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Bachelor pad is simple and Spartan -- for now

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opinion Wadena, 56482
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Man may not be able to live by bread alone, but it appears milk, pop, apple juice and water are sustenance enough -- at least for a bachelor. These meager staples were the only contents of the fridge when I visited my fiance in Hawaii in May.

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Fortunately, after a long plane trip, I found a Tony's pizza in the freezer. That was our first meal in what will be our first home after we're married in two weeks. We ate our slices on the 1970s-era Tupperware plates that were the only kitchen items to make the move from my fiance's home in Albuquerque to our Honolulu condo.

The food was humble, but eating it wearing a fresh flower lei my fiance bought to greet me made for a memorable meal. I felt like I had been transported to a different world. And I suppose I had after leaving quiet southwest Wadena to land on the 31st floor of an L-shaped high rise smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big city.

Our condo overlooks a lush, green landscape littered with tightly packed buildings. Homes crawl up the sides of the mountains to the left of our lanai. On the right is Diamond Head and the hotels that line Waikiki. And beyond that is the blue, blue ocean. We can watch the fireworks display the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on every Friday.

I've never lived right in the middle of a city before. The Ala Moana mall is a 20-minute walk from our condo. A grocery store is less than a block away.

I was excited to make use of the grocery store during my week-long visit. Cooking meals in our condo was harder than I thought, though. The owner left a few kitchen before she moved to the mainland for school and the man my fiance traded jobs with left a handful of utensils as well. Still, the cupboards and drawers were pretty bare.

I bought a knife and a cutting board since I couldn't imagine cooking without those. They weren't quite enough to make the tuna fish pasta I had planned, however. When I got home with a box of spaghetti, I realized we didn't have a pot with a lid on it, just a small wok and a non-stick skillet. There wasn't even a can opener for the tomatoes I bought.

How was my fiance surviving, I wondered. Apparently the aforementioned beverages, some cereal, and a selection of $1 TV dinners and cans of Chunky soup with pop top lids don't require a lot of kitchen utensils. He heats soup up in the wok. All he needs to make his lunch is a knife to spread peanut butter and jelly on two slices of bread and baggies to fill with animal crackers and Cheez-Its. His "cooking" methods are either brilliantly simple or frighteningly Spartan, depending on your taste.

I altered my plans and made salads (the carrots peeled with the knife), sandwiches with fried eggs (the nonstick skillet worked great), and roast vegetables (there was a cookie sheet) to accompany a store-bought rotisserie chicken. After all, it wasn't like we were confined to the condo. We ate out a few times, too, including at a fun Japanese restaurant in Waikiki and Genki Sushi, which is probably my favorite reasonably priced place we've eaten at in Hawaii. We could have survived off ice cream alone considering all the trips we made for two-scoop sundaes at the Baskin-Robbins where President Obama worked when he lived in our neighborhood.

My silly little box of pasta could wait until I returned in June with my own pot, I decided.

An unexpected little surprise occurred shortly before the end of my visit, though. My fiance stayed at a series of hotels during my stay, whatever he could find for the best price. The last room he booked was unexpectedly upgraded to an extended stay room and my fiance very proudly brought home a pot with a lid on it from the kitchenette the next morning.

I happily bought a bottle of soy sauce and made a lo mein-style dish using our leftover rotisserie chicken, broccoli, carrots, onion, lots of cabbage and the spaghetti. I felt like I was really cooking.

During my stay, I saw a spectacular view of Kaneohe Bay from the Pali Lookout and laid under palm trees in Waikiki Beach, but sometimes it just takes a borrowed pot with a lid to make a guy a hero and a woman happy.

Now, when I use my one-way ticket to fly to Honolulu the end of June I'll arrive at our condo with a slightly more well-stocked fridge. There will most certainly be milk, water, apple juice and pop. But there will be soy sauce in the door, too, and a link to some of our first memories in our first home.

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