Meals That Travel Well

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Jin+Guice
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Meals That Travel Well

Post by Jin+Guice »

I started dating a flight attendant and she's going back to work this week. She's figured out that I'm a cheapskate who is good at cooking so she's been asking me for help making budget food that she can bring when she travels so she doesn't have to buy meals out.

Batch cooking and making food that can be frozen but also won't go bad if it's in and out of refrigeration is not my area of expertise. Beyond the flight attendant specifics, I'm also interested in doing this for camping/ hoboing/ my own travel. Does anyone have any experience in this area? Any specific recipes/ food suggestions or tips for categories of food that would work well for this purpose? Any online resources that y'all know of?

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

i cook all the time but i don’t cook for travel. on the road i’ll usually take some roasted almonds, or peanuts, or cheese, freeze dried vegs & berries, jerky, that sort of thing—nutritious, but not superfun and not a way to impress/seduce a date.

i think for portable, making a batch of empanadas/hand pies would be a fun tasty way to transport a meal, but shelf life is still short.

dammit. good puzzle, this one. lemme mull it over.

what kind of food is she into? what’s the required shelf life?

Jin+Guice
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Jin+Guice »

@Alphavillle: Thanks for the suggestions. She's into pretty much everything. I'm a vegetarian and have been since I was 19, so I'm only going to suggest veg stuff (she's fine with this) and I also have no idea how to cook/ store meat.

Meals> snacks for this because she's basically flying half the time. Volume/ weight is also somewhat of an issue because she's got to fit everything for a week into a limited space and carry that shit around. She'll also have microwave access in hotel rooms, but no other kitchen stuff, so creative microwave stuff is in play. For example, she can cook and bring foods that go on rice and microwave rice in the hotel room.

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

lentils make a good tasty filling for hand pies. potatoes too. but for a week, they’ll rot.

i was looking at my old posts, and DIY granola is a good packable item. just add yogurt (or eat by itself).

so, make yo lady a nice bag of granola. ask her to call you when she’s eating ;)

this is my version: viewtopic.php?p=205690#p205690

but it’s not superclumpy or sweet (i don’t like too sweet, sweet helps clumps)

start from here instead. go crazy:

https://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/how ... eshow.html

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Dream of Freedom »

When flying the air pressure lowers your ability to taste sweet and salty flavors. Go for something with an umami flavor like seafood, mushrooms, or tomatoes

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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by jacob »

Not entirely clear ... does she have access to refrigeration? Intermittent? Cooler box?

(We often cook [vegetarian] for 6-7 days at a time storing it in the fridge and reheating it in the microwave.)

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

Dream of Freedom wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:33 am
When flying the air pressure lowers your ability to taste sweet and salty flavors. Go for something with an umami flavor like seafood, mushrooms, or tomatoes
oh hell yeah, great point. no wonder why i love tomato juice on planes...

Jin+Guice
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Jin+Guice »

@jacob: She's got access to intermittent refrigeration in hotel rooms. The lifecycle of the food is batch cook at home and freeze -> put frozen food into luggage -> go to the airport and fly somewhere -> go to a hotel room and put the food in a refrigerator -> reheat the food in a microwave. This would be repeated several times over the course of a week. It's possible for her to get and use one of those cooler bags and ice packs, but not desirable because those things take up extra space.

@DreamOfFreedom: Thanks for the tip, do you know if that is only true for when you're in the air or are there lingering effects afterwards?

@Alphaville: Thanks for the tip on the granola.

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

yup. i promise it will be fun. here’s the original article btw- links from the slideshow but not 100% obvious: https://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/how ... honey.html

Crusader
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Crusader »

I would do something like this for later days of the week (once my refrigeration time is up):
meal 1: oatmeal + dried fruit (e.g. cranberries) + some nuts of choice (cashews for me) + maybe whey protein or powdered milk
meal 2: wholewheat pasta (cooked in a plastic microwavable container) + Parmesan cheese + maybe canned chickpea + canned vegetables + pasta sauce of choice (for me, it is Ajvar https://www.walmart.com/search/?query=ajvar)
meal 3: pickled boiled eggs + bread/toast + Ajvar again OR/AND Nutella-like spread or fruit preserve + bread/toast
Last edited by Crusader on Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by jacob »

Cooking in the microwave is a thing. Get a microwave cookbook and bring the ingredients. Insofar they're vegan meals, the ingredients, vegetables, etc. would certainly last a week outside the fridge. So google "vegan microwave meals"...

(After buying this house, we lived for 6 months before we installed the gas range, so most meals were done in the slow cooker+microwave. It's less flexible than a proper range, but it's certainly nicer than three square meals of granola.)

ertyu
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by ertyu »

vegetarian, rice, stores well + microwave made me think of indian. a suggestion for a potential area to explore.

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

jacob wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:09 am
three square meals of granola.)
ha ha ha! that would be a nightmare.

the way i thought of the granola was not as a total solution, but rather as "one item to start with" (breakfast/snack) and build from there.

it's reliable, it's shelf stable, it's tasty, it can be made personalized/sexy (this is a date we're talking about after all, so aesthetics matter), so it's an element that can be mastered quickly for relationship/project success. a proof of concept.

other components can be added later for a full system, but that requires much further thought.
Last edited by Alphaville on Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Dream of Freedom »

It should normalize when the air pressure raises. So it would be an issue if she is eating on her break on the flight itself.

A quick search on the Google machine yielded this explaination:

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/w ... -on-planes
Last edited by Dream of Freedom on Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Homemade frozen bean burritos are supposed to work well. Leave out ingredients that don't microwave well like sour cream. You could include a little bottle of hot sauce or packet of salsa to make it more fun/interesting/thoughtful.

