Monday, May 11, 2020

A memory of Thais

Dear Readers,

I hope you are all staying well. As my work on a small project continues I was reminded of a post on the OperaGene blog that I was featured in.

Here is a link to the blog http://operagene.com/new-blog/2020/1/29/why-maryland-lyric-operas-thas-a-young-artist-perspective.

Be sure to give OperaGene a few hits of traffic, in the mean time: below, I've copy and pasted the page. 


Tenor Joseph Michael Brent obtained a doctoral degree from the University of Georgia in 2014 and in 2018 spent a period training in Maryland Lyric Opera’s Young Artist Institute.  He has appeared in several MDLO productions since then and after a concert appearance in 2019, I wrote “I thought Mr. Brent was good when first I heard him a year ago.  He is now even better, a career worth following.  Kudos to him and to the MDLO team.”  He will play the role of Nicias in the upcoming MDLO performances of Thaïs.  His answer to the question posed in my previous blog report came in too late, and perhaps in too much detail, to be included there.  However, it was much too interesting not to use.  Here is a young artist’s response to my question. 
Why did you decide to make Thaïs part of your life?
My decision to make Thaïs a part of my life was multivalent.  Until I was contacted by Maryland Lyric Opera, Thaïs had never made a blip on my professional radar.  I had written transcriptions of the Thaïs meditation for double bass, and as a duet for double bass and violin, but never conceived that I would be singing Nicias, a role that I have come to adore.  Thaïs is not standard repertoire, and as there is no proper aria for the tenor (Nicias), there wasn't previously any powerful impulse to engage with the score. In an effort to streamline my answer, I would like to simply state that when the Maryland Lyric Opera calls I pick up; if MDLO inquires or offers a role, I consider it. I have ineffable appreciation, respect, and trust in the tight-knit team of artists who are at the helm of this company.  Mr. Brad Clark (President and Founder), Matthew Woorman (General Manager), and Maestro Salemno (Music Director and Conductor) are a powerhouse triumvirate forging an impressive opera company, one that I am grateful to work with and for.  They take care of their artists, and they prioritize great music making: what more could you want from an opera company?
Though I fear any display of hubris, I'll hazard to admit that I have come to personally identify with this character. I also have found that Massenet's setting of Gallet's text feels well suited to my voice, individual subjectivity notwithstanding. Nicias is an armchair philosopher, iconoclast, fatalist, epicurean, and dare I say hedonist; he takes people at their word and celebrates aestheticism over asceticism. I also find the underlying contention of the opera - the drama that percolates between Thaïs and Athanaël, and the provocative questioning of faith, paganism, and lust - fascinating, and engaging. Much of the music is quite beautiful, and Massenet's use of associative musical gesture at times is nearly “leitmotivic”. The [013] trichord (three note grouping), for example, is heard melodically and harmonically throughout the opera during scenes that feature Athanaël. You will hear this unmistakable cell used “motivically” by the orchestra in his first entrance. The two-bar phrase is actually a statement of the [013] trichord in one bar, followed by an inversion of the same trichord in the second bar, together creating a haunting affect. Other statements of this motive cell are rather recondite."
In summary, I chose to make Thaïs a part of my life because accepting this contract meant that I would be working with a great company (run by inspired artists), singing a role suited to me, exploring a relatively obscure opera, being surrounded by fantastic artists (on stage, off stage, and in the pit), offering something special to the audience, and - not least of which - earning some money to eat, pay my rent and student loans. I have to emphasize that working with Claudia Zahn (Thais Director) is an absolute treat, she is fantastic. I would be remiss if I did not include both Sam Fleming (Thaïs Costume Design) and Anne Nesmith (Thaïs Wig Design), who have contributed to making a beautiful show. Their amiable and brilliant personalities are perfect complements to their professional skill, a true joy to know these three artists. The high quality of person and artist that this company employs, from management to the pit, create an atmosphere that is an exhilarating delight both artistically and professionally. Tenor Joseph Michael Brent, who plays Nicias.
The Fan Experience: Mr. Brent makes a cogent point in his last paragraph not mentioned by others.  A singer must also be able to put food on the table.  If we want to continue watch and hear young artists entering opera careers, we have to support them by attending performances.  MDLO is making that possible.
Thanks for reading. Stay safe y'all
Best, Joe

