Title: Roadside Chow
Notes: Last updated: 9 September 2011

These recipes are designed to easily feed members of the underground while on the run or operating from a pack, bicycle, train hopping, hitchhiking, or just without a real kitchen. Cheap Chow has more recipes and instructions to adapt for non-standard kitchen operations. Some recipes assume that you have a small budget to assign for a week or two of travel foods others are designed for taking advantage of the foliage or commodity food items found near farms or food transport and distribution depots.

Cooking Under Pressure

If you are planning to consume large amounts of dried beans for their protein, or other dried bulk foods seriously consider a small pressure cooker. With a pressure cooker you can soften beans in under an hour, this would normally take all night in a boiling soup, rice only needs to reach pressure and be allowed to cool, lentils 10 min after the first pressure 'toot'. The expensive models may be nice but can be very heavy, stick with the smaller more portable models and be sure you don't loose the weighted pressure 'jiggler' cap or damage the O ring or rubber pressure seal. No matter what you do be sure there is at least two cm (one inch) of water or liquid at the bottom so the pressure vessel is not warped or the seals or safety systems damaged. Always check the pressure release system for clogs before cooking. Pressure cookers can be safely used with any heat source even the coals of a campfire or a camp stove. Choose something appropriately sized for your movement and food requirements 1.5 to 3 liters is probably good for most mobile people, pressure cookers can be heavy but consider the time and fuel savings when deciding, only buy something manufactured recently with a UL safety approval stamp that you can buy new seals for and that will reach 15 PSI, lower pressures will not cook as quickly.

Spanish Beans and Rice

Pre-cook your beans in an oven for two hours at 200F(100C) so they will soften easier, store in sealed container once cool. Boil water using your immersion boiler in the same pot as the beans (soak them overnight if possible) keep adding water, since the stinger will boil some away, until beans are soft, this can take a long time with larger beans. If possible let the packet or can of tomato sauce float in the boiling bean water to heat up. Pre-boil water and then add the same volume of rice (softening is quicker if you use converted or minute-rice). Drain the beans and add to the rice, add tomato sauce, and spices, if possible pour into a big can carefully floated in your pot and stinger boil the water in the pot to slow cook it, otherwise pour the mixed finished product into a Thermos(or a container wrapped in a sleeping bag) and let sit for 1/2 hour or more.

Lentil and Rice Storage and Travel Soup

Sprouted lentils and rice provide a complete set of amino acids, the building blocks for your body, they also cook faster. Red, orange, and brown lentils also cook at about same rate as rice when started from dry in hot water, unsprouted lentils and rice provide all but two amino acids. Your lentils and rice, and some boiling water can be poured into a thermos, they will be ready in around an hour, although the lentils will often not taste fully cooked using this method. Always add salt or salted flavorings after cooking is complete because salt lengthens the time required to soften the lentils, green lentils take much longer to cook but contain more nutrition. You stinger electrical heater can be used as a "spoon" to slowly mix the lentils and rice in a soup with enough water as they cook, this will most often keep the stinger from getting too gooped up, it might help to attach the stinger heater to a chopstick so the steam isn't so close to your hands.


Those cheap little bricks of fried noodles, after having boiling water added (without the flavor packet) and drained once soft, can be used as a foundation for just about anything.

  • Adding leftover chili can make it spaghetti in meat (or chili) sauce.

  • After the noodles are drained, add olive oil, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese for Ramen Agilo E Olio. Add some bacon bits for something similar to Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

  • Let the noodles cool, cut them up, and mix into a salad.

  • Use it as a base for what ever main dish you're having (eggplant, veggie burger, etc.).

  • Crack an egg into boiling water(on the burner at full boil) and stir, remember to break the yoke, for egg flower ramen, then add noodles and flavor pack.

  • Eat the block dry if you don't have time to cook it or have no working burner. Eat it either as a big cake or break off chunks and shake a little flavor powder into your mouth with each bite.

  • Boil up ramen noodles and drain, add chunked canned chicken or canned shrimp several soy sauce packets and a few sugar packets from the condiment stand at a Chinese restaurant, add powdered garlic and sesame seeds or sesame oil too if you have them.

  • Again raid the Chinese restaurant condiments this time for the red pepper sauce, boil up your ramen and drain most water add pepper sauce and a spoon or two of peanut butter and stir for a Thai treat, if it gets too thick add back some hot boiled water.

  • Boil up several bricks and drain well, once drained use as a serving base to pour your stir fried dish on.

