Czech out this starving artist’s budget-friendly food recs

Courtesy of Talya Phelps

I’ve often felt that disaster follows me wherever I go, and apparently, it managed to fly 4,000 miles across six time zones and land safely with me in Prague.

Case in point: My first time frying eggs in my new flat, I somehow blew a fuse and all the lights went out with a pop. Although we got the electricity (and more importantly, the WiFi) back on, our stove has now been out of commission for over a week.

This fact, combined with my ineptitude for cooking and my fear of blowing all my money on takeout, has led to some meals of a lower quality than anything I’ve ever experienced at the Deece. Wait, I’ve been away from campus for so long that it might not even be called the Deece anymore. Texting here costs about an arm and a leg, so someone please snail mail me your review of the new dining hall…and preferably along with enough food to last me until December.

1. Scrambled Eggs à la Microwave

Ah, eggs—so wonderful when they’re made well, and so repulsive when they’re not. On the spectrum of egg deliciousness, rotten eggs lie on one end, and on the other end are freshly deviled eggs with a sprinkle of paprika and eggs expertly fried over medium so that just enough yolk drips onto the plate to mop up with your toast.

Somewhere in the middle is microwave scrambled eggs, a dish so aggressively mediocre that it’s impossible to tell whether you’re enjoying it or hating it. Eating these eggs is a deeply confusing experience. The texture is somehow dried out and slimy at the same time, much like a kitchen sponge at the end of its lifespan. In fact, calling them “scrambled” might be a stretch; these eggs are to real scrambled eggs as a discount blow-up sex doll is to a relationship.

Yet there is something about these eggs that appeals to the basest of human instincts. Shoveling them into my gullet on only a piece of stale bread, I feel connected to my ancestors. I feel like I am satisfying a hunger more primal than the one I have for protein. Frankly, I feel alive.

To prepare Scrambled Eggs à la Microwave, beat two eggs in a microwave-safe bowl. Tear up a piece of cheese and sprinkle it in. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, stir and then microwave for another 85 seconds. Finish with a pinch of salt. For the most authentic experience, enjoy in bed while binge-watching “Rick and Morty” and thinking about your past mistakes.

2. Fruit Medley

To start this recipe off on a positive note, I can actually say the names of three entire fruits in Czech: apple, orange and strawberry, or jablko, pomeranc and jahoda, respectively. However, getting my two servings has been a challenge (not least because traditional cuisine in this country appears to have been invented by someone with a mortal phobia of fruits and vegetables).

Going to the supermarket for a fresh jablko is too much for me to handle on most days; Czech checkout lines are known for being extremely fast-paced and stressful, and it’s hard to avoid panicking as I root around in my purse for the right change like a starving squirrel digging for nuts.

Thus, my award-winning Fruit Medley consists solely of Haribo raspberry- and blackberry-flavored gummies, with a garnish of sour straws. The only problem here is my impending sugar-induced root canal.

Despite my griping and my inevitable cavities, I really do love it here in Prague, and I’m incredibly lucky to spend my semester in The City of a Thousand Spires. I’ve also picked up another Central European culinary tip definitely worth sharing: Beer is cheaper than water, and apparently a pint has as many calories as seven slices of bread, so by ordering a large beer to go with a small meal, I can easily trick my naïve stomach into thinking it’s had a delicious sandwich.

They said study abroad would be educational, and they certainly weren’t wrong. Now, if you need me, I’ll be on WebMD looking up symptoms of scurvy.

 

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