Food (for thought) and cooking while on the trail ..aka potcosey and macaroni

We all know this…though we like to admit it or not…. when going on a hike food is important. Not just because we simply need the calories it provides, but also the comfortfactor that comes with it.

If you go away for just a week or so nowadays it’s fairly simple since there are good (freeze) dried meals out there, with plenty of variety, and we don’t have to reach for MRE’s or tinned rations anymore (they arent bad mind you, they weigh more, but you don’t need to add extra water, so netto it’s the same) .

If you go out for 4 months though, easy acces to expedition type meals is not so obvious, so “real cooking” comes into play:

– Carbohydrates: Easy 2 options there, pasta and rice … Pasta provide the best calories, rice the easiest cooking option (as i found out this weekend)

– Proteins: Dried sausage of some kind, spam, canned ham, corned beef…none of them realy light, but you can’t do without and beefjerky is just not readily available in the supermarkets here in europe.

-vedgies: Tomatoes, union, beans…I’m just nog a vedgie guy, I suspect I’ll go for the “vitamins in a pill” option and grab a few apples and oranges along the way…No real challenge there.

Back to real cooking and when you are out and about with just an alcohol stove, more importantly  “potcosey” cooking. It’s a great  blast from the past. Our grandparents used it in the last century for making all kinds of stew etc .. a hay box.. The modern day hiker of course doesn’t carry around hay (although lets be honest…grab a lot of dried gras or dry mos etc and wouldnt that make a nice potcosey..or just stick that pot in you down sleeping bag!!..make sure you pot is clean though 😉 ) I’m sure we all have played arount with various kinds of radiatorfoil…and it works..and it’s it’s great far so good..

Since i’ve discovered the potcosey, I have been cooking my rice this way, even at home (Yes folks i wil get out my cooking kit when im make rice at home…it’s easy and it just works…bring the water to the boil with the rice in it, stick it in the cosey and 20 minutes later its done, and it’s nicer and fluffier than I ever get it on the stove.

So where is this going you wonder? (wait for it!) ..what about pasta, macaroni in this case?! (Pasta was the better calories per weight remember, so preferred when you need 3500  calories a day approximately) Weellllll the package says cook for 8 minutes, the same as the rice package says, queue the stick in cosey and wait 20 minutes (I skipped over the tiny diference where the rice package says and after cooking for 8 minutes let it stand for 15 minutes and the macaroni doesn’t…I’m a MAN afterall, we don’t bother with little details like that!!) So i brought it to the boil (added some extra water because it seemed to absorp water rather quickly), stuck it in the cosey and proceeded to chop up a can of spam, half an union (damn I forgot the other half is still in my backpack..*runs downstairs*) and a tomatoe and stir fry it all together in my tiny trangia messtin..any meat works with half an union and a tomato I guess and so did this.

So twenty minutes of messing about over the trangia later, I set my messtin away, and lifted the lid of the looked good, just like it should look! ….. and i stuck my folding titanium spoon in the pot..and it went clunck at the hinges…The moment I touched it, I discovered I had created something that could rival with powerglue! I managed to spoon most of it through my spam, tomatoe and union mixture and at it, it tasted OK actually, the texture wasn’t briljant…for you dutch folks out there if I mention peanutbutter sticking to the top of your mouth you know what I mean …Cleaning my pot was challenging…

So what did we learn this weekend?

A: Im a horrible cook…no news there really
B: Any canned meat with half an union and a tomato works ( I smelled the tin of catfood I fed to the cats today…I can make this work with half and union and a tomato…honest!!)
C: You can overcook pasta to where it becomes something ferocious!

I had a great easterweekend out though with my brother in law (lucky him he didnt need to eat what i cooked 😀 ) and with any failure comes a lesson,  so it’s never a waste!









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