  • If you are using the ramen for other purposes save the flavor packets for later to add to bland meals or soups.

  • Slice carrots thin and leave on a paper plate in your freezer to freezer burn aka to freeze dry. Leave mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator to dry out. Once dry bag these up for tasty travel soup additions.

***Spicy Ramen Pasta and Soup

Boil two cups of water and add a packet of Ramen Noodles. Cook for three minutes stirring occasionally and add Cajun seasoning. After cooking for three minutes turn off heat and add more seasoning if needed. Move the noodles directly to something that can be used for mixing, i.e. a large bowl or plate. Do not strain the noodles, instead leave the broth in the pan you boiled it in, it will come in handy later. Once the noodles are in the mixing dish add Parmesan cheese, more Cajun seasoning, and a little olive oil for texture. Mix up the noodles and transfer them to a new dish or eat it right out of the mixing dish for a nice spicy pasta.

With the leftover broth you can add thin sliced carrots, leftover noodles, and more seasoning. Boil together and once the carrots have achieved a slightly soft state pour into a bowl and serve as soup.

You can make variations of this dish using different seasoning or vegetables. Also you can add a little lime or lemon juice to the broth while cooking the noodles and again when cooking the soup to give it a unique flavor.

Draining Pasta Without a Colander

Draining your noodles when you don't have a colander: leave the lid on your pot but wrap a towel or cloth around the opening. The dry part of the towel will help you hold the pot, let the lid go loose in the towel and tilt to drain the water. Be careful, as your towel is now soaked with boiling hot water. Better and safer is to get a strong nylon mesh stuff bag for your camp pots and use this as a colander.

Pasta Sauce Leathers

You can make a favorite pasta sauce road portable by dehydrating it. Boil down the sauce until it is thick and then pour onto either a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or onto a large oven roaster bag laid flat. Bake at 50C(120F) until either a soft leather(like a fruit roll up) or let it go longer and you will have a brittle chips you can crack off and put into a bag. Much less chance of a mess than the canned stuff, just dump the bag or leather into a pot with a small amount of just boiled hot water, cover and let sit for several minutes to reconstitute into sauce, add more water if needed.

Creative Pizza

For the crust, use a pita or English muffin (but almost any bread will do). Put on a thin layer of tomato sauce, then whatever toppings you wish (cheese, mushrooms, etc.). Put in a toaster oven and keep a watch on it, since cooking times vary. Your home made pita will also make a very tasty pizza crust, or you can hand make a normal crust, like the bread dough or biscuit dough below. No oven? If you have a fry pan with lid, dutch oven or wok with lid, throw down the dough with sauce, toppings, and cheese cover and place above a low flame or coals. If you are using cooked bread for crust butter the bottom well for a pan pizza flavor. If you are short on time, cook up a biscuit mix crust with baking powder to make it puff a little. If you are out of cheese, stir fry tomatoes and onions until soft and add it to your warmed bread or pizza crust.

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (feels warm to hand, not burning hot)

  • 1 Tbs sugar

  • 1 tps salt

  • 4 cups flour

  • 1 Tbs yeast

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This recipe is as easy to prepare when camping as when you are at home. Two slices of bread with cheese and whatever other filling you like in between, spread butter or margarine on the outside, cook both sides in a pan until as browned as you like, or seal in foil and flip it over several times in low coals of your campfire.

Mulligan Stew

From the post Civil War collapse through the Great Depression of the 1930's, many of the hobos who gathered in the jungles near a rail line would pool together whatever they had for a meal. The food was cut up and put into a pot with some water and cooked, adding waste bones of any kind and scrap meat or fresh roadkill for added fats and protein. What was finished was often called "Mulligan Stew" or "Whatchagot Stew". In the early days of the personal computer revolution, techies would keep themselves fed during marathon sessions in a similar way, using a wok instead of a cooking pot. The resulting product was nicknamed "Stir-Fry Random" and was often served on a bed of rice or ramen noodles. During the days of America's "Wild West", the camp cook sometimes took leftovers, local vegetation, meat scraps and often the parts of the steer that wasn't normally eaten, and make what was often called "Sonofabitch Stew" for obvious reasons. Whatever you are trying to use, vegetation wise, should be something that you have no doubt about in your mind is NOT poisonous.

Whatever stew you are making you can cook it in an aluminum foil pouch, carefully double fold three edges fill and fold to seal. Then cook the stew in campfires, forest fires, engine blocks, Bill Clinton's shorts, etc.