Friday, April 17, 2020

April Update - COVID-19

Dear Readers,

Thanks for checking in amid this global pandemic. All is well in my inner circle of life, and I assume - as you are here reading - that you too are well. I'v lost several friends to the virus, which is beyond tragic. I am not planning to use this platform to lament and curse the loss of my friends, nor will I use it to eulogize. My intention is to share positive energy, I think that is what they would have wanted. They were, if nothing else, sources of positivity in my life. 

Following two successful performances as Nicias in Thais with the Maryland Lyric Opera, I flew to Detroit. A beautiful reunion for a wayward studio artist. It had been 3 years since I was last at the Detroit Opera House working for Michigan Opera Theatre, what a treat. It truly felt like a home-coming. Three weeks later we put up a fantastic production of Gianni Schicchi/Buoso's Ghost.

I flew home to New York where I recuperated and convalesced. It's about that time that the United States started taking the pandemic seriously. My partner Yiselle Blum returned from her travels and we fled from New York, avoiding the epicenter of the virus outbreak, and have been sheltering-in-place in Vermont since the 15th.

It's now been a full month up here, all of my engagements have been cancelled or postponed.
No Il Tabarro or Nozze di Figaro with Maryland Lyric Opera. I am still waiting to hear if Sugar Creek Opera will cancel or postpone. The show isn't scheduled till August, but as we are all taking this day by day, it seems bleak.

In all honesty, I have not been using the time productively. At least not to my standard. I am without my bass, without a piano and for the first few weeks Yiselle and I were bouncing around form place to place. Now that we're settled I've started working on a few projects. Part of the positive energy that I want to share with you, dear Reader, is in the form of my forward vectors of energy: my projects.

I think it is an ideal time to re-visit my doctoral research. My document on the vocal music of Bottesini has been collecting dust on the shelf, and though I am cited on wikipedia, not much has circulated about the research. I've just completed a guitar transcription of one of his songs! Keep your eyes on the look out for "Tutto per me sei tu" text by Madonnina Malaspina. Hopefully, by the end of the month I'll have several transcriptions done and can present them to you.

I am also working on Nozze di Figaro as though my engagement wasn't cancelled, and working La Boheme back into my body and voice.

Who knows what life will be like on the other side of this chaos, but until then stay safe, stay home, stay healthy.

Please drop me a line or a comment to check-in and let me know that you're doing well.
Best to you now and always,
Joe

Friday, January 31, 2020

Eating While on the Road - Hot Meals: Microwave Lasagna

Dear Readers,
Post no. 6

This post introduces a microwave cooked pasta recipe, featuring Microwave Lasagna.

My hot dinner/lunch meals this week included:
  • Lasagna 
First the goods:
If you remember my itemized grocery list post you would have seen:
- Lasagna sheets (or pasta of your choosing, after all this is your pasta cake?) $2.49
- Organic pasta sauce (I would make my own gravy if I were at home - that's another post) $1.49
- Olive oil $2.99
- Ricotta $2.69
- Mozzarella (I buy whole fresh mozzarella and shave for use as needed) $2.39
- Salt and Pepper grinders $1 each. 

