Author Topic: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road  (Read 1539 times)

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Offline John Nettles

Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« on: December 01, 2020, 10:57:43 am »
After being motivated by this thread https://forums.adventurecycling.org/index.php?topic=16690.0 , I wanted to know what everyone's best tip is for when you are cooking on the road while bicycle touring. I will start. 

1) Use a paper grocery sack as a clean and disposable "food preparation" mat or place mat. 
2) Add dried WHOLE milk (found in Mexican grocery stores) to Knor Pasta Sides which really improves the flavor.  Dried whole milk is much better than the usual low-fat or fat-free dried milk. 
3) Use an egg protector and carry fresh eggs.  The raw eggs will stay fresh at least a week if you coat the shell with a thin layer of coconut oil (mineral oil will work too).

What tips can you share?
Bon Appetite, John

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2020, 08:41:52 pm »
This might require access to food in Wal Mart. Get an already cooked chicken, $4.50, maybe $3.25 cold. An onion or two, a green pepper, and celery are good. Then there is the stir fry sauce. There are different kinds and flavors. I do not like the Teriyaki. You also nee a little virgin olive oil, any in a pinch. Oil in pot or pan. Add broken up pieces of chicken meat, and recook. Next, stir in cut diced veggies. Use some sauce while cooking. Add sauce when finished cooking. Very tasty. Be careful not to overdo the vegetables. Heat damages vitamins. It changes them to non organic nutrients, and they will not do it for you like they should.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2020, 11:05:11 am »
I have a flask as a part of my cooking kit. Fantastic!
I use it for making coffee (and keeping it hot), a great way to finish cooking pasta leaving my trangia free for making a sauce, and on long winter nights for having a hot drink without the faff of boiling up water.

Couscous is a great base for breakfast or dinner. Powdered milk and fruit and nuts for breakfast, stock/bullioun for dinner.
Honey is always in my bag. Add to couscous/porridge for a treat, add to tea or use on wraps/tortillas with fruit and nuts for a roadside snack.

On short trips close to home I'd often pack a homemade chili, frozen. By days end defrosted, safe and just needing reheating.

Not a fan of carrying uncooked eggs, but will hardboil them and carry that way. Combine with dried sausage (chorizo my favourite) in a wrap - delicious!

I've found it very much depends on where I'm travelling, but I love the process of making something delicious and filling at the end of the day.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2020, 11:19:59 am »
Hobbes,

Couple of questions.  1) How do you get the inside of the flask clean?  By flask, I assume you mean a wide-mouth thermos as a flask has a small cap on top since I "think" a flask carries liquor in your pocket.  Regardless, do you carry a brush or what?

2) How do you carry the honey?  In little packets or a bottle or ???  I would be worried about it leaking and getting over everything.

Tailwinds, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2020, 11:20:15 am »
I find that cooking directly on the road surface can be a bit unsanitary.
When cycling in Arizona, I prefer to put a piece of tin foil down first,
then crack my eggs onto the tin foil.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2020, 12:18:54 pm »
Hobbes,

Couple of questions.  1) How do you get the inside of the flask clean?  By flask, I assume you mean a wide-mouth thermos as a flask has a small cap on top since I "think" a flask carries liquor in your pocket.  Regardless, do you carry a brush or what?

2) How do you carry the honey?  In little packets or a bottle or ???  I would be worried about it leaking and getting over everything.

Tailwinds, John

Clean? What's that? :D
I use it for pasta, coffee, occassional hot wine drinks and water normally. Easy to rinse out.
It's great for cooking rice at home, but that is messy to clean on the road so I don't do that.
The pasta I use is normally tubular, think penne, easy to see and scrape off, if stuck. Noodles and spaghetti types are harder to remove, especially if dried.

The flask is short and squat with a wide mouth. If I have access to a scrubbing brush, I may use that, but generally not needed.
This is similar
https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Legendary-Classic-Vacuum-Insulated/dp/B07L6NG1BF/ref=mp_s_a_1_13?dchild=1&keywords=stanley%2Binsulated%2Bflask&qid=1606928972&sr=8-13&th=1&psc=1p0

Honey? Not a fan of sachets. My honey is in whatever jar I can buy - varies from country to country.
I'm not a weight weenie. As for "leak security", I just double wrap in plastic bags. Never had a honey leak.
 

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2020, 02:01:15 pm »
I have a JetBoil stove with a pot to go with the standard cup that it comes with and a French press. I spent almost 6 months backpacking and use the same food approach. Olive oil in a plastic bottle (or 2) -- highest calorie count for ounce of weight, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, mac & cheese, instant oatmeal, summer sausage, zucchini squash (I would cook 1/2 and save the other 1/2 for the next day - kept well in my pack), Velveeta cheese (shelf life of 10 years), couscous,  chewy granola bars (crunchy can cause you to choke on the crumbs riding), propel powder, shot blocks. Minute rice, the packaged noodle and rice dishes that you add water and cook, chicken breast in foil packs (I hate tuna but same packaging) Pringles, very packable, and finally ramen (which you can eat dry if you bonk). For snacks any Little Debbie snack you can find - I was hooked on oatmeal cream sandwiches and a large snickers bar a day - eat these in the morning on hot days - too messy in the heat. Eat a smaller breakfast, eat two hours latter, eat at noon and eat at 2:00 pm. Do not eat before a big climb, your body will be putting all of its energy into digestion, so snack on the downhills.