Roadside Soups

So all you can find is a few handfuls of beans or barley in the corner of a rail car? No problem! Dried grains, legumes, and corn might take around an hour or more to cook but will soften up. Pre-soak if possible and crack them to make them soften and cook faster. Use a pot lid of some sort to keep the heat up. If you can't find enough wood or fuel, bring the food to a boil and dump in a thermos for a few hours, reheat and repeat if it needs more cooking time. It is nice to add salt or spices if you have but this is not required. If you can find things like carrots, tender plant roots or shoots whatever is edible, add these later so they won't overcook. About half an hour before you eat look around for green leafy weeds in a place a few meters from the roadside where weed spray and auto pollution is not so bad. If you can find an egg, drop it in and mix right before taking off the fire. Cooking time: up to four hours from when the beans start to simmer. Check as you cook since smaller grains may cook quicker. If you have little fuel build a fire and then break up into coals, pack the coals around your covered pot and cover with dry soil so it will stay hot for hours.

Beggars Chicken

Take a chicken and if you want to eat the skin pluck the feathers. Stuff the chicken with vegetables and spices, salting the outside and rubbing with pepper and spice is nice. Take a clean paper bag and coat with edible oil, sack in a roaster bag, or use aluminum foil, insert chicken, twist the end of the bag shut. Wrap bagged chicken in clean non-smelly mud or damp clay. Bury the ball of clay and build a fire on top, keep feeding the coals and let cook for at two to three hours.

Traditionally the chicken is wrapped in lotus leaves but any nice smelling leaf and herb wrap will be fine. Stuffing can be potato, pre-cooked rice, rehydrated potato flakes, seasoned day old bread, bread dough, fresh or dried fruit, or whatever else you can find.

This cooking method works well for anything from trapped pidgins to fresh caught fish although you will need to adjust your cooking times for the type of meat. If no bag is available you can omit it although some mud will probably get into the meat.

Creative Cooking

Be creative; Your radiator, hair dryer, clothes dryer, clothes iron, car engine, etc. can be used to heat or brown canned or foil covered food or maybe even boil a pot of water. If there is a chance of boiling temperatures be sure the can has a hole poked in the lid to prevent explosion.

If you are afraid people will smell the illegal cooking in your dorm room and bust you maybe you can set your heat source on the window sill or in a bucket tied safely and hung out the window. Don't spill it, since nobody wants to wear boiling stew. A tied up bucket on a window sill also makes a good freezer/fridge in cold weather.

Car Cooking

Cooking in your car and on car engine blocks Cars#Cooking and Heating


Clean off a stick and wrap the end with cookie, biscuit, cake, or risen bread dough. Roast and turn over a campfire or hot coals, a foil or clean leaf wrapping is not a bad idea, else you will be eating somewhat smoky flavored bread.

Hot Water Pot

If the only heat you have is your pot of hot water on a small fire or electrical stinger immersion heater you can still warm canned foods and even cook and bake. Put a few inches of water in a larger can or bucket and heat on the coals to a boil or plug in the stinger, be sure that the stinger is secured so it will stay underwater and wont burn dry. Once the water is boiling you can put your bagged omelet, batter or dough, anything that you can't just stew, boil, or steam directly into the water. Use a well sealed oven bag or if you can't find these a ziplock, or plastic bag. You can also heat canned foods by floating them unopened in the water. To make this work better with a stinger you can wrap the whole works in a blanket for insulation, at a minimum try to cover the top of the container. Your cakes and breads will come out shaped like the plastic sack but will taste just fine, open and poke with a toothpick to see if it is done since it will not brown anywhere.

Sandwich of Irony

You can make a cooked cheese or other sandwich by setting an iron to it's highest setting and ironing your sandwich. Of course this might goop up the iron and make it unusable for clothes (try wrapping the sandwich in aluminum foil first), but it is a good way to hide a cooking device in a dorm room. You might also try using your iron as a hot plate if you can figure a safe way to prop it upside down.

A friend of one of our contributors was told how to heat sandwiches using a room radiator. Wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil and place it on the heat source. When you can smell the food, it's done. It's also quite entertaining watching the hotel security looking for your hotplate when there isn't one to be found.

