and really love using the agave as a sub.
Tea--Two Leaves and a Bud. So just by the pretentious name you already know this isn't just ANY kind of tea...it's...pretentious and really good. Love that it's organic and strong and the chamomile is the best I've had (and I know my chamomile tea...)
Herbes de Provence. This is a great catch all spice. Simply Organic makes a range of spices etc which are awesome because they can come in v pretty larger glass bottles (long term mission) or v handy small plastic thingies (short term mission).
That's my short mission (three month) list. Curious to know if people travel with kitchen/food items as well (or am I the crazy person?) or what are some of the challenges they have to eating healthy while on mission. I am taking nori with me on my next mission/travel. Chock full of amazing minerals and nutrients and like crisps/chips. Sure as hell beats eating the ubiquitous Pringles...
I am studying to be a health coach and my target market is humanitarians. Plan is to post on AidSource regularly with tips and hints and ways in which we can all keep healthy while in the field. Like anything, you need to make sure your kitchens have what they need in order to actually function...in my book, cooking comes first, nutrition second.
Please do leave comments as I really am curious to see what people take with them for kitchens/cooking...I am convinced if I do, others do!