Just remember on a long trip you can only eat what you can buy at the stores on the route or ship to yourself food. I shipped food and lost my taste for it and gave it away and bought variety. The no-cook folks ate a lot of peanut butter.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline hikerjer

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2020, 03:54:48 pm »
I'll be the first to admit I'm not much of a cook. I really don't like doing it but unfortunaely, I do like to eat. Bad combination. Because of the cost of  restaurants/cafes, I do usually cook my own food when touring but it's almost always pasta, rice, etc. in one pot meals.  Cold breakfasts, except for coffee, and lunches. One tip: I carry at least one freeze dried meal packet (I don't partiularly like them but they work) in the bottom of my panniers for emergency situations. If I'm just too tired to cook or the weather is lousy or whatever, it's nice to just be able to heat water, eat and not have to cleaup uanything except your spoon.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2020, 08:25:00 pm by hikerjer »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2020, 01:08:36 am »
I heard of people frying eggs on a sidewalk, but never of people cooking food on the road. In either case, it does not sound appetizing. LOL

Offline froze

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2020, 10:06:32 pm »
This is a very interesting subject with a lot of people's good advice, great stuff.

I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is a friend of mine who is an avid backpacker, and he told me just to go to YouTube and search: "cheap food for backpacking".  So I watched all of those, and basically do that type of food.  I use freeze-dried low-fat milk for my cook cereal.  I did take eggs once because I found they're good for about 24 hours not in the fridge.  I try to find stuff high in carbs for energy which that cheap Walmart method is pretty good at finding that source.

Again, I'm not a cook, so this method seems to work out well for me, and the stuff packs light, not to mention it's a lot cheaper than buying premade backpacking meals which I think those meals are a rip-off, heck for the price of those premade backpacking meals a person could just eat out at a restaurant instead!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2020, 11:29:09 pm »
This is a very interesting subject with a lot of people's good advice, great stuff.

I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is a friend of mine who is an avid backpacker, and he told me just to go to YouTube and search: "cheap food for backpacking".  So I watched all of those, and basically do that type of food.  I use freeze-dried low-fat milk for my cook cereal.  I did take eggs once because I found they're good for about 24 hours not in the fridge.  I try to find stuff high in carbs for energy which that cheap Walmart method is pretty good at finding that source.

Yes, that freeze dried food is too expensive. I do not like it, either. One thing about the high carb foods for backpackers. That is meant for being on trails for days at a time away from sources of other food. When cycling over the road long distances there are usually always stores and restaurants. You do not need that Wal Mart stuff. You need fresh fruits and vegetables, live vitamins, minerals, enzymes and protein and more. Man cannot live on carbs alone. You will need real nutrition. Backpacker food may be good for a carb load, but be sure to get the other foods regularly.

Offline froze

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2020, 09:21:47 am »
This is a very interesting subject with a lot of people's good advice, great stuff.

I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, and neither is a friend of mine who is an avid backpacker, and he told me just to go to YouTube and search: "cheap food for backpacking".  So I watched all of those, and basically do that type of food.  I use freeze-dried low-fat milk for my cook cereal.  I did take eggs once because I found they're good for about 24 hours not in the fridge.  I try to find stuff high in carbs for energy which that cheap Walmart method is pretty good at finding that source.

Yes, that freeze dried food is too expensive. I do not like it, either. One thing about the high carb foods for backpackers. That is meant for being on trails for days at a time away from sources of other food. When cycling over the road long distances there are usually always stores and restaurants. You do not need that Wal Mart stuff. You need fresh fruits and vegetables, live vitamins, minerals, enzymes and protein and more. Man cannot live on carbs alone. You will need real nutrition. Backpacker food may be good for a carb load, but be sure to get the other foods regularly.

Did you know you can starve to death if you ate nothing but protein foods like lean meat?  I watch that Surviving Alone contest show, and the people they put on are really good, and considered professionals at surviving alone in the wild.  The contest is who can last the longest, and they check your weight every week and if you lost too much weight and are in the danger zone you're pulled from the game and it's over for you.  The longest anyone has ever gone on that show was 72 days, and though they won, they had lost a lot of weight, because all they can find in the wilderness is live meat, plants and nuts are not plentiful enough to survive.  Not sure what that has to do with our discussion, I just found it fascinating that not even highly trained survivalist can last long, probably around 80 days before they would die.  The biggest problem in the wild is finding enough carbs to have energy.

