Food for a fix
There is more to quickly silencing grumbling tummies (and mouths) in the bush than two-minute noodles and a tin of meatballs-and-spaghetti.
There is no excuse for choosing mates with a predilection for travelling 10 000 km in eight days. After all, unlike your family you actually get to choose your friends.
You will pay for succumbing to this oversight by having to pack a few packets of instant food. Braaiing is nice and all, but eight consecutive days?
Here are a few ideas for instant meals. Just keep in mind, what you find tasty and filling, might abhor your brother-in-law. You should therefore first try the instant food before cramming it into the ammo boxes.
Some people don’t mind eating fruit only all day long, but most of us carnivores make no bones about preferring something more substantial. We prowl around supermarkets, hunting down the host of instant foods.
So don your sneakers, and venture into the exciting world of the supermarket … It may do more than arm-wrestle your camping food challenge into submission − at home you’ll also have to tie on your apron less often.
Breakfast before sunrise
If you’ve had no time the previous night to boil a few eggs for the next morning’s breakfast, and you’re fed up with coffee and rusks, try the following:
O ’t(i)s so easy.
It’s unnecessary to buy instant oats − normal oats works just as well.
Measure the desired portions into porridge bowls, cover it with hot water and let it stand a few minutes until the water has been absorbed.
Sprinkle sugar over, add milk and enjoy.
It tastes … Real oats has more oomph than the instant type in any case, and much less salt.
- A 1 kg pack costs R17 and feeds a whole platoon of touring soldiers;
- Instant oats: R28 for a pack of 10 sachets.
The quickest bar none.
Bokomo’s Up & Go Liquid Breakfast, Granola bars and Jungle Yoghurt breakfast bars are also a quick solution, although not quite as filling as oats.
It tastes … Nothing much to rave about, but if time is limited, it fills a spot for a little while.
- Up & Go: R24 (three boxes per packet);
- Granola: R20 for 12 bars;
- Jungle Yoghurt bars: R4 each
Playing eco ball.
Fresh or dried fruit are always a winner.
You may not want to take oranges to Botswana though − elephants could turn your 4×4 into a soccer ball.
Moreover, if you don’t want your family to contribute too much to global warming, use dried fruit sparingly.
Pg 2: Lunch on the go
Lunch on the go
It can be dangerous to stop at a cement table next to the highway for padkos. Fortunately it is a privilege you still have in the bush, even if the bakkie’s tailgate is your table.
Long live bread!
Delba’s sunflower seed rye bread comes in eight-slice packets and it remains fresh for more than six months.
The packet is moreover solid and flat.
It tastes … If you dislike the taste of rye bread, cover the thin slices with cottage cheese and tinned mussels.
Price? A tad expensive at R19 per packet
Opium of the overlander.
The cow on The Laughing Cow Cheez Dippers packets is beaming because this cheese spread and bread sticks have been packaged in its own container, leaving no dirty dishes.
Unfortunately it has to be refrigerated, but it is so small it doesn’t take up much space.
It tastes … Better than communion wine.
Remember it is a lightweight portion, so eat as a side dish.
Price? R30 for four containers in a packet.
There is enough cheese for dipping eight bread sticks in.
John West’s tuna and salmon packets are some of the most popular instant foods in the bush.
And it doesn’t even have to be refrigerated.
It’s available in individual packets, or the cleverly packaged “Lunch to go” which, apart from the tuna bag, also contains six salted biscuits, a teaspoon, serviette and even a peppermint.
One can eat it from the plastic container in which it has been packaged, and you therefore don’t have to hassle with washing up.
To prevent your vehicle from smelling like a fish factory, keep a plastic bag at hand in which to tie up empty packets.
It tastes … At the convenience it offers, it tastes like, uhm, fish.
- R6 for the individual packets;
- R17.50 for the Lunch To-Go (quite expensive compared to the individual packets)
Dynamic comes in small packets.
Crosse & Blackwell Top Up mayonnaise is available in practical sachets of 100 g each, and it doesn’t have to be kept in a fridge, leaving more space for cold beers.
Each packet is enough for a salad or some five sandwiches.
Pack it carefully, ensuring it doesn’t press against something sharp, which could make a sorry mess in the ammo box.
