Author Topic: Cooking on the Road  (Read 3166 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.

Offline JimmyTemp

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2021, 01:55:38 am »
Most of the time - I do take my favorite tagine pots from the home, even if it's way bigger than it should be in the common trip. I do like to take these tagine pots from Berlinger Haus, because they produce maybe kitchenware, which requires a minimum time for the cleaning, in my humble opinion. I have a lot of other kitchenware, to compare with.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 08:48:44 am by JimmyTemp »

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2021, 06:13:11 am »
Froze - At 120 ounces in 24 hours you are probably not drinking enough. The average water bottle holds around 22 ounces. If you bike for 6 hours and drink one bottle per hour that is 132 ounces. I try to drink 128 ounces at home in a day while not doing anything as strenuous as cycling. You can go days without food but water is essential for life and you perform much better hydrated, even if you are hungry.

On the Erie Canal this summer I was going through 2 or more bottles an hour trying not to dehydrate, while rationing my drinking because water was hard to find. When I backpack I set camp with 6 liters of water - my Camelbak and Platypus - 3 liters each. I rehydrate, cook, etc, and have enough to make breakfast -- cereal and coffee. On the bike it is a bit harder to measure (really remember) if we are in a campground with a water spigot and getting water is "easy".

If I am biking with my wife we normally buy a gallon of water (128 oz.) at a C-Store and split it between our 3 water bottles (each) and just drink what ever is leftover.

Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2021, 09:43:24 am »
Heh. Speaking of cheap eats...I already had leftover pasta from a previous nigh. Picked up a bagel en route for brekfast the next morning. The only real grocery source near camp was a Dollar General. $8.62.  The beer alone was $3.00

Offline froze

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2021, 12:58:39 pm »
Froze - At 120 ounces in 24 hours you are probably not drinking enough. The average water bottle holds around 22 ounces. If you bike for 6 hours and drink one bottle per hour that is 132 ounces. I try to drink 128 ounces at home in a day while not doing anything as strenuous as cycling. You can go days without food but water is essential for life and you perform much better hydrated, even if you are hungry.

On the Erie Canal this summer I was going through 2 or more bottles an hour trying not to dehydrate, while rationing my drinking because water was hard to find. When I backpack I set camp with 6 liters of water - my Camelbak and Platypus - 3 liters each. I rehydrate, cook, etc, and have enough to make breakfast -- cereal and coffee. On the bike it is a bit harder to measure (really remember) if we are in a campground with a water spigot and getting water is "easy".

If I am biking with my wife we normally buy a gallon of water (128 oz.) at a C-Store and split it between our 3 water bottles (each) and just drink what ever is leftover.

I carry 120 ounces on the bike, usually, there is always a small roadside market along the way and I will stop at those places to get something to drink, so I'm drinking enough, and my pee is a very pale yellow so I'm not dehydrated.  The next day I usually end up using the last of my water for breakfast, then I will go to a camp store and buy more water to last however long I need it to last.

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2021, 06:34:37 am »
I have found that some dried meats from a European deli keep as well as sausage.  I carried some on a trip from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, and then on to DC and they held up fine.  At one point, I washed them off and let them dry again.  I would slice off some and drop it in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and then add couscous.  The couscous cooks very fast, thus conserving stove fuel.  At the end, I would add some cut up fresh vegetables and it made a fine dinner.  I think the products were Polish, or maybe Croatian.  The meat is not like freeze dried, it is still a little pliable and perfectly edible as is, sliced off the block, like saucisson.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2021, 05:02:56 pm »
Many eat for taste, which is fine up to a point. The main foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, whole cereals, fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut and kefir. On a long and strenuous tour on a loaded bicycle you need healthful nutrition. Do your gut microbiome a favor and nourish it. Some foods strengthen it. Others slowly deplete it and cause health problems.

Some of the stuff some cyclists display as food is scary. Long distance hikers eat stuff that is cringe worthy, lots of highly refined carbohydrates, non-food junk that can be chewed and ingested with a sugar rush and cheap synthetic vitamins and minerals. It is made to cause addiction to oral gratification. It will slowly wreck your digestive system.

I watched a group of young women on you tube. They cycled across the US on the transamerica route. Time and time again they got stuck in dinky little towns with a small store. The garbage they had to use for energy was terrible, but their choices were limited to what was available. One or more of them commented on not feeling quite right after a while. I did not have to wonder why--ice cream, cheetos, potato chips, candy bars and other slop. I watched another cyclist who went to convenience stores in small towns. The edibles she got were what I would try to avoid eating in any way I could. When you are young and at your peak, your gut biome may withstand the onslaught of processed junk foods for a time, but as sure as the sun rises in the east, they will inflict a deleterious injury to your health over the long run.

If you will be a long distance between towns that actually sell food, be sure to carry with you something nourishing you can eat until you get to the next store that sells real nourishing food. If you carry just enough good food to get to the next town, and then you are limited to unhealthful ingestion, you will see what I mean. Medical journals say 80% of colon cancer can be prevented by diet and exercise. Why get all that exercise and negate it with adulterated foods? Heart disease, cancer, hypertension, high blood pressure, gout, diabetes and a list of other diseases are caused by poor diet and lack of exercise, confirmed by medical science.  Some town up ahead has a store according to a map, but does it tell you what you will have to put in your body if you rely on that store for nutrition? Always carry enough real food to get you to the next real-food store.

Offline froze

Re: Cooking on the Road
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2021, 07:00:46 pm »
There is enough good food you can find at regular grocery stores that will pack just fine that is nutritious without resorting to Cheetos and the like crap.  All those foil packed food that says they're for microwaving you can cook the pouches in boiling water or eat it right out the pouch without cooking it.  There are loads of videos on YouTube that show you how, and the stuff is a lot cheaper than prepacked camping specific meals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjfpztwLGw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga7Qv_Mnn1Y

Those are just two of the many on YouTube.