Anyway, I haven't gone long enough to worry about the fruit and vegetable thing yet, but you are correct you do need that on a long tour, however, a human can live a normal life with eating very little in the way of fruits or vegetables.  Some societies have lived in areas where they never ate any fruits or vegetables, but their lives are not as long as those that do.  But if necessary even on a long tour in the backcountry away from restaurants and Walmarts and you would be just fine without fruits and veggies.

There are freeze-dried veggies you can find, like this:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0039QW1HM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0039QW1HM&linkCode=as2&tag=lizthoadvhik-20&linkId=5VFIYGNR2RZQIA6B

I can't eat dark leafy veggies like Kale due to that's one of the things that produces kidney stones in me, so I avoid it, once in a blue moon I'm ok, but not eating it regularly.  Also, I have to restrict my protein level somewhat too, because too much protein can cause kidney stones in me as does nuts.

Some cheap freeze dried store-bought food like cup a noodles have dehydrated veggies like peas.  There are health and natural stores that sell veggie chips.  Also, you can buy green veggie powder supplements but those are a bit pricy but you can get a lot of veggies that take up a very small amount of space.  If a person insists on taking fresh veggies then do know this, that for some reason organic veggies tend to last longer without fridging than regular veggies, someone may want to confirm if that's true, but that's what I've heard but it doesn't make any sense to me as to why that would be the case.  Seaweed is another good source of veggie that doesn't take up much space, but I'm not sure if I can consume that due to my kidney stone issue, the last thing I want on a tour or camping trip is that mess!  The kidney stone issue is why I carry so much water, around 175 ounces, and between drinking it and using it to cook with I can go through all of that in a 24 hour period because even on a normal no riding bike day I try to drink at least 6 16 ounces of water, that's 96 ounces right there, and that's not riding a bike day!  So you can see why I need to bring so much water, which is why I try to go to places that have either a camp store or stores nearby so I can buy more water, it's also why I carry a small Sawyer water filter just in case.

So there are ways to get veggies into your diet even if there are no stores around to buy the stuff, carrying fresh veggies takes too much space in a pannier, and there is the question as to how long they'll last, and the reality is you're not going to die unless the tour is going to last 20 years or more and never be near any stores to obtain it along the way, so people would be more than fine going for 6 months out in the boondocks away from fresh veggies and fruit, which I don't think anyone either backpacking or on a long off-road bicycle trip would be anywhere near that many months without getting a hold of fresh veggies and fruit.


Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2020, 10:10:42 am »
I coached soccer for a number of years and collected a few books on sports nutrition and started to apply what I learned to my training rides and long, multi-day rides. Not a doctor or nutritionist, so not offering advice on diet, but it is worth a look at topics like glycogen recovery, the right mix of carbs, proteins, and fat that it takes to rebuild muscle, when to eat during and after a long day in the saddle, etc. Then take the science and apply that to what you can buy in small town stores and mini-marts, and what your body can handle. If you eat a large meal your body will divert resources to digestion that you may rather have for that long climb ahead.

Also, many people are on low salt diets. My wife used to suffer from leg cramps while cycling long distance or hilly routes. We discovered Margaritaville Shot Blocks that had extra salt to prevent cramping. On a GAP ride from Cumberland to Rockwood, MD you have to crank uphill (railroad grade) for over 20 miles. This would normally be a sure trigger for her leg cramps. However this trip we used the shot blocks and she carried a bag of Doritos and ate a few handfuls along the way and no cramps. So consider investigating any restricted diets you are on with a medical expert before you ride to see if an adjustment should be considered if you are moving from a somewhat sedentary lifestyle to a very active one.
Long Distance Hiker - AT Thru-hike 2007
Long distance cyclist - multi day tours - TDF tour Alpes 2005
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline canalligators

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2020, 10:47:11 pm »
The other opinion here.  I minimize cooking at home and don’t like to cook on the road.  I buy foods that don’t require cooking.  I carry a big plastic cup, tablespoon, frisbee as plate/bowl and my Swiss Army knife.  No stove, pots, fuel, utensils, etc.  Breakfasts at chains or local restaurants are inexpensive and within my budget. 

Though I might bring a JetBoil for my coffee.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Best Tips for Cooking on the Road
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2020, 10:58:46 pm »
My problem is I like to cook good meals and yet I am inexplicably lazy when on tour.  However, I have started to cook much better meals as I get older and just do less miles so I have more time in the day.  I have done both ends of the spectrum and I currently lean more toward the quick and easy but am also trying to increase my menus while on the road, especially when my wife is with me. 

We have currently found a somewhat easy comprise but a bit expensive.  A bottle of wine, some sausages or cooked meats, some cheeses, some fruits, and a baguette with some dipping oil makes a great meal.  A bit much for one person but great for two.  That said, I am all for peanut butter on a tortilla for lunch.

Tailwinds, John