It Always Tastes Better… Or, How Sweet It Is? - The Well Travelled Spatula Blog at - 262089

The Well Travelled Spatula

It Always Tastes Better… or, How Sweet It Is? 
Dec. 26, 2011 5:14 pm 
Updated: Dec. 29, 2011 2:04 pm

Food always tastes better when you are camping.  Why?  This has been the new riddle as we embark upon our new voyage of caravanning.

For most people, I know that camp chow means simple – beans and wieners, made-ahead casseroles, and quick-fix meals with few ingredients.  But, alas, we are not most people, and while we enjoy the simplicity of camping, we do not compromise on our meals.  My travelling spice box contains about 50 packets of everything you can imagine, from cardamom pods to whole nutmeg!  You just never know when you might need something!
At ‘home’ we cook up great feasts, every night, using every pot, pan, plate and implement available; messing up the counter top, stove top and every other surface imaginable.  As I’ve written in the past, the meal is always commendable – usually fantastic, occasionally not so much, but always edible, always fun, and always messy.
So, now we are hitting the road in our cherished little British Caravan, Bertha.  “Camping’” means we have cable TV, WiFi Internet, a gas oven and stove, a small fridge and a very small kitchen area, not to mention a BBQ and large outside prep area, and most campgrounds have well-fitted communal kitchens with everything else you could possibly need.

Glentanner Park near Mount Cook

The Camp Kitchen -- Note the Christmas Tree next to the coffee pot!

So, EVERY meal we have enjoyed in our sweet Bertha has been stellar – I mean 5 star, exceptional, craving for more, darned good food.  Whether it has been simply marinated steaks, lamb chops, or grilled salmon fillets…  Just the best!  And, while the BBQ’d treats have been awesome, the stuff we’ve roasted in the communal kitchens’ ovens have been noteworthy, as well.  Go figure?!
And, then there is the clean up.  On the road, everything goes into the orange ‘sink bin’ and gets done when it’s convenient – tonight, in the morning or whenever.  But, there is never that much…  Our two plates, utensils, a serving platter or two, maybe a pot from the potatoes or the rice cooker bowl…  Just never as much as from the kitchen at home. A disposable wipe (I only use them when camping) and the surfaces are sparkly again.  Hmmm… makes me wonder.  Do we over-think or overdo our ‘home’ meals and go more ‘simple’ on the road?

Mount Cook Salmon!

Majestic Mount Cook

Russell Lupines are Everywhere this time of year...

So, what makes food on the road taste SO good?  Are we that much more relaxed?  Is it simpler? Are we planning our meals better?  We are taking advantage of local produce on the road, but we tend to do that at home, too. Or, are we just so happy to be celebrating a stress free life?
So, what is that special ingredient that turns every day food into the food of the Gods and makes it a memory to be treasured, no matter how simple?  Is it the spice of life, the simplicity of being, the sharing of a meal with loved one(s)?  Or, is it just knowing that the damned dishes are going to be quick and easy!!?

Hester Blumenthal Approves of our Salmon!

