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Jan 6, 2008 05:34 AM

Just Add Water - Instant Foods

Without getting enmeshed in the details, it appears I will be spending a few days in a hotel with only a coffee microwave, no refrigerator...Going to the grocery store after i arrive is also not possible. so I'm wondering if you can all help me with ideas for products that i can pack with me (and bring on a plane) that require only boiling water...i realize this will not be very healthy, nor very tasty, but believe me, these are the parameters i'm stuck with...i realize i can go to restaurants, but the budget for that is very small (about $20 per day) and i don't believe there are very many fast food restaurants in the area.

so far, food products that require only hot water or no preparation (that can be brought on a plane) include:

instant oatmeal
cup o noodles
instant soup
beef jerky
dried fruit
seasoned roasted seaweed
snack pack tuna & crackers

any other ideas? please help...i'd like not to starve...

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  1. Powdered milk to add to the soups, bonito flakes, a hard cheese for grating (use the knife you packed in you check-in), instant couscous. Don't forget to pack chili flakes or powder.

    1. Thai Kitchen Rice Noodle soup bowls.
      Instant Miso Soup
      Cellophane Noodles (bean thread noodles)

      still thinking.....

      1. i didn't think of couscous and miso soup...i might be able to end up eating healthy that way...what are your thoughts on instant rice? can i do that with just a coffee pot?

        1 Reply
        1. re: soypower

          If you like steamed rice, you most likely will not like instant rice - at all.
          Many of the large Asian stores now carry pre cooked foil packs of meals like bulgogi, kai bi, etc.
          Instant Korean or Japanese made ramen soups.
          Powdered Japanese dashi or Korean Dashida can make a good instant soup broth.

        2. Cheese in general is fine outside of a fridge, just make sure it is well wrapped. I find hard cheese are most successful, but I have also travelled with softer cheeses, I just eat them first.
          Bring a good loaf of bread, it will last well. A crusty loaf will help preserve the integrity of the bread, so a nice artisanal loaf is best. Regular package bread can work, but it gets squished easily.
          A small amount of olives adds a lot of flavour, and are fine for the first few days.
          A dried cured meat product such as a good salami or Rosette de Lyon lasts fine.
          I'll pack a bag of raw baby carrots, apples, oranges, hardy fruits and vegetables and i have found that they last just fine for a few days out of the fridge.
          If you are in a place that has condiment packages, those small packets of butter, jams, peanut butter, mustard, etc, are very easy to carry, not at all messy, don't take up a lot of space, and help give nice flavour to the bread. Or stock up before you go. Or: The hotel may have a breakfast place with these products stocked, and if I am eating there, I'll slip a few unused jams and cream cheeses etc. away for lunchtime use. (as per the other thread, they are supposed to throw them away anyhow!) It just makes that salami sandwich better! It is astounding what can be packaged into individual servings that are spillproof. Just go to any food court and you'll see...
          Pack some teabags and some instant hot chocolate or chai! Always nice to have a flavoured drink. Then carry some restaurant honey containers or sugar packs if you want sweetening. And small box of really nice biscuits to go with it. Will cheer you up to have a nice chocolate bookie wiht your drink...

          You woudl be surprised what can last outside of a fridge. Key thing: pack things well, to avoid messy spills, avoid things getting crushed. Don't forget utensils, I usually carry a few plastic spoons, knives, forks, they are light and can't be construed as weapons, and I don't care if they get lost. I carry a small lunchbox sized cooler and I put the most perishable items in there, often with a small ice pack. The perishibles get eaten first, just to be safe. But again, you'd be surprised what will last. Tupperwares are your friend, as are ziplockbags.

          Be creative with your space. If you are in a cold climate, put food next to the window to keep it cool. Just feel around the room to find the cold drafty spot, and voila: refridgeration. Also, The hotel might have a fridge somewhere, and you can always ask if you can store a few items in that. I have a friend who regularly asks the hotel if he can store his cheeses in their fridge as he travels around Quebec. More often tha not, they will let him. You might even call ahead and ask, you never know.

          Lastly, you'll have to figure out what can go carry-on and what gets put in cargo. I usually put most things in cargo. If you are travelling in the same country, it is easier to put more unusual objects into carryon.

          Good luck! Having spent many a meal of instant cup o'noodles up north, I can tell you it gets tiresome! But with some creativity, it can be ok...

          1. Another idea is to carry a collapsable insulated bag. You can use the hotel ice machine,fill it with ice and leave it in the bathtub or shower to keep things cool should you decide to take some cheeses.

            I noticed Betty Crocker ... or some similar company ... makes instant sweet potatoes and instant yukon gold potates. At any rate, I like instant mashed potatoes.

            If you have a camping / sports store near you, maybe check out some of the dehydrated meals where you just add water. The link to this site is just for an example

            Any chance you could fit in a hot plate, small pot and plastic dish into the suitcase? It would expand possibilities. A hot plate cost less than $10 and is useful after too. I juse it as an extra burner when cooking for a holiday.