Saturday, January 17, 2009
Eating in Canberra
The beautiful leafy-green ANU Campus.
As I alluded to in my last post, my cooking situation here leaves something to be desired. I received a grant to come here, which covers room and board at one of the colleges (dorms) on the ANU campus. When I told the grant-givers that I am vegan, they made sure to book me a self-catering college. The president of the organisation picked me up from the bus station and gave me a pile of groceries and some basic cooking utensils. She’s been really fantastic.
But, regardless of how accommodating the grant-givers are, the fact is that I am stuck in a kitchen where I am provided with one small cabinet and one refrigerator drawer. That, plus stoves, ovens, microwaves and toasters is all that is provided by the college. Since I’m only here for three weeks, it’s not worth going out and stocking up on everything I would like to have. So I’ve been eating some very basic meals.
The kitchen set up here in my college.
It hasn’t been all bad. One day I went out for lunch with a friend and I got the special of the day—minus the ham and the cheese. It’s a deliciously thin and chewy pizza base topped with tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, and Spanish onions. I usually shy away from onions on pizza, but these were really yummy.
So here’s a question—if you had one saucepan, one skillet, a can opener, a knife and chopping board as your only cooking tools, what would you buy to stock your kitchen?
The first batch of groceries provided by the organisation was good but basic—sweet potatoes, apples, broccoli, soy milk, muesli, chickpeas, lentils, pasta, tahini, peanut butter and bread.
The next day I went out and got some oil, onions, garlic, soy sauce, tomato puree, and carrots. And that’s all I had for the next few days. I dreaded dinnertime because I had nothing with any flavour.
On Thursday I finally got out to a better supermarket and stocked up on a few more items. Fresh seaweed salad and soba noodles from an asian grocery were first. Then I got some Amy’s Lentil Soup, bananas, reduced-to-clear soy yogurt, tempeh, rice, veggie sausages, and a few other treats. To add some much needed flavour to my meals, I grabbed some dukkah—a bit expensive, but well worth it, in my opinion.
I also grabbed a pack of these vegan, gluten free biscuits. They are filled with jam and cream, and are delicious.
And for a last little treat, since I’m working hard here (most of the time), some of my favourite chocolate.
I’m happy with the way my mini-pantry is stocked now, but I’m curious what you all would fill your one cabinet and one fridge drawer with!