After scrutinizing the equipment that made up our kitchen, here is an overview of our pantry, the base of our grocery store:
- Vegetable basket
- Condiments (olive oil, reduction of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, herbs / spices, vegetable broth)
- "just in case" (freeze-dried soups)
- Breakfast (coffee, tea, milk powder)
1. The vegetable basket
A little anecdote ... how this basket ended up on Lea's bike!
The bicycle saddlebags are very waterproof. And waterproof means that the water does not come in but it also means that it does not come out.
It happened several times that Lea keeps a courgette in one of his saddlebags. When it rained, every time, the air dubious, I listened patiently to Lea complaining that the water had yet returned in this damned satchel. And then one day, the light appeared to us. The courgette "breathes". It makes water, especially in a well-sealed bag under the Serbian sun of the month of August at noon. And when zucchini makes water, it really makes a lot of it, it's incredible! Besides, I advise you not to store your courgette in the company of the last pair of socks almost clean and dry that you have left.
----> To store fruits and vegetables, it is better to store them outside your panniers. All in all, they are not afraid of the rain and they will be much better, the mug in the wind, cool, over your luggage.
We had to wait 5 or 6 months of travel and the meeting of Jonas - a cyclist crossed in Norway - to poke his good idea of basket placed on top of the package.
How to make your own vegetable basket?
To make our basket, we recovered a plastic crate in the trash cans of a supermarket. I advise against the cardboard (which softened in the rain) and the wood that does not hold the pressure of the sandows for long.
To cut the victuals any escape when we drive, we realized a lattice with string that we had taken in case (always very proud to use a trick that was taken "in case", it Must admit that it is quite rare). It is not the most practical because very rigid (it is necessary to undo all the lattice to take the least banana) and it is loosened with the vibrations.
The best is to use a sandow or elastic of the same kind (one finds full on the roadside). Jonas, who was really on the lookout for anything that could make the bike trip even cheaper, had unearthed one along the road in a ditch.
Finally, with Jonas (pictured here), we started the dumpster diving to pick up the unsold from supermarkets, we sometimes found ourselves with huge amounts of food that we had to lug on several days. Before, when we bought two onions and a zucchini, it was the fight to find three cubic centimeters in the saddlebags and succeed in making everything go back without purée anything. It even happened (and yet it is not our practice) to refuse food for lack of space. With our little basket, no more questions of space to ask us.
Ready to take the unsolds from supermarkets, the fruit picked up on the roadside and the onions gleaned in the fields!
Léa and Florent in Latvia
Condiments are really necessary in the long run. Nothing more depressing than eating a dish without any taste when you are tired, hungry and depressed by a capricious weather in the desert mountains of Norway.
As I said above, cooking that has good taste is essential on a trip.
Salt and pepper are the must-sees of course. But beware, they are so unavoidable and we find them so much everywhere that they do not even bring any factor of differentiation or particular appetite.
Imagine this scene:
"- Mmmmmh! It's too good your dish! You put what ???
"Hey dude, take care, I have put salt and pepper!" "
Don't try to think about it, it does not exist.
So, to make you a little dish that will make your partner say: "Mmmmmh! It's too good your dish! You put what ??? "We'll have to dig our head. Especially since you do not have a fully equipped kitchen of 30m2 with a spice cupboard with 12 floors.
How to effectively equip yourself with condiments?
What you need, then, are light condiments (by weight), which you will not too easily and very concentrated in taste.
---> You can take aromatic herbs. Be careful not to take too much of a single species. At your 17th dish of perfumed pasta with herbs of Provence low-end, your partner will probably not tell you "Mmmmmh! It's too good your dish! You put what ??? "... it will be necessary to plan to always have 2 different species to alternate and try not to take too large quantities.
---> We also had curry powder and even, from time to time, curry paste (which keeps very well a few days after opening even without fridge).
---> Finally, we were big consumers of broth cubes (vegetable, vegan for our good travel resolutions). We will soon tell you how to best use them to effectively flavor your dishes.
---> Soy sauce is the most interesting thing. It salts your dish and it adds a bit of smoky taste that really enriched the flavors of your dishes. All the more so as it will still tend to evolve over time by continuing to ferment. We use in all our dishes, hot or cold (salad dressings). For those who love, there is also Nioc Mam.
---> At noon, most of the time, we ate salads to avoid having to get out the stove and all our bazaar in the middle of the road. We needed energy and fun and that means a lot of olive oil! We had found a bottle of low volume in plastic of olive oil with an effective stopper. As this kind of bottle is not easily findable, we keep it and we fill them according to the generosity of our hosts or with what we find in the market. We also use our olive oil for cooking.
---> For our salads, we also use the reduction of balsamic vinegar. The "reduction" of balsamic vinegar, that is to say the small plastic bottles, sold to make the dressing of your plates with pretty commas brown and shiny (like that, you probably don't want to taste it). So in fact it's probably full of crap, a lot of glucose syrup, some citric acid and a bit of balsamic vinegar but it makes good salads, the bottles are not heavy and the cork keep up in the bag.
For oil, vinegar and soy sauce and any other liquid condiment:
---> Check the watertightness of the bottle and the capacity of the cap to remain screwed or closed;
---> Even if the bottle and the cork seem ok, keep the bottles always in the same bag, vertically (at the head up) and away from the tricks that fear (shorts, computer, sleeping bag ...)
We had taken a lot of precaution but in the kitchen satchel, it happened once or twice that the oil spread. It's not funny. At all.
3. The "just in case"
The tricks "just in case" are the worst enemies of the traveler. We've been lucky on this point because we totally forget to store some food... (Our first reserves of food were constituted 48 hours after our departure.)
However we never had a big food problem. In case we had planned a bag of lyophilized soup. It is not very good and it does not have much energy interest, but if we have a lack of food it will always be better than just having pastas with pastas.
We finally decided to get rid of it, the heart broken, after 5 or 6 months without having used it. And of course, it's a few days after that we've had our first day without anything to put in the pastas. We nevertheless found something to perfume our rice with 2 or 3 bolets gathered around the tent.
4. The breakfast and tea time
Having our last coffee/tea of the day in Sweden, warmed up by a little fire
When one lives all the time outside and it could be nice, after a moment, to warm up. A tea or a coffee is always welcome. Lea is more tee and Florent coffee.
---> Tea is easy to carry in bulk and even when traveling / bivouac, you can easily drink good quality tea.
---> For coffee, we had lyophilized coffee. And this, for coffee lovers, is not good. That's why there was also milk powder ...
If we had to do it again, we would take with us a small Italian coffee-maker type Bialetti (it's Florent who says that and Lea adds "bah yes, of course!)
Tea and coffee (especially when it is good and made with a good Italian coffee maker) has another function: social. If you are reactive and you meet other cyclists or travelers on your way, it is always a pleasure to leave a little: "I make you a coffee? ". It almost feels like home and it can be comforting.