What’s cookin’?

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Backpacking means so much to me in so many ways.

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After several backpackings I got mature, learn how to express myself, and that was the time I realized I am not a just spoiled child anymore-in a good way. It was very big break in my life.

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Among all these things I’ve learn, experienced, and realized, there is a one thing.

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One of a brilliant thing I discoverd was, I can cook!  Ability to make something to eat and that was actually good. What a surprise I am a good cook! I mean I always wanted to cook but I lived  in a dorm in University so didn’t have much chance.

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Cooking through whole backpacking is the one thing I am very proud of. I didn’t plan to do so in the first place. I usually had pies, cheese, fish and chips, or cheap burgers. God knows NZ has such a nice cheese and pies. .

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After few days after when I arrived at South island of New Zealand, I started to buy groceries. Well, I did buy some food from big markets before, like Countdown but that was just for one of two days. But it changes. I just went to a market like I used to, then I remember I thought ‘Okay, why not?’. .\

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Things I bought, a whole bag of bread, one big carton of milk, a jar of jam-which I was so surprised there were so- many different kind of jams!! Culture shock that was, three sausages on a huge sale, oh and of course a box of weetbix. Next thing I know I ate weetbix for breakfast, made lunch to go, and cook dinner. Backpackers were surprisingly well prepared with kitchen utilities. .

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My food bag

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It can be sounds very lonely procedure, but it is not actually. I got lonely just once when I was in Invercargill just by myself in the whole huge YHA. Otherwise it was very fun thing to do.

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Conversation, is a definitely the best way to get to know people and different culture. Art can be like I mentioned in different article. Eating food is one of the best methods for sure, and then I realize cooking can be one of them. Many backpackers were already cooking through their ways. We all share a fridge, cooking tools, and recipes. .

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Then what did I make?

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Toast and scrambled egg, sandwich, soup, and pasta. These are the main dishes I made.

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Sounds familiar? .

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This whole cooking thing was so much fun in many ways.

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First, grocery store is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in different country. I can pick up pretty much everything about their life. Moreover I have such a diverse appetite. Korean foods, I do love but I barely miss them when I’m away. And I have a more of westerners’ appetite, a bit. So you can imagine how happy I was at the huge grocery store. All the cheese, bread, wine, Oh yes wine.. hm!

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Second, these foods are not daily routine in Korea. I worked at a sandwich shop so I know what good bread is, but it is almost impossible to find fine bread like dark bread in Korea. Also we do have serials but just basic ones like corn frost. Pasta, is considered one of the most expensive dining in my country. So basically many daily routine foods I could make in New Zealand were big cultural difference for me. Shopping was a huge delight, cooking was a great fun. Learning and having fun! What could beat that?

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And finally there were many backpackers in the kitchen already, so we could get to know each other during making pasta or waiting water to boil. Along with interesting conversations, I learn many different ways of pasta making, and pasta could be just some easy food. It is like a ramen (라면) for Koreans. It is 3 mins instant food and the most popular one. It’s easy to make, delicious, and cheap. But  also  you can make it as a well-being food.

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So one time, I actually packed pasta for lunch! It was extraordinary experience.

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My friend, Matt

Talking about food, I had really strong cravings for pancake after I back home. That was because my friend’s pancake.  He was English and he made thin pancake with lemon and little sugar on it, and he said that is an English pancake. Which was very different from American pancake-thick and brown.

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First time I saw, ate and I loved it!! I made so many pancakes after the backpacking.

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So, What’s cookin’ was,

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I became a fan of Campbell soup, weetbix lover, a scrambled egg master, can’t get over New Zealand meat pie, and most importantly, a good cook. I found one of my new personality. or should I say, ability?

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Isn’t it amazing you can learn so many things about yourself you didn’t even know  that you have through traveling?

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By Juno Kim on June 3, 2010 · Posted in Runaway Tales

18 Comments | Post Comment

vewe says:

Ok, you better share some of your recipe here! :)

Posted on June 3rd, 2010

Juno says:

@Vewe

haha Nothing special! :D Just I was such a bigginer…!! I love to add vegies. hehe :)

Posted on June 4th, 2010

Migration Mark says:

Awesome post and very glad that you discovered how to cook! I think you should add some Kim-Chi to the food mix next time to make it more tasty (I love Korean food by the way)!

