Sunday, April 27, 2003

Food & Car Living
I admit it... I hate to cook. Also, I love the sublime pleasure of lazily loafing in a cafe.... munch some food... people watch.... write.... read.... observe. At this point in the hobovan experiment, food is my biggest expense. I could eat MUCH more cheaply if I chose... as I proved in the winter when I was broke and hungry. So the following is not necessarily what I am doing now... more "do as I say and not as I do" sort of advice:

When I was dead broke I had to make every food penny count. My mainstays were dried apricots and almonds. In addition, I worked out a barter arrangement to get free coffee/tea at a local coffee shop.... I added plenty of milk to boost protein intake. I also bought protein shakes or bars when I could afford them. For basic calories/carbs, I ate ramen noodles. This was not an ideal diet, but I survived on it. When barely getting by, I highly recommend taking (at least) a good multi-vitamin. Its hard to get all the nutrients you need when you are dead broke... so a little supplementation is a good investment.

Far better is to buy fresh produce daily. I have a double-cooler for food storage... a small cooler nestled inside a larger one. I rarely use it however, as its easier to buy fruit & veggies when I need them and eat them that same day. In general, I find that raw foods are more convenient, and healthier, than anything I can cook. When I do cook, I use a camping stove and my camping cookpot. I typically cook rice, couscous, or noodles.... to which I add veggies, soy sauce, various spices, etc... Cooking is much healthier and much cheaper than eating out. Never cook inside your vehicle, as the Carbon Monoxide will probably kill you... I go to a park and use a picnic table.

Finally, getting a part-time job at a restaurant is a great way to make money while reducing expenses.... I work the lunch shift at a sandwich shop and thus get all my lunches free (on weekdays). This saves me a considerable amount of money.

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