Carolina: Cruising Past 70: WOW: Cooking (and Eating!) in an RV

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WOW: Cooking (and Eating!) in an RV

Bill likes to eat out!
The draws of campgrounds are many: activities, amenities, nearby attractions. For the Southern Trails Resort where we now are staying in Georgia, the focus is FOOD! Every Tuesday to Saturday morning we can have free all-you-can-eat fluffy pancakes for breakfast! Every Monday they rotate the following all free and all-you-can-eat treats for lunch: cheese platter and wine, sinful funnel cakes, spicy soft tacos, and fresh crisp pizzas. Every other Saturday lunch is potluck! The alternate Saturdays are free all-you-can-eat sherbet ice cream! Shared food certainly makes for a fun family atmosphere!

a Saturday lunch potluck@ Southern Trails
Challenges in RV Cooking and Eating
Thus, I am inspired and compelled to write about RV cooking and eating in this post! At 67 (Bill) and 63 (yes, we admit that we are sexygenaians), our digestive systems and metabolic rates are not quite as efficient or as high as they used to be. We are retired and, although there are a lot of fun things to do around camp, sometimes it is only food that can feed my boredom.  But we are watchful that it does not become an obsession for the consequences are, by experience and observation, usually difficult to shed!

Cooking in an RV can also be very challenging because there is naturally limited space (trust me, the microwave and oven combined in one unit can be a source of disasters and unplanned starvation!), the food supply is constantly changing (grocery outlets stock very differently across the country), and there are minimal utensils to use (you can’t really afford to keep that crepe pan, ice cream scooper, or iced tea maker!). The issues are plenty for a ‘young’ wife trying to make her man happy through his stomach! 

our spacious RV kitchen!
We have to balance healthfulness, taste, freshness, economy, convenience, and variety, all hallmark values for good nourishment.  For healthfulness, we try to reduce salt, fats, and sugar and increase fiber and manage portions. Comfort foods are increasingly becoming our favorites. However, it is quite difficult to achieve this for a couple from Kansas and the Philippines! For economy, we buy bulk to get best values but not so much as to decrease our mpg! We also watch out for farmers’ markets. So to get variety we have compiled a list of favorite dishes and divided them into two categories.

Favorite Foods
Everyday foods are those that are the easiest to prepare but are also healthy. For breakfast, our selection includes: American standards like oatmeal, cereals, grits, bagels, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal muffins, toast, banana bread, egg cups, and Filipino treats like champorado and congee.  For lunches and dinners, we choose from this list: American dishes like grilled dogs and burgers, chicken noodle soup, chicken rice, chicken n dumplings, chicken tortilla soup, chicken macaroni soup, parmesan fish, baked fish fillets, fish poached in white wine, and Filipino/Asian meals like chicken ramen soup, chicken tinola, chicken nilaga, chicken adobo, arroz caldo, Hongkong steamed fish, and fish pinangat.

our dining room...always with a view!
For company foods mean dishes for weekends, holidays, special occasions and, obviously, when we have company! Special breakfast items include hot browns, biscuits and gravy, pancakes (or waffles) and bacon, French toast, scrambled eggs or omelettes. Lunch and dinner choices are: American regulars like beef stew, pot roast, spaghetti, shepherd’s pie, roast chicken, mustard chicken, oven-baked fried chicken, roast pork, grilled pork, and pork barbeque, and Filipino/Asian selections such as bulalo, mechado, kaldereta, Hainanese chicken, chicken afritada, chicken inasal, chicken asado, and chicken teriyaki.

Side dishes for these entrees, whether every day or for company, are any of the following: baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, whole wheat tortillas or bread, or whole corn. Of course, steamed brown rice is always available. Veggies can simply be steamed broccoli, green beans, or asparagus, succotash of green peas, carrots, and whole kernel corn, or simple romaine lettuce greens with an apple cider vinegar with honey and a little mayonnaise dressing.

You will notice that there is enough variety for a 2 ½ week menu without repetition! I have a terrible time dealing with monotony (just ask Bill!). We try to limit each meal to at most 4 ounces of meat with 1 cup of steamed rice or a medium potato or a small corn or 2 slices of bread or 2 tortillas, and as much veggies as possible per person. But when there is free food like we often do here in Southern Trails, we are invited to parties, or when we visit family and friends, we eat with mucho gusto! The sad part is that we pay for it dearly after! But soon we are able to wake up and get back to reality!

he view!
10 Commandments of RV Cooking and Eating
After 2 ½ years of RVing, we have compiled the following 10 Commandments of RV Cooking and Eating: 1) cook for two meals at a time, once left-over is ok, 2) stock up on staples to get best values but just store them in very light but air tight plastic containers, 3) buy from farmers’ markets for fresh in-season produce, 4) learn about spices (plus Better-than-Bouillon) and how they can make food taste better and different but healthy, 5) prepare everything from scratch as much as possible, 6) eat small quantities but frequently , 7) use applesauce or mashed bananas instead of butter or oil for baking, 8) boil, steam, grill, or bake only, 9) drink lots of water or non-caffeine herbal teas, and 10) have the best in ambiance, outdoors when the weather is great or with a great picture window when you have to eat inside!

Hopefully there are some ideas that you can find useful from this! And, remember, don’t ever forget to have loads of fun planning meals and hunting for ingredients, to enjoy cooking and eating with your loved one, to keep healthy and sexy, and to live long and well!

Next: Keeping Georgia on My Mind!