Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Can't Find That Ingredient...


"This past weekend was amazing! On Friday night, Karine and I went into the city to a restaurant called Shakespeare's for dinner. It's a place that specializes in meat pies. They have a bunch of different flavors and they are beautiful! You order a small french fry and they give you a bag with heaps of chips. It was soooo filling! Another thing they do here is put chicken salt on their fries. It's actually way better then it sounds. After we ate, Karine, Jen, and I went to a pub called Shakespeare's (hmmmm, not too original... lol) for drinks. Lots of Jen's friends were there and we had an awesome night.

Mom - I wanted to thank you for your help last night with the spanish rice. I wasn't sure what to do when I couldn'
t find the marinated vegetables we use at home. Your suggestion to just add a bit of red wine vinegar and fresh vegetables worked perfectly. THANKS! Next time, no panicking... I promise."


When cooking in foreign countries, there are chances that you
won’t find every item that you need for a recipe. You are probably asking, “What do I do if you can’t find an ingredient?” This is a very common question and may happen to you when you are traveling. You basically have two choices: panic or take a deep breath and be creative! This dilemma can actually be the best thing that may happen to you. You may be thinking that if I don’t have the ingredients the recipe requires, then how can I cook it? Recipes are guides that give you direction but there are no rules. Have fun with your food and be adventurous. You never know, this may be the push you need to become an amazing, inventive cook!

My main suggestion is to explore local markets, talk to the people, and experience the flavors of the world. If you are looking for a certain spice to use, and can’t find the one you need, feel free to s-mell the spices on the rack and choose the one you like. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, touch and smell are going to be your guides. If you see something you have never seen before, add it to your cart and try it. The best way to learn about a country is to eat their food so just go for it!

I know, I say this a lot, but foo
d and cooking should not stress you out. It should be a Zen moment for you at the end of a hectic day. When food is comforting, it makes you want to eat it and enjoy it. When it is stressful, it tastes stressed. So please take a moment, relax, and turn on the oven.

Have fun!

The Hostel Chef


  1. yes, it is great to explore local markets. it is where you'd discover the local flavor.

    thanks for dropping by my blog. we're in crisis right now because of typhoon ketsana. (i'm from manila.)

    any idea on what food to prepare for people who are staying in evacuation centers?

  2. Hi Atticus.

    My heart and thoughts go out to you all during this catastrophe. I hope you are doing well and keeping your spirits up and stay healthy.

    Wishing you all the best!

    The Hostel Chef