Dec. 26, 2011 5:37 pm
Ahhhh, a girl after my own heart! Jim and I tent camp... but just as well! We have all the conviences...especially kitchen-wise! We have our nu wave, our turkey fryer, Coleman stove, charcoal grill, electric Bunn Coffee pot, our electric heaters and our laptop! The food is always phenominal... I truly think food does taste better out of doors! Have fun... I'm a little jealous at this point!
Dec. 26, 2011 5:40 pm
Thanks, Terry! We have been having a blast!
Dec. 26, 2011 5:51 pm
I have some MRE's from Sure-Pak I need to Use before they expire.
Dec. 26, 2011 6:38 pm
Looks like you're having a grand adventure!
Dec. 26, 2011 6:45 pm
Ha ha! King Sparta! You certainly don't want stale MRE's!
Dec. 26, 2011 6:46 pm
MB -- grand is a good word! Thanks!
Dec. 26, 2011 6:59 pm
LAURIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So good to see you! I would love to sample your salmon - it looks wonderful! Merry Christmas!
Dec. 26, 2011 7:16 pm
Ahhh - I am so with you - on a different Continent but right there - eating great food in the great outdoors is the best. Yes - camping food tastes different. It is amazing what can fit into that little refrigerator. I insist on eating outdoors unless the weather just can't be tolerated. I love the whole package. Enjoy every moment and every meal.
Dec. 26, 2011 7:49 pm
BARB! Great to see you, too. The Man grilled the salmon, and it was exquisite!!! The wine wasn't bad, either!
Dec. 26, 2011 7:51 pm
Hi, B'Nana! Thanks for your input! We usually try to eat outside, too, but one thing I didn't mention about Mount Cook is SANDFLIES, and they seem to think everything, including me, tastes better outdoors, too!
Dec. 26, 2011 10:59 pm
I'm not sure if you can explain it. Things really do taste better. Strange thing is I remember cigarettes tasting better too. Mind you I haven't smoked for 35 yrs. and only did for 2. Perhaps we are supposed to be connected to the air and the land and not so much enclosed in the way we live. We have changed so many things in the last few hundred years and our bodies don't evolve quite so fast. It tastes so good because we are still partially designed to be there. Plus the less stress factor! When my family lived in the mountains it was magic to step on the porch and see the milky way most nights. Nothing to interfere so much. Wowee wow! Salmon like that! And you have a land yacht too!!!?
Dec. 27, 2011 4:24 am
My DH isn't willing to go camping! I'm glad you are getting to enjoy it! You have beautiful to scenery to take in!
Dec. 27, 2011 4:24 am
Biting critters really take the fun out of the great outdoors. We once went to Kings Canyon, absolutely beautiful. Except the critters were hungry and glad to see us. Even lady bugs would bite! No Baking Papa couldn't even step outside without being covered in bug spray. Biting critters always like him best.
Dec. 27, 2011 7:00 am
I love camping and you are right food always taste better in the Great Outdoors! I love your photos!
Dec. 27, 2011 8:00 am
That salmon looks delish! And, yes...I so agree. Food always tastes better when your outside; even on a picnic. We don't camp much anymore, mostly picnics now. The food still tastes better. Also, couldn't help but notice you're in shorts. I keep forgetting, YOU get to celebrate Christmas in the summer. So jealous!!!
Dec. 27, 2011 12:38 pm
Hi Redly - I completely agree. Civilisation has come into being far quicker than we can keep up, and maybe that is good. It means that we can and do still enjoy the simple things in life. I'm all for mod cons and such, but it will be a sad day when we don't appreciate the beauty of nautre.
Dec. 27, 2011 12:40 pm
Sueb, thanks! We've been here almost 10 years and have seen quite a few places, but this style of travelling has really opened our eyes up to some of the off the track places, and it is just gorgeous.
Dec. 27, 2011 12:42 pm
B'nana, I am like NBP -- if there is a blood sucker around, I'm in for it. I can always tell if the dog has fleas, because I get bitten! LOL!
Dec. 27, 2011 12:43 pm
Thanks, Lela! I'm glad you agree!
Dec. 27, 2011 12:46 pm
Hi Candice! We've enjoyed some great picnics, too. Yes, it is summer here, but I do think I prefer it the other way around -- it just doesn't feel right, plus winter Christmas helps break up the dreariness of winter.
Dec. 27, 2011 1:12 pm
Heavens, I guess you would need a glass of wine after catching that HUGE fish! I wonder if it is because you're in the fresh air so much that it wakes up your tastebuds so they can be even more delighted with your fare then when at home? BTW, I'll exchange my dreariness of winter with your dreary looking winter scene :)(:
Dec. 27, 2011 3:14 pm
Hee, hee!!! Gotcha, Cat! That 'salmon' I'm 'holding' is a taxidermied one at the salmon farm!!!
Dec. 27, 2011 8:08 pm
You can have the wine (= As site designated driver, the only wine I get close to has an "h" in it (= ["whine"] But that salmon - mmmmmmm-mmmmmmmmmmmmm!
Dec. 28, 2011 5:31 am
WELL, thank goodness! I was really getting envious! Thinking not only are your culinary skills wicked but quite the fish wrangler you are! And geez, the salmon I find here are no where near that size :)(:
Dec. 28, 2011 7:50 am
I'm so envious. We went camping a lot when I was a kid, and I always loved it. I haven't been camping in years, but I keep telling my husband we need to buy a tent and start going. The food looks yummy, and the scenery is beautiful. It doesn't get much better than that. Enjoy!
Dec. 28, 2011 12:20 pm
Hi Barb! You can have extra salmon since you are driving!
Dec. 28, 2011 12:21 pm
Cat, I've got a lot to learn when it comes to fishing, but that is my next challenge!
Dec. 28, 2011 12:23 pm
wisweetp, I think I am having a sort of a second childhood. My family did not camp and I only went a few times with friends, so this is an exciting new discovery for me!
Dec. 28, 2011 1:53 pm
I'm not big into camping, but I agree that anything eaten out doors seems to taste better. We often picnic on the beach and even the addition of sand is no deterrent. I think the combination of fresh air and glorious surroundings perk up the tastebuds.
Dec. 28, 2011 2:38 pm
Neiner, neiner! I got the DH on the fish pic too!!! Didn't tell him it's stuffed and not in a good way :)(: The DH now understands that I am not as measurement challenged as he once thought. He does agree your caravan could fit into ours :)(:
Dec. 28, 2011 4:27 pm
Dang Laurie! Did you yank that salmon off somebody's wall???? Funny girl! I totally agree that 'outdoor' food tastes better, especially if I had nothing to do with the cooking! Happy New Year!
Dec. 28, 2011 5:19 pm
oh wow here I am in ab canada and I am so jealous, we are in snow and you are in flowers? I wish...
Dec. 28, 2011 11:25 pm
BSM, maybe it is that extra bit of 'roughage' and protein' we are not aware of that ads the 'special' flavor! Certainly, fresh air makes a huge difference! Thanks!
Dec. 28, 2011 11:27 pm
Ha, ha, Cat -- you know where I got the bean and weaners comment from! And, you should'a seen the one that got away!
Dec. 28, 2011 11:29 pm
Wyattdogster -- indeed, he is the record champ for the area! Happy New Year to you, and I look forward to new puppy pics at the right time!
Dec. 28, 2011 11:30 pm
Don't worry, Morninggold -- the seasons will flip as soon as you know it -- seems like just last week we were in winter!
Dec. 29, 2011 2:04 pm
LOLOL! I wondered about that. You know where he got that from? Top Gear having a caravan holiday and burning down 2 caravans trying to fix a pot of them. Just love the BBC :)(:
Click to Change your Profile Picture
Good EatNZ

