Hygine and Food


I'm reading a James Michner book called Journey that I picked up in a hostal. Its the story of an expedition during the gold rush to the Klondike River in northern Canada in 1897. Some pertinent advice is to be found near the bottom of page 120.

"We must change our socks at least twice a week and wash the worn ones in soap and hot water, else we'll develop a horrible fungus. It's not good to sleep in your clothes or to wear your underthings for more than a week. The latrine is to be kept well back from the cabin, and I want to find no one just stepping outside the door and pissing."

Ok, fair enough Jimbo, I will do my best.

Right, now on to food. I think its fair to say that I'll not be writing a recipe book any time soon. Nevertheless, I thought I'd give a taster of my culinary tendencies are on the bike. The key thing is to be able to store stuff for about a week or so. I have a few old plastic containers (the kind you get hot chocolate in) to keep things like oats, pasta and rice in. Plastic bags are ok but tend to split open and go everywhere.

Breakfast: I've got oats, powdered milk and sugar all mixed up in a container and I just pour some in my mug, add cold water, and shovel it in. It is considerably less faff and less mess than hot porridge and, if I ever felt the need, with the addition of raisins and nuts it is almost muesli. I like this and it sets you up for the day. If I have left the stove out I can make tea and pour in hot water into the oats which is also good.

Lunch: Bread with cheese, dulce de leche, jam or banana. Or with any combination of the above, or with all of it. Bread only lasts a few days before going stale so another option is to carry crackers which last a bit longer or flour. You can use flour to make chapatis (flat bread made from flour, salt and water) or "beer bread" (rises a bit, made with beer and flour). Good to cook these over a fire but its ok on a stove too.

Dinner: Pasta and stock cube. Or, if I fancy a change, rice and stock cube. Cheap and quick to cook. Occasionally, I will buy a few random tins, tuna, sardines, sweetcorn, peas, etc. Also I sometimes have things like olive oil, garlic, fresh ginger, herbs, curry powder, onion, salami, parmazan and the odd carrot. Powdered soups also good as an alternative to stock cubes. In towns I go wild and eat vegetables, red meat, eggs and yoghurt, as these don't travel well.

Snacks: Biscuits, chocolate and mints. I have to hide these from myself in the bottom of the panniers. Fruit and other healthy food doesn´t tend to travel well so I do a good deal of healthy eating outside shops. Apples and oranges are about the best for taking with.

Drinks: Water or black tea. In town, the occasional beer or wine. I'm also brewing some strawberry wine in time for Christmas. Its fizzing all the time now and I have to unscrew the cap to release the pressure every 10km. Following a tip from Brett, I activated the yeast in a little lukewarm water covered with a lid for 45 minutes and then added it to the strawberry juice with a spoonful of sugar.

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