There are at least 3 approaches to food among RVers. One is, “God forbid you should ever cook in the RV!” This is usually followed by a number of reasons: it smells up the RV and you can never get it out; I’m on vacation when I’m in the RV and I don’t cook on vacation; I don’t like the stove/refrigerator/freezer/whatever in the RV. You see the pattern. Any excuse will do, but the bottom line is, we’re going out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Then there are the people who eat breakfast and/or lunch in the RV but go out to dinner. They usually justify it because they have been SO good and have eaten two whole meals in the RV.
The third group are the ones who do cook regularly in the RV, and a subset of this are those who cook most of the time. We belong in the very last group, and a main reason why isn’t financial. It’s because we like our own cooking better than most restaurants. We do look for those unique restaurants along our route, the places that serve the best pie in the state or are known for their pulled pork. And when we pull up to a restaurant on a rainy day and there is a line of people standing outside in the rain, waiting to get in, we know we have hit the jackpot. But just as valuable is the sad looking house in the small town with the café sign out front that turns out to serve the best breakfast we’ve had in years, with mapley bacon and eggs fried just right and wonderful toast and the home fries that you requested crisp and the bacon you wanted crisp really are!
When we travel without the RV, one of the main to do items on our ‘getting ready to go’ list is ‘clean out the refrigerator’. No such thing on our RV to do list. We just pile it all into the cooler and transfer it to the RV refrigerator. We also take along 3 bins of canned and dried goods to sustain us. But don’t get the wrong impression; we make lots of stops at grocery stores along the way. We love to explore the unique items in each area. In Amish Pennsylvania we discovered rice chips that were blown out of a machine. In Louisiana we love Rouse’s grocery stores, where we have found unbelievably low prices on fresh gulf shrimp. In Maine they sell lobster rolls in the grocery stores. For us a grocery stop isn’t an in and out experience; we have to explore each aisle and come out with at least one thing we’ve never tried before.
So what do we make? We don’t carry a crock-pot, although we know a lot of people who do. We do carry a cast iron frying pan, and we know many who do not. We have a microwave that triples as a convection oven and a broiler, but we use it mainly to store fruits and tomatoes during the day’s travels and to microwave leftovers for lunch. We use all 3 burners on our stove; in fact, one of the things keeping us from buying a newer Navion is that the new ones have a 2-burner stove. A meals is a community effort, we both work on it. We pre-cook bacon within an inch of crisp at home, pop it in the freezer, and a minute in the microwave finishes it off. We have bacon just as we like it every time. We carry lots of nuts and dried fruit and that go wonderfully in the regular oatmeal (so do chocolate chips). We eat lots of fruit in the RV, but we do at home, too.
Lunch is usually leftovers and/or cheese and crackers and/or salami and/or the perennial favorite, PB&J. Sometimes the table is so full that we can hardly find another place to put the shoestring potatoes can. At home, we (mostly first person singular) plan menus a week ahead. Not so on the road. We plan dinner by lunchtime. Some meat comes out of the freezer and defrosts in the sink as we move down the road. Whether it’s lemon chicken, tacos, or pasta, dinner is usually ready in less than half an hour. We travel with wine, either in bottles or in boxes, and usually imbibe as we are working together on dinner. Dessert is maybe a fruit salad or cooked chocolate pudding (hate the instant stuff) or an interesting sweet we have discovered that day roaming the grocery store.
So how do we find the places where we do eat out? And we do eat out. We have a collection of information on each state we are planning to travel through, and these articles frequently feature interesting restaurants. We pick up local travel guides and read about the ‘must stop’ places along the way. Or we know about some local specialty and seek out a restaurant that features it using an app on the iPhone or just our instinct.
We are explorers, so we explore roads and cities and food. Different strokes for different folks. So what’s your style?