Field Corn

When riding the rails or hitchhiking you will often find fields of corn waiting to feed you hungry travelers. If you are lucky you will be near sweet corn, but field or dent corn(animal feed) while not sweet is edible, if it is dried out you can pound or grind into cornmeal. You can eat corn raw but cooking will make it taste much better. Pull the silk out of the top but don't remove the husk(leaves covering the corn). Some people will pour a little salty water in to flavor before cooking but it is optional. Wrap the husk tightly and either wrap in foil and place in the edge of the coals or place on a grille and cover, turn every few minutes. Add salt spices and butter to your liking, cooking 1020 minutes. If the corn has already dried hard either boil it in a soup or crush into corn meal and try the recipes below. (Edited from Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South by Martha McCulloch-Williams (1913) http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/)

Another alternative is to remove all but a thin layer of husk around the corn cob, instead of using foil. The only problem with this is that the husk burns rather easily, so direct flame is not recommended.

***Plain Corn Bread

Sift sound fresh white cornmeal, wet with cold water to a fairly soft dough, shape it by tossing from hand to hand into small pones, and lay them as made into a hot pan well sprinkled with dry meal. The pan should be hot enough to brown the meal without burning it. Make the pones about an inch thick, four inches long, and two and a half broad. Bake quickly, taking care not to scorch, until there is a brown crust top and bottom.

For hoe-cakes make the dough a trifle softer, lay it by handfuls upon a hot-meal-sprinkled griddle, taking care the handfuls do not touch. Flatten to half an inch, let brown underneath, then turn, press down and brown the upper side. (Sugar will sweeten them up. Baking powder will help them puff. The recipe mentions that they should be eaten drenched in butter but salt destroys this soaking power.)

***Ash Cakes

  • Make dough as for plain corn bread, but add the least trifle of salt, sweep the hot hearth very clean, pile the dough on it in a flattish mound, cover with big leaves--cabbage leaves will do at a pinch, or even thick clean paper, then pile on embers with coals over them and leave for an hour or more, according to size.

  • Take up, brush off ashes, and break away any cindery bits.

  • Serve with new butter and fresh buttermilk.

  • (Aluminum foil or corn husk wrapping should work if on the roadside without a fireplace hearth)

Of course check out fields you pass by for other usable crops to feed yourself as you travel through the countryside.

Stinger Soup

Using a stinger or pocket immersion boiler to boil water, make soup, or a steam food. Be careful, if the water or liquid boils away a commercial stinger will burn out or begin to melt and a home made one might start a fire. The 12 volt stingers you can find at truck stops are much weaker and sometimes won't even bring the water to a full boil.

To make a stinger soup boil solid veggies (onions, carrots, potato, beets, etc) in lightly salted tap water until they are cooked and only then adding a powdered soup base, spices, or bullion cubes that way your immersion boiler doesn't get too gooped up. Soft veggies like cabbage must be boiled with caution since small bits might stick to your stinger the same is true with pasta. If you want pasta in the soup boil the water first then pour it into a thermos if you have one and add the thinnest regular pasta you can find like angel hair spaghetti or substitute rice noodles since they soften faster.

Street Salad

From the original 1970 book and updates

Salad can be made by chopping up almost any variety of vegetables, nuts and fruits including the stuff you panhandled at the back of supermarkets; dandelions, shav, and other wild vegetables; and goods you ripped off inside stores or from large farms. A neat fresh dressing consists of one part of oil, two parts wine vinegar, finely chopped garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Mix up the ingredients in a bottle and add to the salad as you serve it. Russian dressing is simply mayonnaise and ketchup mixed. One suggestion is to add a bit of relish to the Russian dressing. Also, mayonnaise and mild yellow mustard mixed together make a quasi-Dijon dressing.

If you're at a place that has a burger fixings station (Fuddruckers, for example), see if you can get your burger "to go" in a Styrofoam or paper clamshell. Use one half for your burger, and the other for lettuce and tomatoes for your unauthorized salad that you put together on the sly (Don't be greedy, since that attracts attention). Then leave before anyone asks questions. If they have those little paper cups for ketchup, mix your dressing in that. Take a fork, too, unless you consider a salad to be "finger food".

Grab some dark green leafy vegetables from the dumpster behind the organic market or grocery store (wilted is OK), wash them off and add them raw to your salad. Unlike useless iceberg lettuce they have gobs of the nutrients you need to be more revolutionary!

Coffee Bar

Most offices and waiting rooms feature free coffee with sugar and fake creamer. The fake creamer is most often whey powder with vegetable oil and some sugar, it is high in complete digestible protein, half a cup creamer dry or mixed with sugar and hot water will give you strength and a full belly to continue strong for a few hours without a groaning stomach. It goes without saying that you should stuff your plastic shopping bag with any birthday cake, donuts, or popcorn that is found with the coffee. Remember that a coffee machine is both a hot plate and a source of boiled water, if you get creative you can prepare rice, poached or boiled eggs, and many other cheap dishes if you have enough time alone with the machine.

