Home Cooking 7

AWAY-from-home cooking

saacnmama | Mar 1, 2008 09:13 AM

I typically attend 2-4 conferences per year and, for the last five years (ie: since he was 5 months old), my son has come with me. I knew he was a frequently-flying toddler the first time I heard him pretending something was an airplane: "pbbbb they're flying! Oh no, it's getting bumpy. The plane is turning upside down and the drinks cart is in the middle of the aisle!" Sometimes the inevitable turbulence/near crash is before the drinks, sometimes the cart is secured but people have dinner on their traytables. Whatever happens with his 'planes', it's always about the drinks cart.

Anyway, I'm looking for things to prepare in a hotel room. When we go to conferences, I'm full-on in the professional mode and as a mother. I try to find a balance between must-do tourist sites and quirkier activities that make a city fun. He does some with a sitter, and some with me skipping out of meetings. It's fun and it's tiring. I always take along some food to eat in the hotel, in case one or both of us isn't up to going out to eat. (The time he threw the spoon across the Indian restaurant in San Fran, he probably shouldn't have been out to begin with.) Problem is, I always take the same food. I'm looking for suggestions for something different. Can you help?

Here are the constraints:
must be packable (ie: not too messy or require refrigeration),
must be able to get through security (fine cuisine does us no good if it's in our bags several states away, and we usually don't check anything anyway)
preparation must be possible in a coffee maker (though sometimes we have a micro)
I'm a vegetarian (except for fish and eggs)
as little waste as possible--I generally choose to purchase things with as little packaging as possible
he's 5
It needs to be a real meal. Trail mix, crackers, and fruit are fine, but not as an evening meal. Likewise, mac-n-cheese in a cup, Uncle Ben's bowl meals, etc taste like fast food. We eat in the room when we need comfort, not preservatives.
It has to be easy. If I had energy to fuss, we'd go enjoy the local scene.

Here's what we typically take:
a bag of boil-in-the-bag rice (to cook in the pot of a coffee maker)
broccoli or carrots (to steam in the part of the coffee maker where grounds usually go)
can of beans (they get warmed by being mixed with the hot rice)

peanut butter (security agents usually wink at my son and let a closed jar go through, but open jars are rejected)
apples or other fruit

oatmeal --quick oats are good if you just pour boiling water on them and let them steep
raisins & cinnamon (to put in the oatmeal)
Danimals yogurt drink--they come in 3 oz sizes that get through security
Tang or some similar powdered drink mix

Better bevs, easy ways to spice up dinner or a pb sandwich, whole new meal ideas, let me have 'em! On our upcoming Boston trip, we'll have more of a kitchen than usual so I'll go shopping during hte week, but one of our in-room meals is usually the first one of the trip, after flying all day, and before a little walk, so I want to have things with me that I can have ready fast. I'd love to find something to eat with angel hair pasta...

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