Welcome to Freezer Tours, where we get intimate with your icebox to unpack all the tasty, quirky, and sometimes straight-up kooky things that people keep below zero.
Who did we chill with today?
Name: Amna Shamim
Location: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Career: Chief growth officer/freelance writer
Cooking ability: Intermediate
How many people share your freezer: Just me
Most of the food in your freezer is: Store-bought
If your freezer had a nickname it would be: Charlie (I give most of my appliances human names.)
Without your freezer you would: Cry. The freezer is where I store most of my comfort food.
As someone who travels a lot and can work from anywhere, I’ve made do without a lot of things. But there’s always been a freezer everywhere I’ve lived, so it’s become super important to me. Even when all I’ve had is a mini-fridge, there’s been enough tiny freezer space to store a little treat.
As a nomad, my freezer always has something in it to calm my homesickness. On the other side of that coin, many of my happiest memories are tied to food I’ve experienced during my travels — French Laundry in Napa, Quintonil in Mexico City, fish and chips from Seashells in London, the blue bowl Laksa in Penang, the list goes on. My freezer holds memories of distant places and people I can’t wait to see again.
Something that makes me less homesick: Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies
Thin Mints are my favorite of all the Girl Scout cookies, and I like them best frozen. They’re a perfect combination of mint, cold, chocolate, and crunch. I picked them up when I flew home to the United States for my vaccine appointment, and they go perfectly with my afternoon tea, iced or hot. Gimme.
An all-purpose sauce: Homemade pesto
I love pesto and will put it on everything from pasta to veggies to crackers to eggs. I can’t always find good basil at the grocery store here in Mexico, so, when I can, I make a huge batch and freeze some of it in little tubs.
I freeze it before I add the Parmesan. When I want to chow down, I’ll defrost the pesto and stir in some fresh Parmesan. It just tastes better that way. It’s not as good as fresh pesto, but if I can’t find fresh basil leaves, it’s a great alternative.
Something that reminds me of traveling: Costco veggie dumplings
I hate making dumplings, but I love eating dumplings. Here in Mexico, the best dumplings I’ve been able to find regularly are Costco’s veggie dumplings. They aren’t the best dumplings in the world, nor do they come close to the real thing. But, with limited options? Boy, do they hit the spot.
They’re easy to boil or cook up in a skillet. Plus, they’re super affordable and extremely tasty. They’re a great way of scratching the “I wish I were traveling somewhere in Asia right now” itch without having to source a lot of hard-to-find ingredients.
Something that makes me feel fancy: Kerrygold butter
Here in Mexico, I often confuse mantequilla (butter, which I love) and margarina (margarine, which I don’t) when I’m shopping and in a hurry.
To avoid my inevitable margarine disappointment (band name, called it), I generally stick to buying clearly branded, high-quality Kerrygold butter that I know and love… by the kilo. (That’s 2.2 pounds, fellow Americans – it’s a metric and imperial f*ckton of butter.)
Bulk buying one of my favorite kinds of butter makes sense for me because I buy so much butter and cheese on my infrequent Costco runs that I don’t have fridge space for all of it. And the butter freezes better than cheeses (I am wasted as a non-rapper).
A thing I always buy in bulk: Assorted shredded cheese (2 pounds)
Cheese is one of my most beloved comfort foods (yes, I might like dairy a little too much).
And while cheeses like Brie and Camembert don’t freeze well, shredded cheeses do. I use them in nachos, lasagna, dips, and so much more.
Some people knock pre-shredded cheese, but it’s perfect for my needs. The fact that it’s already shredded means that it’s easier to break off a chunk from the freezer than it would be if I froze a whole block of cheese. And even better, I don’t have to shred it.
Amna Shamim is a marketer, writer, and avid traveler. She’s easy to lose track of, always popping up with stories and photos far away from where you were sure she was. You can follow her adventures on instagram or twitter.