You’re A Spaghetti
Whoever prepares six months of food for themselves all at one time? Maybe astronauts do. Maybe people who can all their spring and fall harvest in preparation for the winter do. Maybe squirrels work hard all Summer to hide their acorns so they will have sustenance when they need it. Maybe long distance backpackers do. I am definitely preparing to have food, the best I can offermyself, readily available for myself along this journey. I really hope that all the efforts I am putting forth right now pays off. How could it not you may ask? It could be moldy. It could taste crappy. It could get lost in the mail. It could take 4 hours to rehydrate when I need to eat now and I would be forced to eat yet more handfuls of nuts. On the other hand, it could all turn out fantastic. And that is why I am doing this. Well, the why has more to do with how central food is to me in my life. I am really feeling the pulse of that right now. Every day I am shopping for fresh vegetables that look good for steaming and dehydrating, choosing some sort of item to put in the dehydrator and selecting store bought snacks that will be nutritious, pack well and also have some culinary gusto. I am almost on the verge of needing a break from all this, yet I think I need to just keep plodding along.
How much food is six months of food anyway? Nobody ever looks at it all at one time. Plus, I have no idea how much will be enough. Here at home, I eat very well, but I am lean. I am a vegetarian for the most part, eating seafood maybe once a month and I eat yogurt and eggs and occasionally cheese. So, in my planning for backpacking food, I am putting a lot of effort forth in preparing meals that are balanced with carbohydrates and plenty of protein. What about the fat? I have 20 jars of various kinds of nut butters on deck, flavors like cocoa almond, gingerbread or pumpkin spice peanut butters, peanut coconut spread, raw almond butter, mighty maple peanut butters and sunflower butter. How do I know I won’t sit and eat an entire jar in one sitting when I get my resupply? Then what will I do the rest of the next 8 days? Maybe 20 jars is not enough, perhaps I need 25 or 30? However, what I am also doing is planning on a variety of foods. I have soy jerkey flavored like curry chicken, black pepper and teriyaki. I’ve got chili spiced dried mangoes, Falafel flavored Chickpea snacks, salted pepitas and mixed salted nuts, not to mention chocolate. Plenty of dark chocolate.
I am baking an assortment of what I like to call Superhero Power Cookies. Don’t steal my name, I might make my own company someday catering to backpackers and runners. The superhero and power part of the cookies has to do with the superfood types of ingredients which make you feel like you can scale tall buildings in a single bound. They are quite fun, actually and do a nice job filling your belly for a while. They are “gluten free” not because I am gluten intolerant, but I just prefer flour and other grains to wheat, especially almond meal. It honestly does make a difference in how I feel. So the flour blend I am using is something like this: almond meal, flaxseed mean, oat flour, sorghum flour, coconut flour and whole raw oats. I finally found a blend that delivers a good consistency. Whether this is repeatable is still subject to trial and error. My first batch had way too much flaxseed meal in them, and while the flavor turned out nice, they were so crispy and flat, more like an oily cracker. Great on the digestive system, although, cleans you right out. Can be good and bad out on the trail. Perhaps something a little more binding would be better? I’ve made variations on flavor profiles such as Spirulina, Vanilla, Goji, Chocolate Chip (that’s one) or Maca, Lucuma, Cinnamon, Oat, Hemp Seed, Goji Berry, or Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Maca, Walnut, Goji Berry. I see no reason not to include Goji Berries in all cookies. In Chinese Materia Medica, they are called gou qi zi and are touted with many wonderful medicinal properties. Yes, they are a superfood, a term coined my the milti-million dollar neutraceutical and health-food industries, and for good reason, but these berries have been in use for thousands of years, and for me, I had to memorize a bunch of information about them and take tests on it in acupuncture school, so they have a special place in my heart. Plus, I can get them in the bulk bins at Mother’s for a decent price. I don’t feel like driving all the way to the Asian markets where they are much cheaper, and with a more questionable quality and sourcing, so Mother’s I trust and Mother’s it is.
Well, I have not even broached the subjects of the actual meals, such as dinners, which I have been preparing, so here are a few: Vegetarian Six bean spicy chocolate Chili with corn, Quinoa with curried vegetables and crumbled tofu. Brown Rice with garlic, basil eggplant and a crumbled nut burger, home made black beans with coconut rice, and curry lentil soup with carrots and quinoa. These are just a few that I have made thus far, and I am supplementing these with store bough meals like mac & cheese. However, I will say this. The mac & Cheeses I buy are made with Lentil and Quinoa flours for the pastas and one box can pack a whopping 600 calories. I have also procured for myself dehydrated butter powder and dehydrated coconut milk powder to supplement my meals with additional calories and fat. I have Organic Ramen Noodles and dehydrated ground Dulse seaweed to which I can add broccoli and carrots, and any protein I have laying around. If I can get some dehydrated tofu from the Asian market at some point, I will pick some up. My attempts at dehydrating cubes of tofu were futile. A wonderful discovery a few years back was black bean spaghetti. One single serving of these noodles contains 25 grams of protein! They cook super easy out in the field. Despite massive attempts for my culinary friends to procure dehydrated tomato powder for me to make spaghetti sauce out on the trail, they were not able to get it in time for my departure. Thus, I am using packets of Organic Alfredo Sauce powder Pesto Powder with Trader Joe’s dehydrated sun dried tomatoes and I will have a small supply of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I was in the market one day, and sometimes while shopping, if you are not in a hurry, you catch snippets of conversations from other people. Sometimes they make you laugh, sometimes they are from little kids. One of my favorites was two children, about 4 years old, bickered with each other while standing in line with Mom at the check out counter. Their entire exchange was “Your’re a spaghetti…..NO, You’re a spaghetti !!”