The tools:
  • Microwave
  • Microwave safe glass or ceramic bowl
  • A second plate or bowl
  • Utensils: Fork, Knife, Spoon [Spork if you can find one!]
Simple Microwave Scramble 
The application:
(Important tip, don't put your container in the center of the microwave, off-set it for best results)
  1. A hand full plus half-a-hand-full of pasta (broken lasagna sheets) into your glass/ceramic bowl
    • For me, that is about half a pint of cooked pasta, your hands will yield a different amount
  2. Pour in enough water to cover pasta by at least half an inch
  3. Add a pinch of salt and a drip of olive oil
  4. Cover the bowl with the second plate & Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes
  5. Remove the bowl from the microwave, remove the second plate and stir the past
  6. Heat in microwave for another 5-7 min (uncovered)
    • Cooking times vary depending on the type of pasta, the quantity of pasta, and your microwave age and power rating, I have access to a 900W Magic Chef machine)
    • You may want to cook your pasta longer or less, prepare as necessary to taste. A little under-cooked here is fine, you'll be zapping again in step 9.
  7. The bowl will be dangerously hot, using a towel or a t-shit remove the bowl and drain your pasta in the sink.
    • I find that having a second dish or bowl comes in handy: place the second bowl/plate on top of the hot pasta/water and use that second clean dish/bowl as barrier, preventing the pasta from falling out of the dish as you drain the water out of the pasta.
  8. Now layer the drained bowl first with pasta sauce followed by noodles, then ricotta and repeat until you've run out of noodles. Top with a layer of shredded mozzarella 
    • I like to season my ricotta with a little pinch of salt and black pepper and olive oil
    • I like to add mozzarella to the layers of ricotta as well
    • I also like to add a little parmigiana if I have it
  9. Heat in the microwave for 3-5 minutes 
    • At this point (or sooner) any further cooking is to your preference. Once the mozzarella has melted no further cooking is necessary
    • Remember to off set your bowl from the center of the microwave for even cooking
  10. The bowl will be dangerously hot! Using a towel or a t-shit, remove the bowl to your eating location and allow the lasagna to rest for at least 2 minutes. You will likely burn yourself should you decide to chop right in.
Reminders:
A spork is a great tool for this meal.

Additions:
One ingredient that I am missing badly is parmigiana cheese. I really like to blend parmigiana into the ricotta and/or the mozzarella, but I didn't buy it because it wasn't necessary. I wish I had. You can add spinach, garlic, cooked sausage, any thing your palate desires.

Cost analysis: Pasta $.63 per serving ($2.49 for the 250 gram bag); Organic pasta sauce $.37 per serving ($1.49 for 25 oz jar); Ricotta $.67 per serving ($2.69); Mozzarella $.59 per serving ($2.39). It is difficult to calculate the exact cost of Olive Oil ($2.99 for a 8.5 fl oz jar) and Salt/Pepper ($1 each) because I am using such a negligible quantity. In total that's $2.26 for you microwave lasagna, with an additional few cents for a teaspoon of olive oil and a crack of black pepper and salt.

Nutritional value:
Difficult on this recipe because I kind-of eye-ball each of the quantities. Approximate values are below. Remember: Microwaving your food does less damage to your food compared to stove top methods, and as a result less/fewer nutrients is/are lost in the process. Quantities will vary depending on your portion sizes as well.

The pasta (I bought "Priano ancient grain" made from durum, semolina, wheat, and teff) is approximately 237.5 calories, 43.75g total carbs, 6.25g of fiber, 1.25g of fat, and 10g of protein. It also provides 15mg of calcium, 1.25mg of iron, and 135mg of potassium. The pasta sauce 67.5 calories, 705mg of sodium, 13.5g total carbs, 3g of fiber, 7.5 grams of sugar, 3g of protein. It also provides 60mg of calcium, 690mg of potassium, and 1.35mg of iron. There is no added sugar, by the way! The mozzarella is 140 calories, 10g of fat (7g saturated, 0 trans fat), 40mg of cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 10g of protein, and between 6-12% of your daily value of calcium. The ricotta (whole milk, pasteurized, vinegar and salt) 192.5 calories, 14g of fat (8.75g saturated, 0 trans), 52.5mg cholesterol, 140mg sodium, 3.5g total carbs (from sugar), 10.5g of protein. It also provides 350mg of calcium, 122.5mg of potassium.
Total approximate nutritional calculation: 637.5        Calories
60.75  Total Carbs
18.5 Dietary Fiber
25.25      Total Fat
92.5mg Cholesterol

Note:*
Get a good sauce. The one I purchased tastes too much like a pizza sauce, you'll have to find one to suit your needs.

Thanks for reading,
Joe

*Try to avoid plastic as much as you can. Microwave-safe plastic doesn't mean that it's good for you, it means that it will not destroy your microwave, it might destroy you long term.

