Experiencing new food is one of the primary reasons why people travel and what they most often bring back with them to their own lives. Local cuisine is an easy and enjoyable way to immerse fully into a new culture, yet for many road nomads it is one aspect that can become stale very quickly.
Space is at a premium in a van and, so, we regularly need to pass by a supermarket to restock staples: pasta, rice, stove gas, etc. For many, this becomes their primary source of all food stuffs, thus limiting their need to ‘shop’ which is often seen as a chore. Just as we often do at home, shopping for staples becomes a rut in which we mindlessly grab the same items every time, barely looking at what else is on offer.
As a consequence, meals become as stale as the shopping experience: nomads develop a set pattern of dishes that seldom even change for the seasons. The complications, if you can call them that, of having only one burner or no refrigeration adds to this dynamic. Many depend on canned and dried produce for their simplicity, never realizing that they are depriving themselves of one of the greatest joys of travel.
“Frequenting farmers markets can break this habit, add a local flair to every stop and is as important as any other local attraction. To me they become experiences, not shopping: talking to the vendors, smelling their spices, learning a few recipes. It is the reason I travel.”
On Expedition, the team immerses themselves in the tastes, smells and freshness of cuisine, every step of the way. Trying and preparing local fare is part of our research, probably the most satisfying. Our temporary neighbours often pass to offer us their bounty of eggs, fish or wild asparagus. Seasonal produce and local specialities make our days richer and ensure that we stay healthy and satisfied.
As a passionate cook most of my life, I adore new inspiration and challenges. I have learned ‘one pot wonders’ from bedouin in the desert, grilled fresh calamari from fishermen in Tunisia, summer panzanella from farmers in Tuscany and so much more. One of my favorite activities of the day is making meals for us derived from where we are and what we have, regardless of the fact that all I have at my disposal is one burner perched on the front seat.
Here are some of my favorites.
In Lebanon, Man’oushé is usually rolled out thinly, and eaten rolled up or folded. The Lebanese garnish it with a nice mixture of olive oil, zata’r, and fresh mint as well as cucumbers and tomatoes. That is a really refreshing breakfast or snack. Since I live in a van, I prefer making the small breads … Continue reading Man’oushé
As the summer heat sets in and the van gets as hot as an oven, my desire to cook hot meals dwindles quickly and my craving for fresh vegetables and herbs takes over. One of my favorite goto dishes, which can be served hot or cold, is a rucola pesto pasta originally taught to me … Continue reading Summer Rucola Pesto