Let them eat cake… ummm… bread!

OK, so we don’t have much call for Marie-Antoinette style cake eating at the moment but as we start to get to The Serious Countdown (as in, super close to departure) one of the things that is crossing my mind a lot is food. I know that probably doesn’t make today any different to any other day in my life (!) but we really need to work on our food storage options. I plan to have a test pack of everything at least one week out from leaving but that’s also going to mean finalising our food needs.

We have a lovely big fridge/freezer – well, ‘big’ by camping standards. It’s a Waeco CFX 95 litre that should certainly keep us out of trouble. We also have a little Waeco 10.5 litre centre console fridge in the truck for drinks and lunch snacks etc. But what about the rest of the food, the non-perishables? When you don’t have the ‘luxury’ of a full caravan kitchen with cupboards and the like, you have to think carefully about food storage.

Those people who know me will know that I’m a planner and that’s certainly true of my cooking/meals. I like to plan my dinners at least so I know that I have what I need in the cupboard and have less decisions to make as the week wears on and my nerves start to wear thin. So how does one meal plan when you’re camping and have to live more simply and with limited space? I can’t plan for two weeks in advance and then buy two weeks worth of food, we just don’t have the room. But some of the places we’ll be, we could be two or three weeks between grocery stores – I can’t imagine finding a Woolworths on Cape York or half way along the Gibb River Road. (OK, there’s a Woolworths in Weipa, but we aren’t going to the western side of Cape York). So I’m torn. I think it’s probably going to be a case of ‘buy a whole heap of whatever I can fit in our food boxes and hope for the best’. Some creative cooking, perhaps? (No, Brandon, there never is and never will be a home for corn kernels in pea and ham soup!)

tub1These are the food boxes we have – this is 68 litres (it comes with quite a good fitting lid) but I also have two smaller ones to choose from; one of those is about 1/2 this height and the other is about 1/3 this height. I will most likely use two boxes this size for food, plus use the half height box for kitchen bits and pieces that won’t fit in the camper storage. So that’s three boxes in the back of the truck plus our suitcases and quite a lot of other stuff! That being said, now that we have a boat loader, we will be able to fit more on the back of the camper which will remove some of the need to have everything in or on the truck.

But back to food – what does one take when one is camping for 4 months?! I know, I know, I won’t be buying 4 months worth of food before we head off. But even just thinking about the basics is enough to do my head in. We have yet to discover what is readily available and how expensive it is, but I’ve been told to expect the worst. So simple cooking is the way to go. We have our camp oven and our Dreampot thermal cooker so lots of casseroles, roasts, soups and the like will be done. I will keep pasta and rice on hand, with a selection of sauce mixes to be used sparingly between supermarket visits 😉 The obligatory sausages, chicken and steak, of course, plus a supply of baked beans. I’m guessing we want to limit canned or bottled foods due to added weight, so packets of things will be popular. We can make pizza dough reasonably easily if I carry flour and yeast, and a good selection of things like mustard, UHT cream, tomato paste (does that powdered stuff really taste all that good??), and a few common herbs/spices should certainly help things along. We can carry eggs and bacon for breakfast or dinner, I can do stir fries when I can get fresh vegetables, spaghetti bolognese when I can’t! I was pointed in the direction of a great cook book for camping (although I’m not a fan of the title) – A Woman’s Look at Camping Cookbook (thanks TK!) There are some great recipe ideas there that I’m keen to try. And the Dreampot cookbook comes with quite a number of good ideas too. So I guess it won’t be that hard. Just so long as I can fit it all in the boxes!!! This is about to become the story of my life, methinks.

Hit me with your ideas, folks! (Note: I don’t eat fish… although Brandon and Charlotte do, so anything he catches, he can cook!)

Speaking of bread, I had a discount voucher so I stocked up on my favourite bread yesterday – just as well it freezes well!

File 6-6-17, 2 44 55 pm

24 days until leave commences, 27 days until departure…

6 thoughts on “Let them eat cake… ummm… bread!

  1. Leith June 6, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    I always need to have some emergency rations for big trips. We hit a kangaroo (well ran over it actually) lost our electrical system and exhaust, and were semi stranded there for 2 days. We made a great campsite and bonfire but thankfully had extra supplies. The kids had a great time!
    We always take lentils, chickpeas, flour and rice – good dry foods! The army shop at Enogera has some good dried pasta sauces and some other semi dehydrated sauces – e.g. sweet and sour, BBQ and some pre-packed spice mixes.

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    • Carla June 6, 2017 / 6:24 pm

      I think having some emergency freeze-dried rations is a great idea!

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    • Zoe June 6, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      Great! Thanks Leith 🙂

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  2. Carla June 6, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    Zoe, I know you’re a planner so this advice isn’t going to go down well but I think you’re over-thinking it. You have a lot of ‘trip’ before you get to remote, so you’ll learn along the way.
    How much freezer space do you have – can you ziploc bag a heap of stuff before you go or is it not worth it from a weight point of view.
    At the end of the day, if you live on beans and bread for a few days, no-one will die. Cereal rather than cooked breakfasts, thought that does mean having milk on hand (I personally would rather go hungry than drink UHT milk lol).
    Packet mixes (lighter than cans) of things like continental pasta mixes, two minute noodles… all of these things, while not my preferred food choices, are more than adequate for a few days if you end up in remote areas with few options.

    xx

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    • Zoe June 6, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      I actually agree with all you have said (except the UHT milk bit – that will be a regular part of our trip). Although I think given the amount of off-roading we are doing at the start of our trip, we won’t see a supermarket for a while. And I don’t mean shops, but cost-effective supermarkets. Food is hideously expensive on the Cape and across the Kimberley so I want to limit the amount I buy in small expensive shops. Anyway, those food suggestions are everything I have been thinking of 🙂 Thanks!

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      • Carla Rogers June 6, 2017 / 8:17 pm

        If you want some cooking days together, call me. I’ll bring wine 😜

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