Links:
Here are some links of people who videoed themselves following a similar process
Lasagna in a Mug (with Cheddar...)
A beautiful mug recipe (intended for the oven) This is beautiful. If I had a mug I would try this, but alas, I have only a bowl and a plate on this trip. I'll also try to recreate this in the microwave next trip.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Eating While on the Road - Breakfast (Poached Egg)

Dear Readers,

Post number 5

This will be my final microwave egg preparation for this trip. A poached egg in half the time it would take on the stove! A poached egg is also my segue into other meals, hot and cold, topped with a poached egg. Continued thanks for following me on this journey of microwave meals, nutritional eating, and budgeting while on the road. I hope that these posts have some value for you, I certainly enjoy writing them.
  • Poached Egg (Salt, Vinegar, Water, Egg)
First the goods:

If you remember my itemized grocery list from my budgeting post you would remember:
- A dozen organic cage free eggs (Eggland's best) at $3.99 (about $0.33 per egg).
- Apple Cider Vinegar $0.99 for 16 ounces.
- Salt and Pepper grinders from the dollar store cost $1 each., or you can find complimentary packets at hot food counters.

The tools:
  • Microwave
  • Microwave safe glass or ceramic plate
  • Utensils: Fork, Spoon
Simple Microwave Egg "Over Easy" 
The application:
(Important tip, don't put your container in the center of the microwave, off-set it for best results)
  1. Crack your egg into a microwave safe container (mug or bowl)
  2. Add a teaspoon of vinegar
  3. Add a pinch of salt
  4. Submerge/Cover the egg with water, to about a 1/2 inch above the egg.
  5. **DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!**Gently poke a hole in to the top of the membrane that surrounds the yolk** DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!** If you skip this step your egg will likely explode in the microwave. 
    • Puncturing the membrane allows heat/gas to escape during the microwave process, I usually poke two holes.
  6. I usually do not cover the bowl/mug but you can use a plate or damp paper towl
  7. Cook on high for 2 minutes
    • Times may vary, I have access to a 900W Magic Chef machine
At this point any further cooking is to your preference

Reminders:
Let the plate/egg cool before you eat! Remember that the eggs (and all microwaved food) will continue to cook a bit after you've taken them out of the microwave. With that in mind, thee eggs might look a little loose, but will firm-up some after sitting to cool. Additionally, my bowl is never too hot to handle, but you may want a towel or t-shirt to remove the bowl to your eating surface. 

Additions:
Dress/serve with your favorite additions or on top of your favorite: bread, toast, quinoa, salad, rice, or eat on its own.

I am going to include the nutritional facts, as I did in the previous post, for continuity and convenience. Microwaving your food does less damage to your food compared to stove top methods, and as a result less/fewer nutrients is/are lost in the process. Eggland's Best eggs raw are 60 calories per serving, 6 grams of protein, 1 gram of saturated fat, 3 grams of unsaturated fat (1 poly- 2 mono-), approximately 20 - 40% of your daily value of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothnic Acid (B5), Iodine, Selenium, Molybdenum, and Choline, and 57% of your daily value of cholesterol. They also contain 125 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids and 200 mcg of Lutein.

I use such a small quantity of vinegar and salt that the nutritional value is negligible, but he flavo is impeccable. 

Thanks for reading,
Joe

*Try to avoid plastic as much as you can. Microwave-safe plastic doesn't mean that it's good for you, it means that it will not destroy your microwave, it might destroy you long term.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Eating While on the Road - Breakfast (Egg over easy)

Dear Readers,


Post number 4

I am bringing you another egg preparation today. I had no idea that I could prepare eggs in the microwave that taste as good as pan cooked/fired eggs in half the time. I miss a little bit of the nutty flavors of browning butter, but I don't loose the butter flavor in the preparation below. As ever, thanks for continuing to follow me on this journey of microwave meals, nutritional eating, and budgeting while on the road. I hope that these posts have some value for you, I feel that I am a little late to the microwave meal bandwagon. 
  • Egg "Over easy" (Butter, Salt, Pepper, Egg)
First the goods:

If you remember my itemized grocery list from my budgeting post you would have seen:
- A dozen organic cage free eggs (Eggland's best) at $3.99 (about $0.33 per egg).
- Salted Butter from grass-fed cow's milk (Finlandia) at $2.99 ($0.37/oz or $0.19/tablespoon).
- Salt and Pepper grinders from the dollar store cost $1 each., or you can find complimentary packets at hot food counters.

