In an earlier post we looked at some of the gear you’ll need to take to head for the hills in New Zealand – in this post we’re going to look at some of the food that you might like to take along to eat.
Tramping (ie hiking) cookery has always been a fine art, chiefly because you’re trying to trade taste off against weight. In other words, it’s tempting to just take 2 minute noodles for every meal, although they probably won’t taste very nice; it’s also tempting to take an espresso machine and a generator, although they’re probably going to be unfeasbily heavy.
Personally, I’ve spent time in both camps: having once esteemed lightness-at-the-expense-of-taste, I now adhere to taste-at-the-expense-of-lightness – depending on the length of the trip, of course. But you can still eat nourishingly either way, so in this short article I’ll give you a brief idea of what you can expect from both schools of thought.
Light. For a light and energetic breakfast, it’s impossible to go past a One Square Meal or two – they’re healthy, nutritious, filling and rectangular. They come in Cranberry and Apricot, but I prefer the Cranberry ones. No dishes to do, and you can be out the door in minutes!
Tasty. If you like a cooked breakfast, you might want to take some lean bacon, a couple of eggs, a tomato and some mushrooms. You could also consider taking some refried beans to heat up, or if there’s any potato/kumara mash left over from the night before (see below), then you can fry them up as potato cakes.
Light. To be honest, it’s pretty hard to go past a couple of One Square Meals for a light energetic lunch as well. For a little more variety, you might like to throw in a few crackers and some honey, but don’t bring too much – one box of Vita-Weat could last a person four to five days, and a little 250g tub of honey could easily last a week.
Tasty. For me, the light lunch described above is pretty tasty anyway, but you might also like to take some fresh fruit and maybe a little salami. Or, make some sandwiches the day before with whatever’s healthy that comes readily to hand.
Light. If you want to eat a lightweight dinner, then you’ll need to involve either pasta, rice or couscous. Couscous gets my pick, since it’s perhaps the easiest to cook food known to man, healthy and nourishing. What you put on it is a matter of taste – but realistically, if you want to keep the weight down then you’re probably looking at a bag/can of tuna in a flavoured sauce. I’m sorry. But at least you can have some dark chocolate for dessert.
Tasty. All food tastes better in the wilderness after a day of walking, so why not go the extra mile and cook something that would taste good anywhere? Once you try it, you’ll never go back.
So take a nice steak and a sausage or two from a good butcher, some seasoning, capsicum, mushroom, onion and garlic. Boil up some potatoes and kumara and later add some cheese or spring onion for some potato/kumara mash – and if there’s any left over you can have it for breakfast the next morning. Take a bottle of wine and some more nice cheese.
For dessert, let your imagination roam free – last time I went we took a pavlova base, some lemon curd and a bottle of cream. Poached pears perhaps? And don’t forget the dark chocolate!
And finally, you’ll also want to take some extra muesli bars and scroggin for snacks along the way. Also always take some extra food in case of an emergency – a few packs of 2 minute noodles and some extra muesli bars will weigh almost nothing, but could just save your life.
And don’t forget to take lots of water – 2 litres or more per person.
So enjoy! In a future article we’ll look at some of the logistical steps you’ll need to take for organising your energetic relaxing weekend away.
Image: Sam Alexander