Sunday, July 22, 2012

Backcountry Cooking: Bicycle Picnic

August is National Picnic Month!  Add a healthy twist by packing & pedaling
Summer is the time for outdoor eating:  Cookouts, backyard barbecues, clam bakes, fish frys and picnics in the park.  Packing a wicker lunch hamper for the park was quite common in Victorian times.  Since there was no such thing as plastic cups and paper plates, they also packed the fine china right along for eating on the grass.  A movable feast!

Well, there's no reason to stay home as food packaging and utensils are much more high tech and lighter these days.  In fact all the foods, plates and camp stove fit in my Basil Jada Rear Basket with room to spare.  I did a lunch for two which included a delicious, hearty potato soup and barbecue sandwich with chips.  Keep in mind you can transfer this same technique to catering your own bicycle tour or campout. Here's how I pulled it off:

Camp stove set up to cook some Hearty Potato Soup by Augie Foods
I unpacked everything from our rear basket: Augie Foods Hearty Potato Soup, Trangia 27-5 Ultralight Camp Stove with Primus burner, Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Kit, Aurora Magnesium Fire Starter, cooking utensils.  After setting up the stove I lit the gas burner with the Aurora Fire Starter.  I adjusted the hose regulator and started my 1 cup of water boiling.

Once the soup starts to boil, it thickens quite quickly.

I used the Light My Fire stay dry cup to measure and hold the dry soup.  I then whisked the 1/4th cup of soup mix into my hot water and got it boiling. You need not bring anything but fire and water.  All of the ingredients are included in each of the delicious Augie Foods soups we tested: Cheddar & Broccoli, Chicken Flavored Stew.  They even carry a product called Ready Fuel which is gel based and allows you to heat water and cook without a camp stove.  We were being fancy today so we used the Trangia Set!

Cooking with a Primus gas burner is clean and efficient.

Another simpler version of this picnic lunch would be to cook the soup at home and pour it into an Insulated Klean Kanteen.  You would just need to bring bowls but I have to say the one that comes with the six piece Light My Fire set is exceptional.  It can be used for coffee as well but the ergonomic finger dents in the sides keep it from slipping in your hands.  Both the Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Set and the Trangia 27-5 are made in Sweden. We added a very tasty Barbecue Sandwich from Bridgford and Organic Blue Corn Chips and Rice Crisps made with Sweet Potato by Utz.

The finished meal with a little Barbecue Sandwich & Grandma Utz chips on the side

Augie Foods
We could not believe how scrumptious and satisfying the Hearty Potato Soup was! Big pieces of potato, celery and carrot, it does not taste like it came from a soup mix.  What will blow you away is that these soups will keep for up to 20 years in a cool dry place!

Bridgford Shelf Stable Sandwiches
The bread of the Bridgford Barbecue Sandwich was incredible. These are like gourmet Military MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) and can take high temperatures but still stay fresh.  They come individually packed in air-tight pouches and do not need refrigeration if unopened. These are a great idea if you do not want to bring ice packs and a cooler to keep your food cold.

Utz Snack Foods
Known in the east for their incredibly crispy potato chips, Utz has really kicked it up a notch. Their Organic Blue Corn Chips have just the right amount of salt but the fresh corn taste is what hooks you.  A new product for them are the Rice Crisps which are all natural brown rice tortillas. The kicker in these chips are the sesame seed and sweet potato ingredients that give them a rich, nutty flavor.

Everything to prepare our picnic lunch packs easily in this Basil Rear Basket.

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