Published May 25, 2019
For the whole first year and a half after I moved to France, I lived without a stove or a refrigerator. It may seem an odd predicament, but in France, it is actually fairly common for apartments not to come furnished with appliances. And while living without such modern conveniences was definitely not without its challenges, thinking back on the experience now, it actually didn’t really bother me that much at all.
I lived with another chef at the time, and although people were generally shocked to find that the two of us, who literally ate, slept and lived for food, could go without what most western humans consider to be the most basic of kitchen essentials.
Well, you know what? We survived, and honestly, we even thrived if you can believe it, because living without a stove, or a fridge for that matter doesn’t make eating impossible. In fact, it actually makes eating more fun!
On our days off we went to the market. We would buy only the amount of fresh things we would be able to consume that day or that wouldn’t spoil if we had to keep them around at room temperature. There wasn’t any need for us to buy refrigerated things in gigantic quantities, and let’s be super honest, we were otherwise working so much that anything ‘family-sized’ would likely have met a slow death in the back of the crisper had we actually had one.
Did I mention that we did, however, eventually get ourselves a kettle? Oh, the glorious things one can ‘cook’ with a kettle! Boiled eggs, couscous, vermicelli noodles...all which were incredible additions to the endless salad-like and ‘sandwichesque’ creations we would dream up. Add to these a can of beans or lentils, or even some fresh fish for that matter, and even the most basic of pantries for seasoning (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, full-stop), and you are seriously set for cooking.
These days, my slightly more established (and heavily stocked with refrigerated condiments) self looks back on this period with a combined feeling of fondness and bewilderment. I am frankly impressed with all that we were able to make with so little to work with. And although I sometimes wonder how I would fare now were I to find myself in a similar position, I also know that I would certainly be up for the challenge.
With this all in mind, I decided to put together a recipe that, assuming you buy only what you will consume, doesn’t require a stove or a refrigerator in order to make it. In some ways, one could even call it a ‘raw’ dish, but certainly one of the more omnivorous variety.
More than anything though, it is delicious. Which is a good thing, because that means more for you and less for you to put in your “non-existent” refrigerator.
Link to recipe here.