12 January 2015

SERIES Truck Camper Life - PART 1: Can You Make Gourmet Meals In A Truck Camper

Location: Rock Creek RV Resort, Naples, FL, USA
Cooking in a 'wee' kitchen is always a bit of a challenge.  It takes imagination, organization, planning and patience.

Challenge #1 - Storing 'Stuff'.  

With a refrigerator of only 5 cu. feet (vs. your house fridge of between 18-30+ cu. feet), things must be bought in small quantities.  So, you don't buy for the week, you buy for the next day or two.  End result - a healthier lifestyle, you are always eating the freshest ingredients.  It also means less of the common fridge game "Oops Leftovers" better known as 'guess what this green fuzzy thing was'?  The downside is your costs increase and you are forced to buy the tiniest jar of mayo, pickles .... you get the picture.

Lance Truck Camper Norcold Fridge

Challenge # 2 - The Menu Plan

Step 1 - You don't make a menu plan, your plan is - buy what is freshest and entices you the most.  So, you strap on the backpack, hop on the bike (helmet on, of course) and head to the local farmers market/grocery store. 

Step 2 - Everything entices you and you buy way too much (remember you are still in home fridge mode).  So, you have to modify the plan and call in reinforcements (aka 'Crusty', aka 'my hubby', aka 'my mule').  Two backpacks, two bikes and back to LOAF.

Challenge # 3 - Prepping

I am lucky that 'Crusty' is pretty handy.  He has doubled my counter space by adding a folding table top next to the sink (on the step to the 'bedroom').  He also built me a lovely spice rack so that everything is at my fingertips (of course we live in 134 sq. ft - so everything is always at your fingertips).

Lance Truck Camper Kitchen Modification

Step 3 - get Everything you are going to need out of the fridge since my handy-dandy folding table that doubles my counter space does not allow room to open the fridge.

Step 4 - prepare all parts of the meal at once.  If you need garlic in 3 of the dishes, have the dishes ready, chop the garlic and add to each dish.  There is no room to do them one at a time.

Preparing Ahi Tuna, Fresh Corn and Prime Rib Steak in a Lance Truck Camper
Fresh, local corn,
 sushi grade Ahi Yellowfin Tuna and Grass-Fed Prime Rib Steak.

Step 5 - Clean Up.  You have to clean up after you prep, since if there are dirty dishes piled, you will have no room for the new dirty dishes that you create during the cooking/eating process.  Or more than likely, you have no dishes to eat on ... and, remember, you live in a truck camper and only own 4 plates... 

Cleaning up dishes in tiny truck camper kitchen

Have you noticed how my stove-top is also a prep area and a dish drying rack!

Challenge # 4 - Cooking

Whenever possible - cook outdoors (especially if you are cooking fish).  Remember your kitchen is right next to your bedroom .... and there are no walls!  If you must cook indoors, remember to turn on the range hood fan since your smoke detectors are inches away from the stove, a little bit of heat results in a five alarm fire (or sounds like it). We purchased a very small, Coleman BBQ (has to be small since remember you live in a truck camper - where will you store the large 3 burner gas BBQ)?  My BBQ fits nicely in a little bag and can be stored under our dining room table when we are travelling.

Step 6 - time your cook.  Thick steak on first and here's the key - make sure you have plenty of vino, close at hand.  Next tuna .... when done, let the steak, tuna rest (so tired) and cook the corn.

Cooking steak and tuna on Fold and Go Coleman grill

Grilling Corn on the Cob on Coleman Fold and Go Grill

Step 7 - Enjoy!

Eating grilled steak, Corn and tuna in a Lance Truck Camper

Challenge # 5 - Leftovers!

Try and find some imaginative use for the leftovers so that they don't join the fridge game (see Challenge # 1).  Add some fresh veggies and repeat all previous challenges.  Don't forget to sip some vino while you are thinking of leftover use.

Grilling Vegetable Shish Kebabs

Life may be a bit of a challenge living in a truck camper, but the end result is all good.  And YES you can cook a gourmet meal in a truck camper.

Wry Reporting ...

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty