Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

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ericonabike
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Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby ericonabike » 10 Jul 2012, 3:39pm

Next month I'm going on a week's cycle tour in France with grown-up son. We'll be camping, but I initially hadn't planned on doing any cooking. However, since it now seems I'll be mostly financing the trip [!] the idea of saving money by camp cooking appeals. Vaguely thinking of coffee and croissants for breakfast, a decent lunch in a cafe/restaurant and lashing up something on a stove in the evening.
Would appreciate guidance on the minimum kit and likely cost, as I currently have no cooking equipment suitable for cycle camping. And any thoughts on how viable it is from old hands at camp-cooking would be appreciated.
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meic
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby meic » 10 Jul 2012, 4:04pm

The replies you get will say more about peoples' eating habits, wealth and willingness to carry weight and bulk than about a definitive best way.

Some differences I found in France was you can buy large tins of cheap ratatouille which go quickly and easily with cous cous for a quick easy, cheap food with a variety of dietary goodies in it.

Another thing that they have, which I have never seen in the UK is packs of mixed legumes, lentils and grains. They are boil in the bag (4-5min) and offer a more nutritious alternative to cous cous or rice.
"Legumes Secs Gourmands"

Cous cous is handy as you can boil water on the stove which you add to the cous cous allowing you time to then heat up your other part in the pan. This allows for single pan, single stove cooking.

If you are preparing meals you will need more equipment and time. I like to fry up some veg (using oil from one of the other ingredients) then add a tin of something like ratatouille, curry, etc served with boil in bag rice, cous cous etc.
Though we do eat a lot of other French delights which dont need cooking with the meal.
Local cheeses, olives, salad, local beer/cider, bread whatever else. If in France enjoy the food.
Yma o Hyd

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al_yrpal
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby al_yrpal » 10 Jul 2012, 5:01pm

In France I always take muesli, milk and a banana for breakfast. Easy to carry and cheap. Lunch is always a baguette sandwich and a nice cake or tart which you can get at any boulangerie. They usually display a pile of sandwiches with different fillings. Cheese and ham, tuna and mayonaise are common. In the evening you can go for a meal, but often I do the French version of le takeaway! This consists of a visit to the boulangerie first for a baguette , then to le Charcuterie for pate, saucicons,cold meats and cheese, ready prepared cold salads etc. This is what the French do instead of takeaway Fish and Chips, Pizzas etc. Sometimes you might encounter a fishmonger where you can concoct your own Fruits de Mere, and on weekends there is often street food like Hog Roasts and Mega takeaway Paellas. I avoid evening cooking because I like decent food and its difficult to cook it camping without lugging around loads of weighty gear. And, if its raining things get difficult. I do take a stove for a brew though.
Al
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johnb
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby johnb » 10 Jul 2012, 6:02pm

Coffee and Museli for breakfast, around 11- 11.30 try to get to a Supermarket for yogurt, fruit and whatever takes my fancy and anytime after 4pm try to get food at a supermarket or shop for dinner either the makings of a good feed of spaghetti bolognese or pork chops, fish or steak and spuds and veg all cooked on two small pots and a small pan. I find it better to cook all my own food as the range and choice of fresh food in France is incredible.

cooking 1.JPG


cooking 2.JPG


Whole kit is about 10x4 inches weighs approx 2lb, includes stove, pot, pan, plate, bowl, knike fork and spoon set,cutting board/strainer, cooking oil, salt, pepper, spices, washing up liquid, Jcloths, pot handle and cooking spatula.
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rualexander
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby rualexander » 10 Jul 2012, 7:57pm

For somewhere like France, a Trangia stove is hard to beat, the meths fuel (alcool a bruler) is sold in most supermarkets and small grocers and is reasonably cheap. Its a safe and easy stove to use.
It comes in two sizes, for two people you would be looking at the size 25, and numerous versions depending on the included options (such as kettle, non-stick coating, hard anodized, etc.).

thirdcrank
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Jul 2012, 8:31pm

In terms of cooking kit, the advice must be the same as for touring toolkits: there's no point taking anything you don't know how to use. The best-equipped kitchen is no use to somebody who cannot cook.

As you are going to France, here's my suggestion of Chicken Marengo - said to have been devised by Napoleon's chef.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=37658&p=300254&hilit=marengo#p300254

There's a lot to be said for a simple lunch of bread and cheese (with a bottle of wine for people like me who like it.) :D

Unless things have changed, there are plenty of reasonably-priced restaurants in France and unless you are stoney-broke, that might be a better holiday than faffing with a stove. (If you do decide on a stove etc., don't forget to get links to the threads on the French names for all the different fuels eg afaik, paraffin is pétrole while petrol is l'essence. OR Check on the availability of suitable gas canisters. Then remember what I've said about dining out.

Bon appétit! Bon voyage!

johnb
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby johnb » 10 Jul 2012, 8:58pm

thirdcrank wrote:Unless things have changed, there are plenty of reasonably-priced restaurants in France and unless you are stoney-broke, that might be a better holiday than faffing with a stove. [/i]


ericonabike wrote
Next month I'm going on a week's cycle tour in France with grown-up son. We'll be camping, but I initially hadn't planned on doing any cooking. However, since it now seems I'll be mostly financing the trip [!] the idea of saving money by camp cooking appeals


No mention of " stoney-broke" I gather he would just like to save some money by cooking and not eating out.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Jul 2012, 9:08pm

johnb

I can only say that I replied to the OP in a way I hoped would be helpful, and the spirit of that post. (He did refer to himself as a Dumbo.)

If the OP (or anybody else) feels that it's somehow inappropriate, I hope they will accept my apologies. (I shan't be losing sleep.)

johnb
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby johnb » 10 Jul 2012, 9:32pm

thirdcrank,

speaking for myself, I find your comment
thirdcrank wrote:
Unless things have changed, there are plenty of reasonably-priced restaurants in France and unless you are stoney-broke, that might be a better holiday than faffing with a stove. [/i]
a bit condescending from the point of view of someone who cooks daily while on tour, the choice is mine and its not a choice made because I am " stoney broke".
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thirdcrank
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Jul 2012, 10:03pm

Right. I missed that. The point I was trying to make - without intending to be condescending to anybody - is that for somebody who is not a already a cook, learning while camping may not be the way to an enjoyable holiday. I did try to set this in context with my comment about tools for going on tour, which was not intended as an encouragement to go to a bike shop to have punctures repaired. The OP did mention that one reason for considering self-catering was connected with cost.

I certainly wasn't suggesting that self catering was only for the indigent - and I didn't anticipate anybody would become indignant. The most superficial visit to any specialist camping website shows that it's possible to spend a lot of £££ on lightweight camping kit in just the same way as it is on specialist bike tools, but IMO the skills to use them are best acquired at home.

Now that you've explained the issue in more detail, I'll be able to sleep even more soundly. :D

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meic
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby meic » 10 Jul 2012, 10:04pm

On the other hand, I do it because I am stoney broke.
I thought that French eating houses were a lot more expensive than I remembered them being on our family holidays as a teenager.
Yma o Hyd

thirdcrank
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Jul 2012, 10:19pm

meic wrote:On the other hand, I do it because I am stoney broke.
I thought that French eating houses were a lot more expensive than I remembered them being on our family holidays as a teenager.


My experience of eating out in France is not recent, which is why I said "Unless things have changed...."

(I used to eat in a place very similar to Chez René in Allo, allo but without the Germans. Afaik the two waitresses were nothing more than waitresses - I certainly never got wind of a flying helmet. )
:wink:

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simonineaston
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby simonineaston » 10 Jul 2012, 10:38pm

I never take cooking gear with me to France, whereas I do when going elsewhere, simply because I have found it is so easy to eat quite well without. Add the extra time spent preparing, cooking and cleaning up afterwards, as well as the extra weight of all the gear, plus the slight extra worry-factor of running out of fuel, and it's a no-brainer for me. The 'Trange' stays at home.
I have done much as the OP suggested - coffee in the first cafe I see, patisserie bought from the first boulangerie I see (and what lovely lovely things there are in these places... those delightful tartes aux fraises, those crunchy croissants aux amondes, those oignon et lardon quiches!!!), lunch bought from traiteurs - or LeClerc's plat du jour, if I'm passing one, and a 'cold collation' in the evening, bought from shops in the last town I pass before the campsite. Works every time for me, and I do like nice food (who doesn't!). Good value for money, and if the wallet's looking unexpectedly plump after a few days then I can treat myself to an evening meal in a restaurant :-)
I have never regretted not taking cooking gear to France - at least during the warmer months, that is.
byyeee,
SiE

ericonabike
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby ericonabike » 10 Jul 2012, 10:49pm

Thanks all - and I've not taken offence at anything said! It's a judgement call as to what, if anything, to take for cooking, and all the comments made have been helpful. I guess I'm being influenced by a weekend Mrs E and I spent in La Rochelle last year - cost me an arm and a leg eating out. Whereas we now have a motorhome and a similar holiday there cost us very little - but we did have a four ring hob, grill, oven and fridge...

Still undecided, all suggestions still appreciated.
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hubgearfreak
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Re: Dumbo camper seeks cooking kit tips

Postby hubgearfreak » 10 Jul 2012, 10:51pm

rualexander wrote:For somewhere like France, a Trangia stove is hard to beat, the meths fuel (alcool a bruler) is sold in most supermarkets and small grocers and is reasonably cheap. Its a safe and easy stove to use.


agreed. it's the best camping stove in the world, bar none. cheaper copies are available, so cheap as may even be considered disposable. lidls is occasionally one outlet, http://www.clasohlson.com/uk/Asaklitt-S ... r343320000 another. however cheap meals out are in france, a £12 investment will soon pay for itself. and the joy of simmering away a ratatioulle made from fresh market ingredients whilst supping a carton of vin de cheap on a sunny evening with a crusty baguette at a scenic campsite beats any restuarant i've ever been to