Those who have eaten with me will know a few things about me. I am a vegetarian, and although I don’t consider myself a picky eater, I do like to eat healthy and I like to eat familiar foods before racing. The local pay-in-advance menu for athletes here in Prague included chicken liver dumplings, borscht, pork noodle with sauerkraut, and a few other regional specialties. Needless to say, I was keen to make my own food.
I have self-catered on most trips (paddling and pleasure traveling) and I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Graham and our team mates Erica and Leah were also keen to ‘eat in’ with us, so Erica packed a rice cooker from Canada, Graham packed a transformer from Canada so that it would work in Europe, I brought spices and other ingredients from home, and we went shopping the first day we got here.
After a late start due to some transportation difficulties en route to the grocery store, we were well on our way to Thai coconut rice with veggies. We ate this in Australia at World Championships 2 years ago and it was very popular. Except that this time, the rice wouldn’t boil. I guess our transformer wasn’t stepping up/stepping down the way it was supposed to , so the rice stayed at 60 degrees Celsius for about 30min… until Graham suggested we use the pass-through converter. We knew this was a bit of a gamble because the heating element in the Canadian rice cooker was designed for 110V not 220V… but we were hungry and had already waited a long time. This rice boiled in about 4 minutes and then started to smoke a bit. We opened the windows, then emptied the coconut rice and then tried to fry up some veggies – but the rice cooker would not turn on again. It was thoroughly dead after one use, to our lasting disappointment.
The next afternoon we went to the store and bought a hot plate (with 220V-accomodating Euro-plug) and pot. Last night we had rice and bean burritos, a meal some will remember from when I cooked it at the 5-star resort where Bridget had her wedding. It was very successful, without any smoke or fire, so we are looking forward to having more meals on our mini-kitchen.
Leah took a picture of me cooking in our ill-fated rice cooker and also with the hot plate, so I’ll post them once we can wrangle them from her.