To poach an egg fill the coffee carafe (the glass thing that holds the finished coffee) with hot water and carefully crack and pour egg into the hot water, when you get good this will produce one solid mass, leave it on the hotplate for a few minutes, be sure the hotplate is on, when it is finished dip out with a fork or spoon. This finishes much faster than hard boiling an egg. It is questionable if most coffee maker hotplates will be enough to fry an egg in reasonable time or mess.

If you can score a few single-serving packets of instant soup, you can dissolve it into a cup of hot water. Bullion cubes dissolved in hot water will make a hot broth, but they don't provide much in the way of nutrition. Fair

warning; Both are very high in salt.

Back in 1981, the USDA under the Reagan Administration tried to declare tomato ketchup as a vegetable for USA school cafeteria nutritional standards. While it won't be very nutritionally sound, you can make an erzats "tomato soup" with ketchup, salt, and hot water maybe a dash of pepper too. Back in the Depression this was known as "Automat Soup" since it was made at the condiments station.

Backpacking Biscuits

A variation on the regular biscuit recipe for backpacking is as follows:

  • 12 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 1/4 cup baking powder

  • 1 pound shortening or 16 fl/oz vegetable oil

Mix dry components together and divide into 2 or 4 cup portions in baggies or other container for convenient use. Add shortening or oil before using; Mark one of your cups to measure the correct amount. Shortening can be stored in reusable plastic "toothpaste" or "jerry" tubes that are sold for holding peanut butter and other pastes at camping stores; use a sturdy plastic bottle with a tough cap if you choose to carry oil.

To make biscuits, add 2 cups of mix to 1/2 cup water or milk, knead no more than 5 times (or it will be too tough), roll flat to about 3/4 inch (2 cm), and cut into biscuit shapes (A clean drinking glass will do). Bake in an oven on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes at 450 F (230 C), in oiled aluminum foil over hot coals until brown, or steam until firm.


Inexpensive and easy to make even with just a dollar store fry pan and one of the stoves in Low Impact Crashing. Use the above biscuit mix (2 cups mix, 1 cup water) with an egg or two added to the water before measuring or try this recipe for on the spot cooking:

  • 2 cup self rising flour.

  • 1/4 cup butter (or oil/fat/margarine)

  • 1 egg (or 1/4 cup rehydrated egg powder)

  • Sugar and/or Salt to desired flavor

  • 2-3 cup water to desired thickness

(To make self rising flour take 1 cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or just look for it in the store.)

Make a huge batch of flapjacks and rewarm when you are hungry or eat cold. You can make syrup by adding hot water to brown sugar or even regular sugar until it is wet and heating until it starts to boil and dissolve, but why? You can substitute as much oat or whole wheat flour as you like to change the flavor. You can use these like a tortilla or lauffa and wrap other foods in them, vary the sugar and salt to match the wrapped food. With a thin batter you can make the thin pancakes used in blintzes. Blintzes are just sugar sweetened cottage cheese in thin rolled pancake burritos, top with stirred jelly or applesauce.

Fry in a frying pan or wok with a little butter or oil, don't let them sit too long or get the pan too hot, flip when you start to see bubbles coming through the top, a spatula helps for flipping. We obtained the best results when we used real butter both for the oil component in the recipe but also for they frying oil.


A steel wok, fry pan, or griddle is all you need to make the easiest of breads, just place on a hot mound of coals or a gas burner until it is really hot. This is a great way to have delicious fresh bread even when you are without a kitchen. Best if eaten fresh, it will keep in your pack for about two days before mould spots begin to appear, refrigerated it lasts about a week, and frozen about a month.

  • 1 packet of yeast or pinch of sourdough starter

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Make your dough, knead a little let rise for at least 30 min in a warm place or until it doubles, much more time is often required to rise for sourdough. Break dough into balls about 2-3 inches diameter, dip dough ball into a bag of dry flour to coat it, flatten into pita dough disks about 5-7 inches by 1/4 inch thick and allow to rest for at 10 minutes if you have the time. Lightly press down your disc of floured dough onto the hot surface, it might stick at first but will be easily flippable in about a minute or two, flip so both sides go about twice, you will need to practice to get perfect the timing, making the dough disks, and temperature to make this tasty flat bread, a little burning on the outside is normal. You will need to re-season the inside of the wok or cast iron pan after using this method, stainless steel will require quite a bit of scouring, so maybe a second pan for pita is a good idea. You can also try using a bare hot plate or griddle. If you are using an oven bake at 200C(400F), but the results will not be as good as a pan or wok. If you have no time you can mix a dough without yeast and cook in the same way but it will be tougher and not as fluffy.


