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  • Writer's pictureAngela Mannino

Playing House

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

I went from four months in the Big Apple to a quick week home for Easter and wedding planning in the Big Easy to my next gig--in the Big Cheesy? I'm here in Madison, Wisconsin singing Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Madison Opera. For the next three weeks my "home" is a lovely hotel room :-) It's really terrific--I'm only a block walk from where we rehearse and will be performing, not to mention tons of restaurants, the State Capitol and beautiful lakes. I've only had one rehearsal so far and it was super fun and I'm very excited for the weeks to come!

Each time I arrive at a gig the living arrangements are always a little different. Sometimes the opera company has arranged for us to stay with host families, sometimes it's an extended stay hotel with a full kitchen, often we have to rent a place at our own expense and sometimes (like now) they "put us up" in a regular hotel room. Fortunately, my room came with a microwave and refrigerator in addition to the signature hotel room 4 cup coffee pot :-) I did my investigative work prior to driving here from NOLA--another plus as I was able to pack some kitchen essentials once I found out what my cooking parameters were going to be. Not having a full kitchen in your hotel room definitely puts limits on the quantity and quality of what you can cook, but I was excited for the challenge of cooking for one with just a microwave.

First, it was important to get organized. Unpack and designate an area for the make-shift kitchen. As I said, I came prepared (thanks, Mom, for providing several of the essentials): 2 microwavable bowls, one set of flatware, some Tupperware, a fruit bowl, a colander and 2 plates that I found at Target for 80 cents on clearance that can serve double duty as a plate and cutting board. The room came with coffee mugs and glasses so I was all set to hit the grocery store. Again, I'm fortunate to have my car with me AND to be working in a town with great grocery stores including a Whole Foods whose prepared foods section has been the basis of a few of the meals I've concocted so far!

Cereal, crackers, cheese, bread, fruit, cherry tomatoes, granola bars, hummus, PB & J, milk, coffee creamer, olive oil, egg substitute and microwave popcorn are a some of the things that I got that I knew I would need to build my pantry. I LOVE to eat healthy and I enjoy preparing my meals at home so the last 3 days have been fun. The two shining stars so far have been my microwave safe bowls and olive oil nonstick spray. Another fun find was a bag of frozen fully cooked quinoa with diced sweet potatoes and zucchini that I found at Whole Foods.

This morning's microwave creation: a fresh spinach, Wisconsin cheese and egg-white omelet!

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