Monday, August 1, 2011

Cooking With Gas

Our little solar panel isn’t the only new toy we have. One night in Barcelona we decided to go for a ride to the Carrefour supermarket down the road just to have a nosey. Despite the fact it took us an hour to get home in the dark thanks to one wrong turn and outer-Barcelona’s insanely illogical highway system, the trip proved rather fruitful because we bought ourselves a kitchen.

OK, not a kitchen, but as much of one as can fit on the bike – and even then we weren’t sure it would. We bought a little gas cooker - I think they’re called Billy’s? – for 12 Euro, a gas canister for 2.50 and a saucepan for 5 Euro. 7 weeks in and we had never had any way of cooking at camp. We ate cereal and long-life milk for breakfast (long-life milk takes up a whole aisle here while fresh milk a tiny shelf in the deli), patisserie food or homemade baguettes for lunch, and takeaways or restaurant meals for dinner. We never blew our food budget, but we had to go out and about for a morning coffee and we started to actually miss making food for ourselves. If you told be 2 months ago that the novelty of eating out for every meal would wear off I’d never have believed you.

We bought pasta snacks, coffee and Colacao (Spains version of milo, I’m addicted) on that first trip and sitting down to a hot drink in our own tent was… bliss.

Needless to say, with a little rearranging the Billy fit on the bike (with it’s spiky element sticking up out of the bag) and the saucepan too, stuffed in and around clothes in one of our panniers. Since we first got it, we’ve had the luxury of a fridge at camp and so we’ve expanded our repertoire to hamburgers, sausages, steaks, fried and scrambled eggs, and mashed potato (the just add water and milk kind out of a packet, we didn’t go out and buy potatoes!).

The little Billy has earned its keep, saving us plenty of money and making us plenty happy. When it rained a few days after we got it, I was able to have cookies dipped in hot chocolate – my favourite comfort food ever. Courtney’s very happy to be cooking his steaks every night, and sitting down with an ebook and a beer (thanks to the aforementioned fridge) to enjoy them. We would never have got Billy over here on the plane, and we survived well without him, but he’s part of the family now and we will be sad to leave him behind in 8 weeks time.

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