The tools:
  • Microwave
  • Microwave safe glass or ceramic plate
  • Utensils: Fork, Knife
Simple Microwave Egg "Over Easy" 
The application:
(Important tip, don't put your container in the center of the microwave, off-set it for best results)
  1. Cut a quarter tablespoon of butter into your microwave-safe dish*
  2. Melt the butter in the Microwave for 30 seconds until the solid has become a liquid
    • Times may vary, I have access to a 900W Magic Chef machine
  3. Spread the melted butter to coat the plate
  4. Crack 1 egg on to your buttered plate 
  5. **DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!**Gently poke a hole in to the top of the membrane that surrounds the yolk** DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!** If you skip this step your egg will explode in the microwave. 
    • Puncturing the membrane allows heat/gas to escape during the microwave process, I usually poke two holes.
    • The albumen (egg white) will cook more quickly than the yolk (the yellow)
  6. Add salt and pepper** to your preference.
  7. Microwave the egg for 25 seconds, I like to shift the egg around a bit for more even cooking.
    • You might hear some crackle or popping sounds, this is fine.
  8. Microwave egg for another 20 seconds, I like to add an 8th of a tablespoon of butter to the top of the yolk at this point (you could also substitute olive oil instead of butter or skip this step)
  9.  Microwave for another a final 15 seconds
 At this point any further cooking is to your preference
** - You could add these at a later point in the process, but the way typed above is fast and simple.

Reminders:
Let the plate/egg cool before you eat! Remember that the eggs (and all microwaved food) will continue to cook a bit after you've taken them out of the microwave. With that in mind, thee eggs might look a little loose immediately after the 55 seconds of cooking, but will firm-up some after sitting to cool. Additionally, my plate is never too hot to handle, but you may want a towel or t-shirt to remove the bowl to your eating surface. Lastly, if you've shifted your eggs during the cooking process they shouldn't stick to your plate at all.

Additions:
Dress/serve with your favorite additions: salsa for "south-western"egg, avocado, cucumber and tomato, crumbly blue cheese or what-ever.

I am going to include the nutritional facts, as I did in the previous post, for continuity and convenience. Microwaving your food does less damage to your food compared to stove top methods, and as a result less/fewer nutrients is/are lost in the process. Eggland's Best eggs raw are 60 calories per serving, 6 grams of protein, 1 gram of saturated fat, 3 grams of unsaturated fat (1 poly- 2 mono-), approximately 20 - 40% of your daily value of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothnic Acid (B5), Iodine, Selenium, Molybdenum, and Choline, and 57% of your daily value of cholesterol. They also contain 125 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids and 200 mcg of Lutein.

For a complete picture I am including my calculations of Finlandia's salted grass-fed cow's milk butter.  At 1 quarter tablespoon there are 25 calories, 2.75 grams of Fat (1.5 from saturated fats and no trans fats), 7.5 mg of cholesterol (only about 2 and quarter percent of your daily value), 20 mg of sodium, 0 carbohydrates, 0 sugars, 0 Protein, and no valuable vitamins/minerals [daily values based on 2000 calorie diet].

At $0.33 for two eggs, $0.05 for a quarter tablespoon of butter, negligible amount of salt/pepper, the cost of your plate, and 55 seconds of cooking time you have a cheap delicious fast breakfast!

Thanks for reading,
Joe

*Try to avoid plastic as much as you can. Microwave-safe plastic doesn't mean that it's good for you, it means that it will not destroy your microwave, it might destroy you long term.

