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c-chan's guide to con cookery: modern primitive

Inspired by 'how to boil water'. Sense of taste optional.

Cooking in a hotel room is much like cooking anywhere else, except that the heat sources are not quite as effective. Typically, a coffeepot and hair dryer are available. The coffeepot will boil water, while the hair dryer can be used to defrost and heat (to a degree.)

If you can, bring a rice cooker. It will make rice, but it can also boil water and act as a steamer.

The most important thing is preparation. Watch a few episodes of iron chef, or the cook's scenes in nadesico. Forbid people to even mention the name 'akane' in your presence. Put on some light music. X-japan's 'art of life,' perhaps. 'Green bird' set to loop forever. You do not want to concentrate fully on what you are cooking.

Start with the very basic of basics. Bring instant ramen. Anyone who can boil water can make instant ramen. Boil the water using the hot plate that you just pulled out of hammerspace, and put the ramen in. Cook for two minutes, add seasoning to taste, simmer another minute. Serve.

What? You don't have access to hammerspace? And you call yourself an otaku. . . in that case, you can cook it in the tank of your coffeepot. Boil it for three minutes, pour it out, add seasoning. Make sure there is enough water in the tank at all times, and clean the coffeemaker immediately, to keep noodles from sticking to the heating element.

Hot dogs are a variation on this theme. They can be steamed in the coffeemaker, as well as boiled. We recommend the hoffy dogs that are used by Pink's in LA, as they are plump, juicy, and flavorful. Steamed vegetables, or indeed steamed anything, are likewise possible.

Bring tea. The aroma of good tea will pervade a room and go some way toward combatting the atmosphere of otaku in a confined space. It requires virtually no space to store and is very difficult to mess up. (In case you've forgotten, tea is prepared by immersing dried tea leaves in water that has been brought to a boil, and letting them sit for a short period. Two minutes should be more than enough.)

It is possible to make tomato soup from ketchup packets. Just thin it out a little, heat, and slurp. You will probably want to find some salt and pepper beforehand. It is nutritous and easy on the stomach. The taste and smell, on the other hand, are not terribly appealing.

With a little electronics skill and a screwdriver, you can disable the fan in the hair dryer. Do not let the dryer run for extended periods! The plastic will melt! However, the exposed heating element will make toast, pop tarts, etc. wonderfully. Be careful, hair dryers are among the most dangerous appliances in existence. If you're trembling from starvation, you probably shouldn't even be in the same room with one.

In case of dire emergency, make sugar syrup. It'll provide a quick boost so that you can look for some real food. just heat water and stir sugar in until no more will dissolve. drink warm.

By the way, avoid all artifical sweeteners. The goal is to take in as many calories as possible. Nutrasweet and its ilk contribute nothing and taste dreadful. The ideal sweetener is honey. Honey goes well with anything, and never spoils. It's good for a quck boost, or to combat the unbearable weariness that sets in around the third day. If honey is unavailable, get sugar. Any nearby restaurant, coffee shop, or fast-food place should have it in abundance.

Stuff to remember:

Should you be in a situation where food is unavailable, distract yourself. Watch something really disgusting, like that scene near the end of akira.

Bring pocky. If you've neglected to do this, buy, beg, or steal pocky. They call it 'The Super Snack' for a reason, you know.

Instant ramen is about as nutritious as accoustic tile. (I know that accoustic tile can be quite nutritous if prepared properly. Nonetheless, I would not recommend a diet of tile exclusively.)

No matter how tempting, do not eat the flowers, pillow stuffing, or blankets.

Likewise, resist eating fellow con attendees. You don't know when they last bathed.

Share with your neighbors. This is good, as it encourages them to share with you.

Be inventive. Some people we know make donuts at cons, rolled, fried, and dipped in sugar and cinnamon. Their room is always filled with grateful otaku. It's not terribly difficult, either. Talk with the people in the hospitality room; they know what they're doing.

The moral is that there is an ecosystem, and everyone can make a successful niche in it. Also, remember, it's usally easier to find food at a con than it is deduce it from first principles. Try reading this article on foraging if cooking doesn't seem reasonable.