Pita is usually dipped in olive oil and hummus. Soaked overnight and boiled the drained and now soft garbanzo beans (also called "chickpeas") are mashed into a paste with raw garlic, pepper, lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil (really any bean and oil should work to some degree). This adds healthy lipids and protein to your diet when dipped or spread onto your pita or bread. Together pita and hummus is a complete nutrition food. Our best pita requites a sharp knife to cut open the pocket for sandwiches unlike the nasty fake pita found in Amerikan supermarkets.

Native Fry Bread (Aka: Bannock, A Canadian First Nations Staple)

A quick favorite with many once migratory first nations of occupied North America. A large egg sized piece of dough pressed or stretched thin is fried in a few tablespoons of oil in a pan, poke a hole about half an inch (13mm) in the center. Flip your disc with a fork or stick through the hole when you see bubbles forming on the back, watch that you don't overheat the oil. Good with honey or cinnamon and sugar. Use punched down bread dough or this mix:

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup warm water

  • Sugar as desired

A good thing about frying in oil is that it adds a lot of calories and will help keep you warm in cold weather as it digests. The USDA states that a plate of fry bread has 700 calories and 27 grams of fat.

At many Native American festivals, a popular dish often sold to the tourists is a "Navajo Taco" which is fry bread served with beans, lettuce, shredded tomatoes and sour cream.

http://wiki.stealthiswiki.org/wiki/Roadside-Chow 9/13

Fry bread recipes vary from nation to nation. A number of different fry bread recipes can be found here; http://www.manataka.org/page180.html

French Toast

Get fresh or stale bread and slice it up. Scramble your eggs, stretch your egg supply and make it taste better by mixing in 1/4 cup milk or water for every egg, experiment depending on what you have available. Sweeten with sugar and spice or vanilla added to the egg mix if you don't have syrup. Dip bread in the egg mix both sides and fry in a pan with oil or butter.

(In case you wonder about the name, it has nothing to do with France. The dish was invented in 1724 by an Albany NY cook named Joseph French. Somewhere along the way "French's Toast" became "French Toast".)

Upside-Down Cake

Rub a clean can, fry pan, or pot with oil if you have enough to prevent the cooking fruit from sticking, oiled aluminum foil or baking sheet will work too. Start by simmering fresh fruit or berries in a little water or just pour canned fruit and syrup into your pan or a clean can. Once the fruit is simmering pour cake batter no thicker than two inches on top and cover. Poking the cake with a clean sharpened stick or toothpick is a good way to see if it is done, often 15-40 min (depending on stove, fruit mix syrup, and cake type), if the toothpick comes out clean take your upside-down cake off of the fire. You can run a knife around the edge of a pot or can to unstick the cake and quickly flip the pot or can onto a plate, if done right the cake topped with fruit will come out together neatly onto the plate. You can cook this in a can or fry pan over a campfire because the steam from the simmering fruit cooks the cake above. With practice you will be able to figure the optimum cake batter and fruit syrup thickness as well as heat and time needed to get the cake done without burning the fruit.

Easy One Bowl Generic Cake

Add ingredients to a bowl in this order

  • 1 cup - flour

  • 1/2 tsp - baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp - baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp - salt

  • 1/3 cup - sugar (with baking cocoa you need 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa)

  • 1/4 cup - oil or veggie shortening

  • 3/4 cup - milk or water

  • 1 - egg (or mix 2 Tablespoons of powdered whole egg with 4 Tablespoons of water)

Mix until even and bake 20 min 180C or use our creative cooking methods, add whatever you like for flavor like spice chocolate chips or berries.

Travel Food Planning

Camping-store-bought freeze-dried food is too expensive to be of any use for sustenance. With a little thought and ingenuity, you can buy and make great light-weight camp food from a regular grocery store's stock and dumpster diving. Use the calorie information available in diet books or container labels to plan a meal; you need to be sure to have enough protein, fiber, and vitamins every day. Have a written meal plan that will meet your daily needs; marking and packing all of the ingredients for a meal in a heavy duty Ziploc or vacuum pack/seal bag makes it easier to prep a quick meal. Your goal when on the move or working is to consume 3000-4000 Calories per day in summer and up to 6000 in high mountain/winter. Our experience with most backpacker and cycle camping newbies is that they underestimate their hunger when planning sometimes as badly as a factor of three or four. It's OK to pack too much food, especially stuff for fatty recipes that contain oil, butter, or margerine which are full of calories and make you feel full.

