Adventures in Cooking Without a Working Kitchen

True story and one I never told my parents; I was without a working kitchen in my apartment in Korea for about a week because my gas wasn’t turned on and my school was having issues. It wasn’t a terribly big deal since I was keen to try the local fare at the food court in my neighborhood Homeplus where I could point at what looked good. I also went to my nearest Kim Pasa restaurant (24-hour Korean fast food restaurant) and either pointed at what someone else was eating or going with the one dish I was familiar with at the time: bibimbap.

Now, I’m home where I have access to a full kitchen (ovens are not commonplace in South Korea), and it’s been great. Well, until a couple of weeks ago. You see, my parents have been saving up for the last few years because my mom has to do some remodeling to the kitchen and they finally have the funds. The workers came in the week of Memorial Day to start work. After my obligatory, “I’ve been away TWO YEARS, could you not have done this sooner,” and my mom’s response of, “First World problems,” it’s coming together nicely. I’m happy because my mom is happy and after 35 years as a public school teacher, the very least she deserves is new countertops.

So there is a bunch of takeout and eating out, but that’s getting expensive so my mom and I have been scheming up ways to cook that don’t involve a stovetop or oven. Here’s what we got so far:


Seriously, this has been the best really. I think crock-pot meals are seriously underrated. You throw some meat, some vegetables and broth in in the morning and you have a good, healthy meal by evening. We use beef, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms and voila, something that fills me up that doesn’t come from a bag. The only downside is cleanup, which involved me washing the pot in my bathtub and trying to pick out leftover pieces of food from the drain because the shower doesn’t work like a garbage disposal.


There’s meat of course, but my favorite thing we’ve discovered is to take red potatoes, wrap them in aluminum and place on the grill for a couple of minutes. The skin is nice and crispy and I end up eating most of it. It’s also good to grill onions and mushrooms together in the aluminum.


Probably the simplest thing to do, though these could get boring after awhile. The best one we found was this kale, strawberry and avocado salad though we used store-bought dressing. You get adventurous with your salads because the bag kind gets boring quickly.

Anyone else have suggestions of recipes that can be cooked in a minimal kitchen or stories of when you were without a kitchen for repair or financial reasons? There was also that time I lived in a hole in the wall and subsisted on ramen and Chef Boyardee before I decided to move back in with the parents.

By Stephens

Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

4 replies on “Adventures in Cooking Without a Working Kitchen”

Leave a Reply