And ride, and eat, and ride, and think about what to eat next.
Does anyone else use these awesome tiny alcohol stoves? For years I used an MSR stove but I’ve changed my mind about carrying around that big sooty thing. I like the alcohol burner for its mini-ness and simplicity. Also, if you so feel compelled, you can make your own.
In the US I use denatured alcohol for fuel, available in any hardware store. The old guys at the ACE hardware get strangely excited about selling denatured alcohol. “Ahh, here’s the good stuff.” I don’t know why, but apparently it’s good.
Entering Canada, I could no longer find denatured alcohol. I had one minor temper tantrum about this. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I now use methyl hydrate, which sounds chemical gross but works just fine.
In the morning, I make cowboy coffee. That’s when you put the coffee in a pot of boiling water and let it settle to the bottom. I drink it black with just sugar. I’d like to get off the sugar but I am scared of carrying honey. A tube of sticky stuff that attracts bugs and bears – virtually guaranteed to break inside my food pannier. Anyway, sugar packets are free. I wish I could use creamer. Coffeemate makes me run to the bathroom. I tried carrying half and half. After a day of cycling, it turns into butter. (Science!) I was carrying nice bread that day so my bike-churned butter was an extra treat. One bonus of cowboy coffee is that the used grounds make a fine hand scrub, which will clean that bike grease off your hands. Sometimes I rub it on my feet too.
My usual dinner is a variation on piles of boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli, Brussel sprouts) with garlic, ginger and jalapeño. When I can find it, powdered coconut milk is my new favorite secret ingredient. It turns my vegetable hippie soup into Thai delight. I also indulge in the always-delicious Ramen packet. I love Ramen and all its sodium glory.
One exciting food source I’ve discovered on the road is all things Amish or Mennonite. Their roadside stalls are full of organic vegetables (yay, kohl rabi!) and glorious desserts. Tarts and pies and cookies. Delicious baked goods taste extra wonderful when bought from ladies wearing bonnets and driving horse carts. Amish and Mennonites don’t just live in Pennsylvania. I’ve found them in Wisconsin and Minnesota and Ontario. This is one of the wonderful things you learn while traveling.
There are lots of Indian people living in Canada and Minnesota. I’ve been finding interesting packaged Indian sauces in the grocery stores to spice up my veggies. In general, Asian food stores are a great source of camping meals. A variety of packaged noodles, dried mushrooms, interesting sauces, coconut cookies.
And then there’s my old standby: tortillas, avocados, and cheese. Good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Second breakfast and snack.
I like to get those already-bagged salads at the grocery store. The ones that come with seeds and cranberries and dressing ready to mix in. That makes a good lunch or dinner starter.
I’ve always got the standards: granola, energy bars and gels, bananas. Gummy worms. Chocolate. Anything sweet does not last more than a day in my food bag.
Here’s a typical night when I’ve got time and inclination and plenty of veg. This is after hours of riding and thinking about food. Hours. Oh, I’ve got that new fancy oil, I’m going to saute that Amish garlic and the organic ginger and some of that red onion and then throw in the diced potatoes…. My food fantasizing can keep me fascinated for hours of riding.