Thursday, March 17, 2011

Food Cost of "Luxury" and A Magic Kitchen Toy

I spent close to 200 pesos yesterday. About half was just trying to break a 500 peso note- not easy here. The rest was on (overpriced) water, a soda, and more than my share for communal dinner last night.

Which sounds bad. Actually, if "more than my share" of dinner was more than 15 pesos I might be more upset, but it was only about 25 pesos, and dinner fed 9 people for about 10 pesos each, so it's not that big a deal (spaghetti alfredo, if you're wondering- and yes, I think cream *is* cheaper here).

But that's not luxury, unless you're on some kind of low-fat diet. For me it was more of a hell (please let my abdomen like this, please oh please, etc), but it tasted good.

No, luxury was cheese and white bread, and a tiny tub of Nutella for us$3.75 or so. Oh, and an avocado, but who counts those anyway. Nutella is magic stuff, by the way. Chocolate-y and melty, and "healthy" and good for breakfast. Not my usual speed, but still pretty good. Worth $3.75 (m$45), I think- when you consider it had to come all the way from Cancun, and from somewhere else before then, it's a pretty good price. But, yeah, total luxury. I'd probably be better off eating potato tacos again.

Kitchen Toy of Magic Shiny-ness

In the hostel kitchen (actually, in many hostel kitchens) they have something called a toasted sandwich maker. They never really caught on in the States, but they're crazy popular pretty much everywhere else. In New Zealand ads for flat-shares would include the toasted sandwich maker on the list of basic mod-cons. Somehow I managed never to use one.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday when I came back with my Bimbo bread and cheese and tomato and onion, I decided to be brave. I decided to use the toasted sandwich maker. ZOMG, it's easy. It's fast. I has a new kitchen love. If/ when I ever have a really for reals home, I am totally putting one in the kitchen there. Maybe even before I add a wok.

It smooshed the bread, and half-sliced it, and melted the cheese, and softened the tomatoes, and toasted the outsides, and I'm sure if I'd thought to spread margarine on the outside it would have even made it better. And it's totally non-stick inside, so I just wiped it out with a kitchen rag after I unplugged it. I has love.

Then I used it again for breakfast. You know how Nutella gets all melty when it's hot? And kinda runny, and just somehow better? Yep, I spread that stuff on (more Bimbo brand) bread, slapped it in the hot sammich maker, and kept the lid shut just long enough to melt the insides and toast the outsides. I bet it'd be even better with the magical speculoos spread (for people who fly Delta, it's a spread made from the same type of cookie as the cinnamony Biscoff cookies they give out). Or, you know, both.

Um, so... yeah, not really a good day for budget eating, but sometimes a bit of "luxury" at home can keep you from wandering over to the pizza place or expensive restaurant, right? Maybe?


  1. I learned to make tiny pizza's in my sandwich maker in college!! Heaven!!

  2. Wait, you can make *pizza* in it???! How? I must know!

  3. Yeah, toasters like that are VERY popular in a lot of places, including the Caribbean. You're more likely to find one of those than, say, a US toast toaster or toaster oven. You can do a lot of things with it, if left with plenty of time.

  4. I have one of those things, and they are everything you say they are.

  5. I know, right? A girl here at the hostel (from Germany) said there was a week once where *every* meal was "cooked" in one. She acted kinda embarrassed, but it's *so much* better than the microwave.

    I've no idea why they really didn't catch on back home- too many other kitchen gadgets, maybe?

  6. It's like a panini press, only less pretentious, which is probably why they aren't as popular in the U.S.

    Oh, nutella. The first time I had it was in 2007 when I was in Africa. We had no refrigeration, and we would make these things we called Hadar Banana Splits - a banana with melted (because of the heat all day) peanut butter and nutella on top. So delicious. Replicating them at home isn't quite the same.

  7. I think *anything* good tastes better in Africa. Because, you know, everything else tastes *sooo bad*.

    Also possible that being on late-night infomercials killed the sammich press. I remember when I first watched one on TV. It was... Um... Nevermind....

  8. J,
    I used italian bread, pizza sauce and cheese. If I was living dangerously, I would put pepperoni slices in as well.

    Good luck,

  9. Oh, I love my sandwich maker. Mostly for grilled cheese or for pizza pockets, but you can use them for a lot of non-sandwich foods too.