Sunday, March 25, 2018

My Overseas Kitchen

I'm not someone who loves to cook.  However, we have to eat and so I spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen.

In our remote location, packaged food is expensive and availability is sporadic; this is particularly true for chilled and frozen items.  So we do a lot of cooking from scratch.  To make it easier to feed the family, I have a lot more gadgets and appliances than I would if I lived in my home country.  Let me introduce you to some of them:

The first is the water filter:


Although the rain water that we drink is clean, it might not be so pure after it's landed on our roof and poured through the gutters.  As well as drinking the filtered water directly, we also use it to make milk from powder. (Boxed UHT milk is a special treat ;-))



Beans (eg black beans, navy beans) are cheap; we eat a lot of them!  But it's a challenge to cook them at 5000 feet, especially if they are already old by the time I use them.  This is where the pressure cooker comes in.  To make baked beans, I soak the beans overnight and then cook them for 25 minutes in the pressure cooker:

Sometimes I'll throw potatoes, carrots and chicken into the pressure cooker for an easy one-pot meal.

My rice cooker originally belonged to a Japanese family.  Fortunately a previous owner translated the labels into English:

Rice is cheap and easily available.  We eat it; we feed it to our friends; when dog food becomes unavailable, we feed it to our animals.  I'll also cook rice in the oven, in the pressure cooker or, of course, on the stove.  (Yes, we do have a regular oven, microwave and kettle in addition to these other gadgets.)

Friday night is popcorn and smoothie night for us.  Unpopped corn and bananas are cheap and plentiful so, with the assistance of the blender and popcorn maker, I can put together a cheap and easy meal:


There are challenges living in a community where people come and go so often.  An advantage though is that used items often come up for sale when people leave!  This how we obtained the appliances in the above two photos.  Many appliances sold by other missionaries were originally bought in the US; this means that a transformer (the large, clumpy, metal thing) is needed to run them. 

Other items we've acquired over the last 12+ years include a tortilla maker, waffle maker, sandwich maker, immersion blender and slow cooker.  All of these help me keep producing food in a place where I can't just pop something into the oven at the end of long day.

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