My sous vide cooker broke yesterday.

In the process of figuring out what happened to it, I realized that I should have been dismantling it and cleaning it on a regular basis. It sits in clean water, so it didn’t even occur to me to take it apart, but over the course of the time that I’d owned it, enough hair and dog fur had gotten caught in the fan blades that they jammed and then, I think, effectively burned out the motor. I was very sad, but thought positively, “Oh, well, this will give me a chance to break out of my cooking rut and make some different meals.”

That lasted exactly eighteen hours. While I was walking the dog this morning, on an absolutely beautiful gray gloomy beach, I was considering my food options and choices, and when I came back to the van, I went straight to Amazon, and bought myself a new sous vide device, specifically this one: Malaha Sous Vide. It was reasonably cheap at $77, with Prime shipping and a number of nice reviews with verified purchase tags that read like they were written by real people. I haven’t tried it yet, obviously, so I can’t say that it’s as good as the Anova, but I liked the price and the reviews.

Here’s the thing about sous vide cooking: it’s easy, it’s extremely low-mess, you can prep food for several meals in one batch of cooking, it’s cost-efficient, and it’s delicious. I can’t imagine cooking chicken breast or steak any other way now, and it lets me do things like buy a bundle of asparagus and actually stretch out the eating of the asparagus over ten days to two weeks, instead of needing to eat it all within a couple days. I divide the asparagus — or whatever vegetable — into smaller quantities, vacuum pack them, and then take my time about eating them. It’s possible to wait too long — specifically, I’ve ruined asparagus by cooking it and then not opening it for a week. That was a bad ida. But generally, I’m throwing away less produce that I didn’t manage to eat before it wilted. Also, my chicken is always delicious with so little effort from me. It’s the laziest method of cooking ever. And because when I’m cooking for myself I don’t worry about browning my meat, the clean-up is basically pouring some clean water down the drain. Usually, I use the warm water to wash my bowl and plate and silverware and cutting board first, but there’s no messy frying pans involved.

So, yeah, I thought, “Oh, I will break the quinoa bowl/sous vide habit,” and then I actually considered that more seriously, and thought, “Nope, absolutely not.” I’m going to have to live without my sous vide cooker until I get back to my brother’s house, but frankly, this is going to make me hurry to my brother’s house, because it’s not a thing I want to live without. I don’t use it daily or anywhere close, but I use it weekly and eat the food that I’ve cooked with it pretty much every day.

So my two pieces of advice to you this morning are: 1) if you own a sous vide device, make sure you’re cleaning it! And 2) if you don’t own a sous vide device, but you cook meals, seriously consider getting one. It’s not the kind of cooking tool where you come home from a long day of work and think, “Oh, I’m going to pull out the sous vide tonight,” but it is very much the kind of cooking tool where you can take a Sunday afternoon and prep food for healthy interesting lunches all week long.

Moving on… tomorrow I will literally move on from what I think is my favorite campsite ever. If I didn’t have reservations in Acadia this weekend and plans with friends and a need for a sous vide cooker, I’d probably stay until the weather drove me away or the campground closed for the winter.

Serenity with an ocean view as a backdrop

Can’t beat the view

I’m trying to remind myself that the campground in Prince Edward Island was my previous favorite ever and the only way to find my next favorite ever is to keep moving. But this place is seriously lovely and it will be hard to say good-bye.