In this section we will plan menus, find and develop recipes and try them out, and prepare the food we will need for our Overland Adventure. The recipes will also be made available for you to try out and use.
First a disclaimer: we are both vegetarians. I have been vegetarian for nearly 20 years, and my partner has been vegetarian all her life. This means that all recipes will be vegetarian.
Being vegetarian does not mean we have to sacrifice things, other than meat. For instance, we certainly do not sacrifice taste. All meals we have (not just meals we prepare for walking) are prepared partially with taste in mind. Other things we keep in mind include ensuring that we get enough protein, energy, vitamins, and that our meals are satisfying.
Another important consideration is that I have been bush walking in Tasmania and other parts of the world for over 30 years and so I have some experience around preparing food for walking. Recipes, knowing what works, the gear we use, the way we prepare meals – all these are informed by the experience we have.
So, with all that in mind, lets get started.
Some ancient history
Over the years I have changed the way I prepare food for walking. When I first started walking I used pre-prepared dehydrated back country meals. These weren’t too bad from memory. Easy to cook – simply add hot water. They were also very expensive, so I looked at ways to reduce costs while keeping the convenience.
I experimented with pasta meals and one-pan dinners from the supermarket. You know the ones – Fried Rice, Alfredo pasta, Carbonara, Creamy bacon… These were a lot cheaper than the dehydrated meals I’d been using, but I needed to add things to them, as they were not that satisfying. So I started buying dried peas, dried corn, dried beans, and the infamous Deb from the supermarket to supplement the meals I made.
I was carrying the pasta, the one-pan meals, various bags of dried veggies, and I would cook the dinner, adding dried veggies to it as I was cooking. This worked well, except that the flavours were pretty much the same, no matter which packet I cooked. I found I wasn’t looking forward to the meal at the end of the day. So I added cuppa soups and instant noodles to the menu.
Now I was cooking with gas. Well, shellite actually. At about this time my sons started walking with me. They were not keen on the flavours of the meals I prepared, and it was also about this time that I became vegetarian. So I looked at how I could vary the recipes to make them more flavoursome, appetising, and in line with my new philosophy.
With the aid of my sons I varied some of the old recipes I had, and appropriated others from various places on the internet, substituting textured vegetable protein and red lentils for meat. Finally, I had some decent meals that tasted great, were easy to prepare, cheap to buy, and met our requirements for nourishment. However, I was still carrying all the ingredients in big bags and mixing the recipes as I was cooking.
A couple of much longer walks changed all that. I needed to save weight and space in my pack, so I started preparing the meals before leaving. This meant knowing how much of each ingredient I needed. Not easy at first, and it took a while to get the quantities right, but this is now my preferred method of preparing food for walking.
I acquired a dehydrator and I now blanche and dehydrate most of the vegetables I use in our recipes. The only ones I don’t dry myself are peas and beans, which are very cheap and readily available from most supermarkets.
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We will be updating this area of our site regularly as we get closer to the start date, so please check back here!