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Old 05-11-07, 12:10 PM   #1
the sloth
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What's the best meal you've made while on tour?

After reading posts on food and gear it seems like food is usually kept to the high-energy and easily transported essentials, and cooking gear is kept to a minimum. This makes me kind of sad, because I'm soon leaving on my first tour, a two week tour from Maryland to the NC Outer Banks and back. I love to cook and I love to eat even more... especially after working up a huge appetite after riding all day long. I can't stand the thought of having to eat dehydrated foods day in and day out. I understand that there's a certain beauty and ease in the simplicity of this method, but it's a vacation, not Army boot camp, right?

So does anyone pack what might be considered extravagant food related items/ingredients? Take along a five-pound cast iron frying pan or big carbon steel wok? French press or Moka express and whole beans and a grinder? Fresh veggies in lieu of canned/dehydrated ones? Cook fresh fish instead of stomaching tuna in a vacuum sack? Let's hear about those on-the-road meals that taste like you made them at home.
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Old 05-11-07, 12:37 PM   #2
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well, I'm hesitant to be the first to respond because there's no glamor in my method, and granted, I don't go to any super remote areas, but I never use dehydrated meals and always stick to fresh food I pick up along the way - I contantly eat lettuces and fresh fish when on tour, for example.
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Old 05-11-07, 12:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by NeezyDeezy
well, I'm hesitant to be the first to respond because there's no glamor in my method, and granted, I don't go to any super remote areas, but I never use dehydrated meals and always stick to fresh food I pick up along the way - I contantly eat lettuces and fresh fish when on tour, for example.
How do you cook your fish?
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Old 05-11-07, 01:04 PM   #4
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I don't cook on tour unless absolutely essential. My best meal experiences were the awesome little tacos stands throughout the Baja.
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Old 05-11-07, 01:07 PM   #5
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Three people - two camp stoves -
Two restaurant chefs.

Chicken fajitas, sauteed Walla-Wallas, peppers & garlic, black beans with sour cream -
And a fresh salad of spring greens.

Beats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich hands down.
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Old 05-11-07, 01:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by the sloth
So does anyone pack what might be considered extravagant food related items/ingredients? Take along a five-pound cast iron frying pan or big carbon steel wok? French press or Moka express and whole beans and a grinder? Fresh veggies in lieu of canned/dehydrated ones? Cook fresh fish instead of stomaching tuna in a vacuum sack? Let's hear about those on-the-road meals that taste like you made them at home.
Yes, I've been extravagant at times.

One of the most shamefully extravagant was a tour that had delicious meals as its central theme. During mushroom season, I set up a base camp in the middle of a large forested area that was full of a variety of gourmet wild mushrooms. I brought a wok and plenty of good seasonings, fresh garlic, onions and olive oil.

After a few days of it, that was enough.

***
Usually I prefer to do things like coming up with delicious concoctions that require no cooking -- like finding a good u-pick strawberry field, picking the ripest, reddest berries, and covering them with a good brand of ice cold French vanilla pudding (which can be even better than ice cream) -- and eating this on a hot day when extra hungry.

Better than any cooked meal I've ever had....

The hunger and exercise really put a fine edge on it.

***
Smoothies can be excellent too.

Last edited by Niles H.; 05-11-07 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 05-11-07, 01:43 PM   #7
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How do you cook your fish?
funny you asked... I use a backpacker's stove and the same pot I use for everything, but once I caught a fish and didn't have my gear so, unnecissarily, I used a rock I cleaned and a fire I built. I felt like such a mountain man but it worked awesome.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:09 PM   #8
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You'd be amazed at what you can whip up in over a camp stove with a spoon, a knife, a single pot and one mixing/serving bowl. I'm a finicky eater anyways (I wonder where my kid gets it from), and I need food that I'm going to enjoy to get enough calories. So on multi-day tours near civilization I always go fresh. The only food I take from the start is spices (though I take many) and an emergency meal in case I plan poorly (on the theory that if I'm hungry enough, I'll eat anything).

I also carry onions and garlic with me in ziploc bags; also, anything else I don't consume all at one meal (like a 1/2 lemon). Often, leftover components decide what I'm having the next day! Just don't store these near water, clothes, or food; good for the handlebar bag or hanging from the farthest rear of your rack.