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

just remembered a couple of legumes that cook quickly and need no soaking: red lentils and mung beans.

both cook easy in a 10-12min boil, so, fitting for a microwave, and can be seasoned in all kinds of ways. red lentils make a good soup or a mash depending on water. mung beans go with savory or seeet. both go well with asian seasonings like ginger, sesame, soy sauce, curry paste, etc. bith can be an acquired taste if you’re not accustomed to the flavors (i like them).

pasta of course cooks in similar time (depending on brand/cut/etc), so hypothetically you could cook them together in one container. the “problem” is to have a big enough cooking container. for that, maybe silicone could work? food safe, heat resistant, collapsible. only problem is, it might absorb odors (my traveling coffee mugs are silicone and they smell of old coffee hahahah).

eg perhaps something like this? idk... https://www.amazon.com/Microwaveable-Si ... B07HFG3YFP

grains + pulses are a classic vegetarian combo. i prefer short pasta shapes for convenience.

OH! dehydrated bean flakes, of course!!

https://www.frontiercoop.com/frontier-c ... anic-1-lb/

these rule. better than cans. some come already with seasonings, ftw. yeah!

ETA: quick grits cook in 5 minutes. ymmv on quick grits but easy to do. there might be a problem with required stirring + splatter, which making them runnier could maybe solve? i like grits/polenta with beans, where the grits work as an alt-tortilla :lol: (but seriously, corn+beans)

ETA,2: check out this thing: https://www.frontiercoop.com/frontier-c ... lend-1-lb/ or https://www.frontiercoop.com/frontier-c ... lend-1-lb/

...

these might be a good deal, 6lb dehydrated beans https://www.amazon.com/Santa-Fe-Bean-Cu ... 314&sr=8-7


...

ok i think im going down the rabbit hole...
https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/how-to-dehydrate-food

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

another option is to eat a bit for nutrition and a bit for taste.

e.g., i have whey concentrate daily, which allows me to skip a meal or 2. add a scoop of powder to a shake, add water, +24g protein for my needs (i like to add chia, for fat and fiber). whey concentrate is one of the cheapest protein sources and is easily absorbed.

i do it for low-carb days (sorta like intermittent fasting but not quite). this lets me put my cooking focus on other meals of the day, like dinner.

for vegetarians, pea powder is supposedly pretty good, but i haven’t tried it. i used to take hemp protein, which is supposedly good quality, but after a while it started to gross me out, not sure why. so i’m back on the “cheesemaking discards protein” (whey) anyway, all these pack a lot of protein, which lets you substitute or supplement meals and reduce the need for actual cooking.

with your protein needs satisfied, the pressure to cook a complete meal is reduced. you could have noodles with butter or whatever, then finish with an apple.

eta: a multivitamin also helps round out irregular/uneven nutrition. it’s not a substitute, just a tire patch.

eta, 2: swedish crispbread also travels fantastically well and has a shelf life equal to eternity, lol. and although known as “swedish,” this brand is made in germany: https://www.vitacost.com/wasa-crispbrea ... rye-9-5-oz

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Alphaville wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:56 pm
which lets you substitute or supplement meal
Yes give the girlfriend a meal replacement! What could possibly go wrong? There is no way she could take offense to that.

Alphaville
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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Alphaville »

Dream of Freedom wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:28 pm
Yes give the girlfriend a meal replacement! What could possibly go wrong? There is no way she could take offense to that.
wat. i said to make her custom sexy granola. but 3 square meals of granola every day is a nightmare.

also:
Jin+Guice wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:01 am
Beyond the flight attendant specifics, I'm also interested in doing this for camping/ hoboing/ my own travel. Does anyone have any experience in this area? Any specific recipes/ food suggestions or tips for categories of food that would work well for this purpose? Any online resources that y'all know of?
protein powder travels great

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Re: Meals That Travel Well

Post by Scott 2 »

I've got a couple hundred 1-3 night work trips under my belt. I often brought my food. It is a huge pain in the ass. Here's the reality of making it sustainable:

1. Start with calorie requirements - 2500-3000 a day was my target
2. Consider any strong macro requirements. I wanted at least 100 grams of protein, 20-30 grams of fiber.
3. Plan to eat roughly the same thing every day. This makes packing the food fast. Otherwise you'll give up.
4. Fruits and vegetables are fragile, heavy and bulky. IMO not worth it, beyond maybe some dried fruit.
5. Bulk out the day with boring, dry, calorie dense stuff - oatmeal, crackers, raisins, nuts, granola, food bars, jerky and yes, protein powder
6. Protein powder is essential, because it does not have to be refrigerated. Most proteins go bad easily.
7. Canned chili is heavy, but efficiently solves the fiber problem.
8. Greek yogurt and cheese are other proteins tolerant of temperature swings
9. Early in the week, you can have pre-made sandwiches. Maybe 2-3 days before the bread is ruined.
10. Junk food can be a good supplement - compared to eating out, you still win
11. Hard alcohol if she can fly with it.
12. On your first and last days, plan to eat the bulk of your food at home.
13. Include a spoon, paper towel, and grocery bag.
14. Packing efficiency requires baggies. A lot of them. The waste is nothing compared to what a restaurant produces.
15. Hitting a local drug store or grocery offers a middle ground between packing everything and eating out.

The biggest problem I ran into was hotel fridges freezing my carefully packed food. That would happen often and can be so frustrating. Cheese and greek yogurt would be all that survived. I eventually stopped bothering with anything else cold.

For longer trips, I stick entirely with dry stuff and plan to eat out 1-2 meals per day.

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