Links:
Here are some links of people who videoed themselves following a similar process
Simple Microwave Over Easy Egg
Terrible video, turn down your speaker volume
This guy is hard to watch, but the information is quite good (he uses bacon fat instead of butter)
14 Egg Hacks (I've cued the video to 38 seconds in)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Eating While on the Road - Breakfast (scrambled egg)

Dear Readers,

Thanks for continuing to follow me on this journey of microwave meals, nutritional eating, and budgeting while on the road. This 3rd brief post is intended to focus on what I've been doing for breakfast.

My hot breakfast meals this week included:
  • Scrambled eggs (Butter, Salt, Pepper, Eggs)
  • Egg "Over easy" (Butter, Salt, Pepper, Egg)
My cold breakfast foods include:
  • Cucumbers and Celery (cherry tomato)
  • Blue berries
(Coffee and tea are included in my stay)

First the goods:
If you remember my itemized grocery list from my last post you would have seen:
- A dozen organic cage free eggs (Eggland's best) at $3.99 (about $0.33 per egg).
    • Many grocery stores in Germany, and some organic groceries/farm stands here in the States offer the option to purchase as few eggs or as many as you'd like. The price per egg also matters to our budget. 
    • Brown eggs come from brown hens. The yellow part of the egg is called the yoke (we all know this) and gets its color from plant pigments in the hen's food; they are made primarily of fats, proteins, and essential nutrients. The whites are called albumen.
- Butter from grass-fed cow's milk [edit: Salted] (Finlandia) at $2.99 (about $0.37oz or $0.19/ tblspn).
- Salt and Pepper grinders from the dollar store cost $1 each., or you can find complimentary packets at hot food counters.

The tools:
  • Microwave
  • Microwave safe glass or ceramic bowl/plate (dollar store)
  • Microwave safe glass or ceramic mug (dollar store)
  • Utensils: Fork, Knife, Spoon [Spork if you can find one!
Simple Microwave Scramble 
The application:
(Important tip, don't put your container in the center of the microwave, off-set it for best results)

  1. Cut a quarter tablespoon of butter into your microwave-safe glass or ceramic container*
  2. Melt the butter in the Microwave 2 twenty second intervals until the solid has become a liquid
    • Times may vary, I have access to a 900W Magic Chef machine 
  3. Crack two eggs into your buttered bowl, add salt and pepper** to your preference and scramble/whip those eggs
  4. Microwave them for 30 seconds, remove the bowl and scrambling/whip them again
  5. Microwave them for 30 seconds, remove the bowl and scrambling/whip them again
  6. Microwave them for 15 seconds, remove the bowl and scramble/whip again
  7. Microwave them for 15 seconds, remove the bowl and scramble/whip again 
 At this point (or sooner) any further cooking is to your preference - I like mine soft, and wet.

** - You could add these at a later point in the process, but the way typed above is fast and simple.

Reminders:
Let the bowl/eggs cool before you eat! Remember that the eggs (and all microwaved food) will continue to cook a bit after you've taken them out of the microwave. With that in mind, thee eggs might look a little loose immediately after the 75 seconds of cooking, but will firm-up some after sitting to cool. Additionally, my bowl is never too hot to handle, but you may want a towel or t-shirt to remove the bowl to your eating surface. Lastly, I like to eat mine with a spork, when I can find one, because the dual function of the fork/spoon helps me get all the egg that sticks to the side of the container (mug or bowl).

Additions:
I don't put milk in my scrambled eggs, but you could. I would add this at step two with the eggs on the initial scramble.
I generally do not put cheese in/on my scramble, but you could add this to your preference on step 5 or 6 because the eggs will not be hot enough to melt your cheese after step 6.
Add your favorite toppings for your "south-western"scramble, avocado, or what-ever.

Microwaving your food does less damage to your food compared to stove top methods, and as a result less/fewer nutrients is/are lost in the process. Eggland's Best eggs raw are 60 calories per serving, 6 grams of protein, 1 gram of saturated fat, 3 grams of unsaturated fat (1 poly- 2 mono-), approximately 20 - 40% of your daily value of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothnic Acid (B5), Iodine, Selenium, Molybdenum, and Choline, and 57% of your daily value of cholesterol. They also contain 125 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids and 200 mcg of Lutein.