Favorite meals:
Cheesesteaks (overloaded with onions and garlic... good thing I'm going solo)
Boil (not much) water, add beef, cook a while, then add everything else. Slap some provologne/swiss on top, put it in a roll, and devour.

Catfish (any kind would work) with herbs and parmesan over wild rice (great with asparagus, too!)
Cook the rice first, set it aside. Mix butter, basil, pepper, finely diced onion (just a little), juice from 1/2 a lemon, and parmesan cheese. Fry fish lightly; when you turn it, top with parmesan mixture and cook until flakes easily.

Spicy black beans and spanish rice (canned beans are manna from heaven).
Saute rice with onion and peppers, add salsa and stock (you can use water, but this is tastier). Cook and set aside; crack open the beans and add stuff (mostly salsa) to them until they taste good.

[EDIT: forgot the butter on mah fish recipe /EDIT]

Last edited by DevLaVaca; 05-11-07 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 05-11-07, 05:37 PM   #9
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The best meal I have made on tour???

A frozen pizza which I picked up at a small supermarket and heated in the hostel microwave. MMMMMMM!!!
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Old 05-11-07, 08:54 PM   #10
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Tofu with Rice Noodles and Vegetables.

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Old 05-11-07, 09:49 PM   #11
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Canned Hormel chili mixed with cut up franks and a can of kernel corn.

I was hungry... (shrug....)
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Old 05-11-07, 10:33 PM   #12
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We love cooking! Well, I guess it's a bit different when you're on a long tour. You can't afford to eat out as much as if you were on just a short break so you place more emphasis maybe on eating really well. Funnily enough I was just adding something on this yesterday to our blog. At any given time we carry a mixture, but not all, of:

* Oatmeal
* Pasta
* Rice
* Lentils (quick-cooking varieties)
* Glass noodles (made from mung beans)
* Tomato sauce
* Tinned fish (sardines, tuna)
* Chorizo
* Nuts
* Dark chocolate
* Bread
* Jam
* Peanut butter
* Eggs
* Stock cubes
* Soy sauce
* Honey
* Olive oil
* Mustard
* Salt, pepper and other spices (cumin, hot pepper, cinnamon)
* A variety of in-season fruits and vegetables
* Long-life milk
* Instant coffee

Some typical things we'd make might be:

* Do a mixture of lentils, rice and pasta. Take roughly equal quantities, cooking the rice and lentils first (you can use canned lentils too and add them last) and adding the pasta towards the end. In the early stages of cooking, add in a mixture of vegetables. Carrots, onions or peas are all good. You may also add some meat. Chorizo sausage works well. Cook until the water has all been absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Add a little tomato sauce and seasonings and enjoy.
* Using glass noodles, make an oriental salad. The dressing is made of peanut butter with a little lime juice and soy sauce mixed in, plus some fresh herbs like coriander and parsley if you have them, or some freshly chopped chilli. Toss with the cooked and cooled noodles, then sprinkle on raw, chopped carrots, onions, snow peas, courgettes, cucumbers and red pepper. You can also make a fab sauce by sauteing onions in a bit of olive oil, adding orange juice, honey, mustard, salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic all in and thickening with a bit of flour if you have it. Sounds odd but our friend Yves came up with this one and it's great.
* Liven up your breakfast porridge by adding in chopped apples during the cooking process, or by slicing bananas on top just before you tuck in.
* A soup can be very filling on a cool day and doesn’t take much effort to make. Heat some water and crumble in a couple stock cubes, along with some carrots, onions and any other veggies you enjoy. Add in some pasta, rice or lentils and lots of pepper. Let bubble away for a few minutes and then eat.
* For easy lunches, boil eggs at breakfast or the night before. Eat along with a little salad, which we usually make out of a can of tuna, a can of corn or beans and a selection of other vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, carrots and peppers. A bit of olive oil and lemon juice together with the usual salt and pepper makes a nice dressing
* Still on the salad trail, we often made a green salad by buying lettuce, adding in tomatoes and cucumbers as well as diced beetroot (buy it cooked) and feta cheese on top. Dressed just with olive oil, salt and pepper.
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Old 05-12-07, 12:24 AM   #13
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My best meal was July 13th, 2006: a grilled cheese sandwich, made with Irish cheddar, and organic sourdough bread from the market in Kenmare, grilled up in Ireland's best campsite, beside a beautiful bay as the sun got low on the horizon over the hills across the bay, in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry.

This was the photo I took after that meal, from my waterfront campsite:

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