Fresh Roadkill: Cooking on the Roll

Everyone who has taken to the road, regardless of destination or duration, has confronted the challenge of a meal and the best balance of feeding themselves.  There are endless approaches, wisdom, and best practices.  Everyone does what’s best for themselves.  It’s a wonderful exercise in continuous improvement.  Here’s how we’ve evolved.  I’ve never organized our traveling gastronomic strategy like this before, but here it is.

Guiding Principles:

  1. Organize yourself and road kitchen as to keep it simple when it comes to food preparation.
  2. On the road does not mean burgers, dogs, canned baked beans, and chips for every meal. Eat well.
  3. There is lots of amazing roadside food everywhere in the world. Local flavor is king. Experience has proven Mom & Pop restaurants are excellent choices.
  4. Preparing in advance is great for more complex dishes. Albeit controlled by access to a kitchen.
  5. When restocking en-route, only buy perishables that you’ll eat within 2-3 days.
  6. When buying in general consider:
    • How long until next suitable stop with a kitchen?
    • How long can you keep food cold/frozen while in transit?
    • How much cold storage space do you have?
    • For longer periods between resupply – buy as much as possible that is stable warm & dry.
  7. When stopping for the night in-between travel days, roadside food or quick, perhaps cold, eats are best.
  8. Take the opportunity to prepare more elaborate meals when stopped for several days. You’ll be happy you did.
  9. Make the investment in a DC powered fridge freezer. They are an investment for sure, and there are a number of good alternatives on the market.  Ice is for beer, cocktails, and freshly caught fish.

This winter we came across a cookbook for overland travel titled Forks in the Road, Recipes from Overlanding the Pan-American Highway Fork in the Roadby Jared McCaffree, Jessica Mans, and Kobus Mans.  We found this to be a great resource for meal planning for our recent trips.  I found it helpful for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I tend not to stump, but I do recommend picking up a copy of this one.  It’s available on Amazon.

So, keeping with keeping-it-simple (effort wise) we prepped and few dishes before we hit the road.  Some other recipes that interested us didn’t lend themselves to shelf life so we left those for our non-traveling days.

This is how recipes played out on our most recent adventure:

Cooked and stored beforehand:

  • Shredded chicken
  • Gallo Pinto
  • Pasta Salad
  • Ready spice mixes

Prepared on the road

  • Salami, Cheese, & Cracker Spread (this was great when pulling off the trail for a quick lunch)Kobus Curry
  • Chorizo y Huevos
  • Chorizo with Mac & Cheese
  • Prosciutto & Cantaloupe
  • Deconstructed Shepherd’s Pie
  • Kobus’ Curry*

*Note: I was able to cut some corners on this recipe thanks to our friends at Trader Joe’s.

A few of our other favorite dishes that we always try to rotate into the mix (both require a campfire, unfortunately sometimes) are:

Fire Baked Onions:  Once your campfire has burned down to some good hot coals, core a whole onion to the center, not all the way through.  Mash a bouillon cube or two into the onion and replace the plug that you just cut out.  Wrap in 2-layers of tin foil.  Place in the hot coals of your fire for 45minutes.

Orange Peel Cinnamon Rolls: great dessert.  Again, once your campfire has burned down to hot coals, start with a tube of Pillsbury™ cinnamon rolls and a bag of Valencia oranges.  Peel the oranges paying particular attention to keeping the peel as intact as possible (share the orange slices with your mates).  Place a slice of the cinnamon roll in each orange peel.  Drop in a pad of butter.  Put the lid of the peeled orange back on (sealing the cinnamon roll in the peel).  Wrap in 2-layers of tin foil and place inside your fire ring but not directly in the hot coals.   Depending on the heat of the coals it will take 30-40 minutes to cook.  Wicked awesome.

That’s what we’ve got.  Hope some of this might be helpful.  Happy cookin!

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