Posted on June 4th, 2010

Ted Nelson says:

I enjoy cooking sometimes, but I am too lazy when traveling. This is a good idea though. Many perks as you can save money and meet people. Also, there are always down times when traveling, so it helps kill some time to shop and cook. Great post.

Posted on June 4th, 2010

Juno says:

@Mark

haha! :) yes good idea! If I can find some decent Kimchi overseas! :) I can make mean Kimchi jigae. Hehe… How long were you staying here? Thanks for the compliment Mark! :D

Posted on June 4th, 2010

Juno says:

@Ted

Yes that’s true! It is one way to having fun in down times. :) I hung out at hostel with other backpackers a lot, or by myself. especially when the weather was not good, like raining in Glacier town. There was nothing too see and do. Thanks for the sweet comment Ted! :)

Posted on June 4th, 2010

ciki says:

WOW! is there anything u cannot do girl?!! hats off to you!

btw, got to tell you.. i really hate weetbix and campbell soup.. yarks. how can u eat the stuff? LOL
I also agree with you , food and conversation, and conversation over food is the best way to make new friends and get to know people!

great article juno.. post a video of you cooking.. i wanna see!!!

Posted on June 4th, 2010

Life for Beginners says:

The joys of cooking can come from many different sources and beginnings.. All that matters is that we find that joy… and you sure have! You go girl! :D

Posted on June 5th, 2010

Lori says:

hehe, it’s indeed something to see that you can actually cook – and do something good. :)

I remember the first time I cooked – being young, at home, mother and grandma away – made some donuts :) Now my husband love my “papanasi” and other things. But enough about me :)

I wanted to congratulate you for the post idea and for emphasize an important thing: it is recommended to try and taste the food in the country you go visit – or where you go to stay for a while. If you try to prepare it for yourself, that’s even better!

Anyway – a fun element: last trip – in Vienna, we bought fondue cheese and brought it back home to Romania (we don’t have it here, theoretically it can be made with proper ingredients). Several years ago, visiting a friend, she wanted papanasi. I said I’ll bake them – but unfortunately in her country a major ingredient was impossible to find.

In the end a single word: congratulations :)

Posted on June 5th, 2010

Brendan van Son says:

Mmm… I don’t know why but all I can do is think about how hungry I am!

Posted on June 7th, 2010

Ant Stone says:

Nice post, Juno. In my opinion, food is the single best way to spark up a conversation in a large hostel.

Posted on August 26th, 2010

Juno says:

@Ant

Thanks Ant! :) Yea that’s true. People usually become more mellow around the food. :) Do you cook during travel? I still love English pancake my friend made for all of us. Thin pancake with Lemon and sugar, mmmm~

Posted on August 26th, 2010

Todd says:

nice post as usual Juno. I love cooking while traveling long term, even if it’s just with my own burner while I’m camping out along the way. But I save the fancy stuff for home ;)

Posted on August 26th, 2010

Juno says:

@Todd

Thanks! :) I’ve seen you cook too! And cooking while camping, that is tempting. I’ve done that once when I was in elementary school, and we totally failed. hahaha! I’ve never done proper camping since then, but I really thinking about it now.

Posted on August 27th, 2010

LeslieTravel says:

Great post and cool photos! I love shopping in foreign supermarkets when I travel– it’s so interesting to see the different products (or the same products with different packaging). Like you, I got into cooking while backpacking. It’s funny how much backpackers like to cook– it’s almost like we’re one upping each other with our chef skills. Or maybe we just have a lot of time on our hands ;)

Posted on October 5th, 2010

Matt Dunn says:

wow…this is some serious blog Jiyeon; very impressive and so many memories:) i will check out later:) nice to see the pancake action again, ha ha! x

Posted on October 8th, 2010

Juno says:

@Matt

Matttt! :) Yeeesss and you know what? You and Saul are quite a big memory for me. We had short but fun moments together! :) Thanks for dropping by, and hopefully I can fill this place up with our reunion someday :)

Posted on October 8th, 2010

Bryony says:

Did you know that in England they are called Weet-a-bix and are slightly different texture? :)

Posted on November 3rd, 2010