Category: food

soft cheese

I finally broke down and bought a cooler. Seems like the obvious thing for a vandweller but I resisted fiercely, for a number of reasons. The biggest was that space is precious. Now that I spend several daylight hours in the van every day I need to keep my space uncluttered, so the last thing I wanted was one more boxy thing to deal with. I also didn’t really want to be buying ice every day… spending money, consuming plastic… the only other way to cool the cooler would be to stash ice packs in my friends’ freezers, but then I’d be dependent upon housedwellers, i.e. cheating! So it would have to be ice… then there’s the annoyance of food floating around in the melted ice water… all around I just didn’t want it.

It was the cheese that finally made me cave. All this time I’ve been stuck with the hard cheeses that keep well… Emental, Asiago… fine cheeses, but you know, I missed my soft old friends…┬áCambezola, Havarti, chevre, Macedonian feta. So now I buy the ice, I fill the box, I shuffle it around, I dump the water, and I resent the hell out of it… but I love my cheese!

Side bonuses: now I can buy yogurt too, and I don’t have to scarf down my hummus in a day.



I’d almost given up on the idea of feeding myself properly in the van. It isn’t safe to use the camp stove indoors, and there isn’t room for it anyway. Cooking would steam the place up, too, and you know how I feel about more moisture. And then I’d have to deal with loads of dirty dishes, blecch!┬áMost of all, I like to be around people, even if I’m not talking to them. I’d much rather be somewhere public than eating alone in a van.

So I’ve been thinking of my home as being modular: my bedroom is in the van, my shower and my gym are in the community centre, and my kitchen is all over the city, a constantly expanding network of cheap healthy eating spots (okay, usually healthy).

There’s an obvious problem though: my money’s gotten tight, and I just can’t eat out all the time. So I’ve figured out a few simple meals that don’t require cooking, that don’t make a lot of mess, and whose ingredients I can easily keep on hand in the van. Fruit is obvious, I like to always have apples and oranges and bananas on hand. I also have granola and almond milk and peanut butter, yum. Sometimes I can borrow a friend’s kitchen and boil up some eggs to keep around. And wraps are perfect: hand-held, variable ingredients depending on what’s on hand, fast to make and eat. Tonight’s had humous, havarti, dry black olive (the really salty kind), green pepper, and cherry tomatoes. Not bad!

You’ll notice those meals are all small, and that’s part of the idea too. I’m used to eating a lot, so with luck (and some willpower) this will help me cut down on the excess.

As per the Day 1 post, I’ve gotten rid of one more box full of stuff, and moved things around so that most of the items I’m likely to need often are easy to access. The Structural Adjustment Program for the bed will have to wait (IMF joke, not very funny). But in order to stay sane the other thing I’ve had to organize is my routine. Some examples:

  • I try to remember to pull out clean clothes for the next day before I go to bed so I don’t have to go rooting around for them in the morning. Best is to bring them right under the covers with me so they’re warm when it’s time to put them on :)
  • First thing when I wake up (or rather, when I get up, which is usually after a half hour of snuggling deeper into my warm blankets and pretending to still be asleep) I now have a little wet-nap bath, even if I think I’m going to get a shower somewhere. Experience has shown that plans for showers can go awry.
  • Strange as it sounds, showers can also happen when I’m not expecting them, so I bring all my shower stuff with me whenever I leave the van.
  • For that matter, I also need to take advantage of electrical outlets, so when I leave the van I also bring devices/cords/chargers… all this is made possible by my incredible new backpack! I know, I know… I just sold or gave away 95% of my stuff so buying more is silly, but this keeps me and all my necessities organized, I love it.
  • If I’m going to hang out in the van, I have to choose the timing strategically to avoid steaming up the windows. I can’t use the defrost because it makes the crack in my windshield grow another few inches in length (it’s at 7″ now… new windshield on order).
  • Next thing to figure out (this is going to need its own post someday): a healthy van diet. So far I’ve been eating very well with friends, but if it weren’t for them I’m afraid it’d be a steady diet of samosas and pizza.