Cheap Backpacker Chow

Try these ideas instead of the expensive camp store foods:

  • Boxed noodles and sauce or macaroni and cheese

  • Parmesan cheese block or powder (for cheese sauces and topping)

  • Instant rice

  • Dry Pasta

  • Tomato sauce for soups or sauces

  • Oven dried veggies (for soup and stews)

  • Oatmeal flakes (running it for a few seconds dry in a bladed food processor makes it "instant")

  • Dried fruits and raisins

  • Wheat germ (can be added to cereals or used as a ground meat extender)

  • Heavy Filling Cereals (i.e. Grapenuts)

  • Powdered milk (reconstitute in a squirt bottle)

  • Powdered egg mix (be sure to carry hot sauce)

  • Dry cereal

  • Cookies, Brownies and Energy Bars

  • Oven dried and cured meat strips (hard jerky) for snack or soup

  • Our Biscuit mix for simple cakes, pancakes, and biscuits

  • Oil or shortening for frying and margarine substitute (A gulp of oil before bed will raise your body temperature as you digest, if you can stand it. Flaxseed oil is rich in Omega-3's.)

  • Spices, condiments, and sauces

  • Powdered soup base or bouillon cubes

  • Chicken, Tuna or other fish sold packed in Mylar pouches

  • Instant potato flakes

  • Dried mushrooms (like Portabello or Shitake, buy fresh and allow to dry in a paper bag for a few weeks for soups)

  • Hot cocoa powder

  • Liberated MRE Meal Pouches & Components

  • Hardtack

  • Honey

  • Molasses (Sweetener, Decaf Coffee Substitute)

  • Instant Coffee & Tea

  • Beans and TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) Meat Substitutes

It is amazing what kinds of fun dishes you can whip up in the woods or a vacant lot, when you are stopped for a few days, or when you have the time and energy. Just be sure that you have something bonehead easy and fast to prepare or better yet ready to eat, for when you set up camp after a hard day of hiking. Vegans need to pay special attention to their diet planning especially to their fat and protein intake when on the move, most of their meals are naturally much less fatty than the average Amerikans, although most good camping foods that are non-perishable are mainly animal-free, make sure enough fat in the form of oil and margarine etc is eaten and beans and TVP (soya chunks) are lightweight and packed with protein.

Keep all food and dirty pans and utensils away from the tent and out of your pack; a hang bag cache thrown over a tree limb will keep most animals out of the food. Bear-safes are required in some places but are heavy. Even if bears are not a problem, smaller animals can wreck your gear trying to get the food. Wash dishes away from camp and at least 150-200 feet from the nearest body of water (assuming you use some sort of cleaning product. We don't want that stuff leaching into streams!)


Hardtack is little more than a large cracker that, if kept dry, could stay edible for months, perhaps years. It's broken and mixed with some liquid (hot water, broth, etc.) to make a porridge, or to thicken soups or stews. If you make enough in advance, it can be eaten on the march or at camp. Hardtack has been known as "sheet metal" or "molar breakers" because it is very hard and dense, so don't try to eat it like a regular saltine. A recipe from the WikiMedia Cookbook follows:

  • 2 cups of flour

  • 1/2 to 1/4 cup water

  • 6 pinches of salt

  • 1 tablespoon of shortening (optional, feels more filling and adds calories)

1. Mix all the ingredients into a batter and press onto a cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/2 inch.

2. Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F (205°C) for one hour.

3. Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes per row into the dough (a fork works nicely).

4. Flip the crackers and return to the oven for another half hour.


Sprout beans and raw (unroasted) seeds like wheat, corn, alfalfa, bean, lentil, sunflower, etc., by soaking them overnight in a plastic or glass jar. After soaking them, use a rubber band to secure a bandanna or piece of tent screen to the top of the jar. Rinse and drain the seeds daily and carry the jar in the bottom of your pack. The seeds should sprout in a day or two. Use in soup, pulped in breads, salads or just eat them raw. It is a very nutritious food including sometimes difficult to obtain vitamins. Think of this as an easy way to pocket garden even while traveling.

