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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Frugal Cooking in a Hotel Room During the COVID19 Pandemic

International traveling in Pandemic Times has been interesting.
Got my first COVID19 test. Obviously, it was negative. I was relieved, 14 months of taking precautions paid off.

When I left, both my states were following similar COVID19 patterns of precautions, vaccinations, and reopenings.
In early May 2021, both states were partially reopened. It was interesting to see how individual businesses handled their own partial reopening. For example, in some the places I visited upon arrival like Popeye's and Chik-fil-la there was no in-store seating but at TGIF and other restaurants there was partial indoor seating. Each establishment had clearly marked methods for customer movements to maintain safe distances as well as mask requirements and bottles of hand sanitizers for customer use.
At the hotel, there was a minimal number of staff, I had to be my own bellgirl.

Sadly, my planning for this trip was poor in many areas and I paid a price for that mistake. But, it was definitely a learning experience.
While I knew I’d be staying at a hotel for awhile, I forgot to figure in food expenses and fast food here is expensive and not always healthy.
For example:

Fast Food
$4.29US 1 Chicken Sandwich ($85.39MX @ 19.90)
$2.29 1 Lg Soda ($45.58)
$10.09 1 Bowl of Chicken Salad ($200.86)
$2.99 1 Can of Chickpeas ($59.52)
$2.69 1 Can Baked Beans ($53.55)

$54.50 ($1084.91)
Sample Grocery Prices:
$1.89 1 Large Can of Greens
$1.99 1 Bag of Salad Greens
$3.89 1 Can Chicken (store receipt may be in error)

Not shown, 3 small bags of salad mixes and
2 cans of 7-11 beans.
While I had s/p, sugar, mayo, ketchup, and mustard from carryin meals, couldn’t decide whether to get a spice or which one. I knew I’d miss cinnamon but all I got was a small “lime” of lime juice. Will wait, maybe an idea will come to mind. Later, I used jelly as a spice.

Since I had not planned to “cook” in my room, I had to make do with items in the coffee/tea supplies and any carryin meal items as utensils, plates, and microwave containers. (Sadly, carryin materials equaled massive waste.)
I estimated with the groceries, I could make a minimum of 30 servings, including: fruit, chicken, sardine, or salmon timbales; scrambled egg bread puddings or sandwiches; overnight oats with fruit or jelly; soup and crackers; fruit parfaits; mug O'Banana cake; banana split; mini-cheesecakes; chicken or salmon crazy salads; salsas, fruit lassis; poached egg on plain bread; and more.
I was thrilled, my Chicken Timbale came out great, 2 Tsps canned chicken, 2 Tsps greens, 2 Tsps mushroom soup, 1 egg, 1 torn slice bread, pepper, lime juice, a dollop milk, microwave 3 minutes. Accompanied with hotel tea. Observation: the softer the bread, the more “pudding” like the Timbale.

Really proud of my in-room Crazy Salad with chicken, beets, pineapple chunks, Greens, and peanuts, with wheat crackers and a side of carryin dressing.

Those wheat crackers really came in handy. They made great snacks. Snacks are my weaknesses, so instead of chips, buttered popcorn or snack packs, the crackers were a better choice.
I got lucky, during my five-week stay, most of my meals were made in my hotel room. I kept my carryin and restaurant meals to a minimum. But, I did splurge, in the beginning, with hotel marketplace items. It took me awhile to figure out that the item selection was almost identical to 7-11 items but more expensive. Big lesson.
My favorite in-room meal was pineapple overnight oats.

You can see how useful the hotel soup cans were.
One thing I noticed was the taste of tap water in my state still tastes terrible, so I got an idea, get a bucket of ice and soon it will be water. It worked. The water tasted much better. Also, much better than buying bottles of water.
I enjoyed taking public transit, masks required. In this area of my state, public transit was readily available. But, I was very surprised that the subway was virtually empty every time I took a ride.
As the days passed, the state lowered their pandemic precautions, I could see the effects as more establishments began to hire more people and relaxed some of their precautions. By the time I left, the state had fully reopened and more people were going maskless.

Because I had come to get vaccinated and the timeframe for the 2-dose vaccine was longer than I expected, I did not stop wearing my mask or taking precautions.

I will continue to wear my mask and take precautions in my states until I am assured that the COVID19 pandemic is over. I do this to protect others.
After I got home, I revised my basic hotel groceries list for use at home and for any future need to cook in a hotel or rented room.
Basic Groceries:
2 Cans of fruit
1 Large Box of Raisins
2 Bananas
1 Cucumber
Can of Chicken
Can of Sardines
Can of Salmon
Can of Greens
Can of Mixed Vegetables
1 Lg Bottle of Salsa
1 Loaf of bread
1 Carton of Eggs
1 Carton of Oats
1 Jar of Jelly
1-2 Cans of Soup
1 Carton of Milk or Pkg of Dry Milk or
1 Carton Coconut Creme
1 Brick of Hard Cheese
1 Medium Yogurt
1 Box of crackers
1 Pkg Turkey lunchmeat
1 Pkg Veg Bouillon
1 Lg Pkg Nuts
1 Container of honey
Spices: Black pepper, Cinnamon, lime juice
Luxury Items:
1 Jar Peanut Butter
Chia seeds
1-2 Pkgs Cream Cheese
1 Jar Mayo

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