For a complete picture I am including my calculations of Finlandia's salted grass-fed cow's milk butter.  At 1 quarter tablespoon there are 25 calories, 2.75 grams of Fat (1.5 from saturated fats and no trans fats), 7.5 mg of cholesterol (only about 2 and quarter percent of your daily value), 20 mg of sodium, 0 carbohydrates, 0 sugars, 0 Protein, and no valuable vitamins/minerals [daily values based on 2000 calorie diet].

For a complete picture I am including my calculations of Finlandia's salted grass-fed cow's milk butter.  At 1 quarter tablespoon there are 25 calories, 2.75 grams of Fat (1.5 from saturated fats and no trans fats), 7.5 mg of cholesterol (only about 2 and quarter percent of your daily value), 20 mg of sodium, 0 carbohydrates, 0 sugars, 0 Protein, and no valuable vitamins/minerals [daily values based on 2000 calorie diet].

At $0.66 for two eggs, $0.05 for a quarter tablespoon of butter, negligible amount of salt/pepper, the cost of your bowl, and 75 seconds of cooking time you have a cheap delicious breakfast!

Thanks for reading,
Joe

*Try to avoid plastic as much as you can. Microwave-safe plastic doesn't mean that it's good for you, it means that it will not destroy your microwave, it might destroy you long term.

Links:
Here are some links of people who videoed themselves following a similar process
Simple Mug scramble
Simple glass bowl scramble (I cued the clip to 28 seconds in)
This guy is hard to watch, but the information is quite good
Just like Mom does (well, not my Mother)
14 Egg Hacks (@3:32 is the microwave scrambled egg. Disclaimer: I don't approve of his cracking technique, use a flat surface, not an edge!)
Bon Appetit and nearly every method for egg prep (@11:18 is the microwave scrambled egg)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Eating While on the Road - Week One (Budgeting)

Dear Readers,

Thanks for follow me on this journey of microwave meals, nutritional eating, and budgeting while on the road. This brief post is intended as an overview of my spending, in which I include an itemized shopping list, my thoughts and outline of the meals that I made.

Find below meal suggestions - for cold and hot meals - based on those that I made while staying at a hotel with only small refrigerator and a microwave. I do not follow a specific diet, and my meals may contain meat, fish, dairy, and gluten.

Here was my shopping list for week one:

These groceries cost $86.55, plus one dollar for the microwave safe bowl I bought. Additionally, I ordered Chinese-American take-out food the night that I flew in which gave me 2 plastic bowls, chop sticks, and plastic utensils that I continue to use and wash. Luckily, the kitchen was able to give me a napkin with utensils as well.

This might seem like a lot to spend all at once, but when I divide the total price (dividend) by the number of days that I ate these food items instead of eating out (divisor) my quotient is my price per day. Then, of course, there is the somewhat volatile "meals & entertainment expenses" per diem that one can claim on his/her/their taxes, which - while it plays a role in your taxable income - is another post entirely. 
($86.55 / 7days = $12.36 per day)
($12.36 / 3 meals per day = $4.12 per meal)

$12.36 per day for three meals, or three meals a day at $4.12 per meal, not including snacking, is certainly cheaper than any single meal I could buy at a restaurant or food cart. I did go out one day the first week to have a few beers and some chicken wigs (add $18.00 plus tip to that weekly total expenditure).

My hot meals this week included:

  • Scrambled eggs (Butter, Salt, Pepper, Eggs)
  • Egg "Over easy" (Butter, Salt, Pepper, Egg)
  • Bone Broth (Soup)
  • Piadina (Quesadilla)
  • Nachos
  • Sweet potato 
  • Sweet potato & Tuna Tacos

My cold meals included:
  • Salad with canned fish 
  • Cucumbers and Celery
  • Celery with peanut butter 
Snacks:
  • Blue berries
  • Cheese
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Nachos
  • Peanuts
(Coffee and tea are included in my stay)

In my next post I will focus on the break down of these meals, but I wanted to offer some more details and specifics about this journey, following my previous post.

Thanks for reading,
Joe