Cereal Without A Bowl

When you are on the road long haul and you need to make a quick stop for breakfast skip the convenience store and instead hit the grocery store. Pick up a quart of milk and a full size box of cereal. You can either shake the cereal dry into your mouth or grab handfulls of your bachelor-chow and stuff them in, take a sip of milk to wet everything down, chew, swallow repeat. Cereal without bowl or spoon.

DIY MRE (home made storable pouch meals)

One of our research cells recently informed us of a new development, home made MRE's! These can be prepared most easily by a kitchen equipped support cell that has also acquired a pressure canner, similar to a pressure cooker but with a pressure gauge, a supply of microwave safe sealer bags(these have less problems when heated), and a vacuum sealer. This activist ration is intended as grab and go field meals for activists and storable emergency relief supplies for sudden or extended demonstrations and events where food and water supplies are running thin or might be cut off. The goal is 1500 calories per pouch split so about 50% of calories come from carbohydrates, 30% from fats, and 20% from protein. The outer pouch is recycled newspaper or cardboard, one problem is it tends to get wet and heavy if rained on, one green solution was to wrap in a recycled plastic sack, another problem is the price and disposal of the plastic sealer pouches, our research team pointed out that the waste was still less of a problem than metal cans or most packaged supermarket foods. The largest concern is keeping the price down, the best solution is to package and seal only what is available from the dumpster divers, sales, or from cooked grains and legumes, this makes the sealer bags the only fixed price supplies. The storage life is expected to be similar to that canned food, but is currently untested. Part of the team is still producing these meals and they are now currently squatting a building in the northeastern US but may go back west soon. While some meals are shared at events to build interest most are given to underground groups to stock hideouts.

Our techs prepared several different home made stews, non-crispy Asian stir fry dishes, fruit preserves, peanut butter, tamales, humus, and fresh vegetables then sealed them into microwave safe food sealer bags either vacuum sealing them or just sealing the bag with an iron pressed over a sheet of baking paper. If the dish would tolerate it citric acid was added to preserve the food nutrition in a natural way. Several pouches at a time were loaded into racks inside a pressure cooker set to 15 PSI and the meals were cooked for 30 minutes once full pressure was reached, the canner had to be monitored though to keep the pressure valve from releasing as this would often explode all of the pouches inside wasting the contents. It is important that the pressure cooker not be allowed to fully valve, instead as the pressure built up close to a release cold water was trickled ont the cooker, it was also important that there be no air inside the bag and to allow full natural cooling before opening the cooker to prevent blowing the bags. Our team reminded the support teams that attention should be paid to use of spices as it was expected that with long storage some of the natural flavor would be lost. The intention is that hot meals could be eaten cold or warmed from body heat in an emergency, but normally cooked in boiling water, foil wrapped and wired down to a hot car engine, foil wrapped near a campfire, even solar cooked on hot summer blacktop.

To complete these pressure cooked main meals other pouched foods and an accessory packets were also sealed inside a recycled box cardboard or five ply wheat-glue laminated newspaper carry pouch to both protect the sealed food pouches from damage and to block sunlight which might otherwise degrade the foods, the carton could be used as cooking fuel or recycled. Passover matza sheets were found to be the strongest and most vacuum packagable bread substitute (found in the Jewish food sections of some grocery stores) although hardtack may be tested in the next run. Other inclusions in some or all packs were vitamins, matches, aluminium foil and thin wire for improvised heating, several sheets of folded toilet paper, a spoon, energy bar, lemon poppy pound cake, honey, hot peppers, black pepper, salt, tea bags, freeze dry or vacuum sealed ground coffee, powdered milk, sugar, sweetened cocoa powder, vacuum packed parmesan cheese, soy sauce packets, chewing gum, nuts, dried fruit, some pouches were specially marked and had a maxi pad or tampon.

A cool inclusion in the in the experimental meal run is a useful prize. Prizes included chalk, a crayon, several pages of post-it notes, an adhesive bandage and antibiotic ointment, shoe or boot laces, tiny first aid books, condoms, cheap LED lights, seeds, needle and thread, and other cool tiny stuff that the team had around, AA and AAA batteries were considered very useful prizes but decided against because of their weight.

The research team had considering exploring a pouched ultra light dry menu which can either be eaten dry or prepared instantly with hot water although for now they feel there are already enough choices for an activist to acquire at most supermarkets or camping stores. The one exception mentioned was to test at a later date steam converting raw green lentils and brown rice inside a pressure cooker for one hour into something that when dry could be vacuum pouched with a good soup or spice mix into a instant nutritious just-add-boiling-water meal.

Look for activist teams arriving at events soon with these underground production storable travel meals.