Author Topic: Cooking on the Road  (Read 665 times)

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Offline TCS

Cooking on the Road
« on: November 26, 2020, 09:05:43 am »
On this American feast day, I wanted to give a shout out to the 40th anniversary of the publication of 'Cooking on the Road' by John Rakowski.

(Wow.  Has it really been 40 years?)

'Cooking on the Road'  was - and remains - a different kind of cookbook.  Most cookbooks make the (reasonable) assumption you are in an equipped kitchen.  Backpacking cookbooks assume you are in the wilderness and self-supplied for the duration of your trip.  Mr. Rakowski's cookbook was written for road touring, where the traveler is daily passing through or staying in settlements with grocery shops or at the very least a crossroads with a convenience store (cue the Adventure Cycling route network).

There were tips and techniques for stoves and cooking tackle and buying fresh and buying healthy and buying in small quantities.  There were recommendations on spices to punch up bland food (the man was practically king of spice island!)  He discussed how to accomplish cookcraft, from shopping to unpacking the panniers to having the last plate and pot washed and dry at the end.  Two-thirds of the book was recipes - everything from gourmet camp cuisine (should the traveler luck into the availability of small quantity high-quality ingredients) to tasty, nutritious meals concocted from what one is universally able to find in those American crossroad convenience stores.

The bulk of the book holds up pretty well after four decades, and the vegan sections were surely ahead of their time.  In the present era with bikepackers blast-boiling water to dump in foil bags of desiccated foodstuffs (NTTAWWT), 'Cooking on the Road' remains the standard for, well, cooking on the road!



More on Mr. Rawoski:      https://www.adventurecycling.org/default/assets/resources/rakowski.pdf
« Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 11:45:02 am by TCS »
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline John Nettles

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2020, 03:13:40 pm »
I still have my original copy and peruse it occasionally.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2020, 12:54:07 am »
Have you read, "On the Road" by Jack Kerouak? Those guys? They were cooking.

Offline TCS

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2020, 12:41:59 pm »
A current publication book along these lines is 'Bike Camp Cook'.  It has beautiful color images but less practical information and vastly fewer recipes. 
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline John Nettles

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2020, 12:48:00 pm »
My problem with a lot of these cook books is that they are more 4 or more people and/or use semi-exotic (from a rural grocery store view) ingredients.  I also use The One Pan Gourmet by Jacobson as it sizes the meals smaller, i.e. 1-2 people.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2020, 06:33:42 pm »
My problem is I frequently brought cooking materials with me on long bicycle tours, but did not use them. I am baffled why this was so. There was one tour from Florida to California where I cooked about 98 % of my own meals. It was the only US tour where I did not get sick from eating in restaurants. I am also well versed on taking only bare necessities, but I still over pack and carry what amunts to dead useless weight. I am going to have to figure this out for myself some day. I know it is irrational.

Offline TCS

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2020, 06:53:16 pm »
My problem with a lot of these cookbooks is that they are more 4 or more people and/or use semi-exotic (from a rural grocery store view) ingredients.  I also use The One Pan Gourmet by Jacobson as it sizes the meals smaller, i.e. 1-2 people.

Yep.  Rakowski has special sections on solo meals and rural convenience store-sourced classics like Hot Dog Spaghetti (actually, not bad, and beats going hungry by miles!)

One Pan Gourmet's philosophy of taking one principal cooking vessel/technique and only choosing meals/recipes that can be cooked in that way is a cornerstone of lightweight cycletouring packing/prepping.


"The really successful lightweight camper is one whose pack shrinks every year and whose enjoyment increases in ratio with every vanished ounce."  Brian Walker 1971
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline froze

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2020, 09:09:20 pm »
You can go on YouTube and search for "cheap backpacking food tips", or "backpacking on a budget-7 things to buy in Walmart", then when you search those there will be more videos that will pop up on the side panel.  That's where I learned what food to take, and it works.  My biggest issue is taking enough water, I can go through 120 ounces of water in 24 hours between drinking it and using it to cook food.  Fortunately, by riding on roads I run into either small gas/food places, or the campground usually has water too.  I do carry a Sawyer water filter just in case.