One my favorite things to do when long distance riding or bikepacking is consuming mass amounts of food. Tara Alan, author of “Bike. Camp. Cook” and I have this in common. While Tara and her husband spent two years traveling on bike from Scotland to Southeast Asia, she was determined to cook from scratch and she put all her tips, tricks and recipes into this book.
My husband and I try our best to travel as light as possible. This means often sacrificing my husbands healthy, home cooked meals to eat from freeze dried packs, gel packets or gas station junk food. I was excited to get my hands on this book in hopes to school myself on a little from-scratch, camp cooking.
“Bike. Camp. Cook.” is a book filled with recipes for the road, trails, or whatever ground your wheels are spinning. Tara covers basic tools and equipment she carries in order to execute her recipes, as well as how to get it all into panniers. At first read, my initial thought was, “that’s a lot of gear to shove into your panniers!” but after reading (and drooling) over some of these recipes I can see why the additional weight might be worth it when traveling as a duo. Or as I sometimes do, a family of four.
The book covers staple ingredients, tips on packing spices, and how to prep foods and cut them properly for the recipes. Tara also goes over water, how much you may need for recipes and day-to-day use, as well as tips on where to fill up.
Let’s get to the good stuff, food. Each recipe is rated as easy, medium or expert. Since I am lacking in cooking skills, the assortment of easy recipes was a relief. “Bike. Camp. Cook.” has breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and deserts. Like most cooking from scratch, at home or while traveling, planning and preparation are a must. Some sample recipes I’m looking forward to: garlic-chili-herb fried eggs, mango and avocado salad, sweet-spicy peanut noodles, garlicky green beans, and caramelized bananas.
I love that Tara encourages you to go ahead and buy that mystery can from a foreign country, to be adventurous with your food. She also has a “no pressure” feel with the recipes, that not all meals will turn out perfect and that’s okay and embrace the messiness that comes with cooking when camping. In the end, this book is just another encouragement to get out there, ride, and cease any complaining about eating junk food or freeze-dried rice and beans for multiple days.
You can order up a copy of “Bike. Camp. Cook.” online for $24.95 delivered to your door in the continental US.