Home Town
Yuba City, California, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2009

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Gourmet

Needlepoint, Gardening, Wine Tasting

Subscribe Today!

In Season

French Toast
French Toast

French toast is such a perfect breakfast, light lunch, or even supper on these warm days.

Crisp Cucumber Salads
Crisp Cucumber Salads

Try one of our 100-plus cool cucumber salads.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

About Me
As a Californian, now living in New Zealand with 20 odd years spent in the Caribbean in between, my cooking style has had a lot of different influences. After several years in other businesses, we finally came to NZ 9 years ago, and with no experience other than eating in a lot of them, we opened a cafe! Our friends thought we were nuts, and in retrospect, we were. We have now sold that business and are trying to figure out what to do next! Watch this space...
My favorite things to cook
I love to play with Asian inspired marinades/ingredients - getting the blance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy just right. I also seem to be drawn to fiddly foods -- home-made pastas, tortillas, filled won tons and grape leaves.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother loved Mexican food, and definately passed the taste on to me. I always loved my mom's enchiladas and tacos, and often whip up something like that quick for dinner. When I have more time, I make home-made Tamales. It's time consuming, but worth it. We have a hard time getting decent whole roasting turkeys here in NZ, but there is nothing like spending a day preparing 'the works' for a holiday dinner.
My cooking triumphs
I recently catered for a group of 18 - 22 for 18 days straight. I had prep support from the cafe (they were able to make all the cookies, muffins, cakes, etc) but I single-handedly managed all the main dishes, plus the organization and ordering supplies. The group was so impressed they gave me a gift certificate and I had a real Sally Fields' moment: They like me! They really like me!
My cooking tragedies
Serving things at dinner parties, not realizing that they weren't things that everyone liked or had tasted before. I was shocked when an important client turned up for the lovely roast lamb and said he had never eaten lamb before! Corned Beef was another one.
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States