Should you come across it in a supermarket stock up, as you battle to find it.
It tastes … Just as good as mayonnaise in a bottle.
Price? At R3.80 per packet, it’s a good buy.
One also gets 90 g packets of Rama margarine (R2.30 each) which you don’t have to refrigerate until it is opened.
Pg 3: Supper, at last!
Supper, at last!
What is better than sitting around the campfire at night in a distant place? But an empty stomach could detract from that. Here are some instant solutions:
Bean there …
Werda salad comes in convenient 420 g boxes and is enough for 2-4 people.
Choose from varieties such as pasta, three beans and beetroot-and-carrot.
It tastes … Be warned: all aren’t equally tasty, but the curry beans is a winner.
Price? From R6.30 to R11.50
Just east of Eden …
Woolworths’s Eastern rice noodles (500 g) and Eastern Pad Thai noodles (375 g) are enough for a crowd.
Soak the noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes until soft, drain and eat with a nice pasta sauce.
It tastes … Even better if you eat it with chopsticks.
- Rice noodles: R22;
- Pad Thai noodles: R17
It ain’t heavy, it’s my ham, brother.
Although quite heavy, tinned food is always
Be selective about what you take though.
A tin of Danish ham (454 g) packs nice
and flat, and you don’t even need a tin
opener, because like corned beef,
it has its own opener.
Price? R46 at Woolworths
Collateral ozone damage.
The Tastic Simply Delicious vegetarian curry dishes such as Dal Palak (lentils) will suit all tastes.
It is very fragrant, but has too much sauce and too little solid food.
Add any tinned food, such as beans in tomato sauce or peas, which will thicken the sauce, and have it with instant rice (see the pre-cooked rice products elsewhere on the page).
It tastes… It’s all about the delicious gr-r-ravy.
Pasta, a perennial favourite, cooks in ten minutes.
If you have a tasty packet of sauce, it remains one of the easiest, most filling and tastiest instant meals.
If you like a sauce with bite, All Gold’s tomato and chilli sauce (400 g, enough for four) is a winner.
Also try Woolworths’s long-life cheese sauce (200 ml, enough for two to three people). The shelves offer a wide variety.
It tastes … Long live the Italians!
- All Gold’s tomato and chilli sauce: R16;
- Woolworths’s long-life cheese sauce: R18
Share?! What do you mean, share?!
Woolworths’s 350 g noodle boxes and rice boxes are enough for one person.
It is so tasty you wouldn’t want to share it in any case.
According to the instructions it has to be heated in a microwave oven, but a gas stove works just as well.
The boxed dishes should be accompanied by a salad, otherwise it won’t be filling enough.
It tastes … Much better than two-minute noodles.
There are numerous pre-cooked rice products on the market, such as Tastic Simply Delicious (250 g) and Tilda Rizazz (250 g).
Both come in a variety of flavours such as ordinary rice, Basmati rice, rice with mushrooms, lemon rice and fried rice.
The instructions are for heating in a microwave oven, but it works as well to add two tablespoons of water and to heat it on a gas stove for two minutes until the rice is warm and soft.
It tastes … Quite tasty, but the portions are only enough for two.
- Tastic Simply Delicious: R12;
- Tilda Rizazz: R22
Don’t go on safari without tortillas (some shops sell it as “wraps”).
It stays fresh for months and can be used for almost any dish: It goes well with scrambled eggs for breakfast, with avocado blocks and a sauce for lunch, or with meat for supper.
The packets usually contain 8-10 tortillas.
Heat a few seconds in a pan without oil, fill with anything imaginable and wrap.
Pin the bottom part together with a toothpick to prevent the filling from leaking.
And remember not to eat the toothpick.
Price? About R35 per pack
Did someone say, vetkoek?
Take ’n Bake vetkoek mixture is just as easy as the pot bread to the right.
Add extra salt here too, deep fry and enjoy with cheese and jam.
It tastes … Absolutely delicious.
Cast your bread … well, in the potjie.
Surprise the family and bake a fresh, warm bread in your potjie with a Take ’n Bake pot bread mixture.
Just add lukewarm water to the mixture (and a teaspoon salt, because the mixture has too little salt), knead and leave for 20 minutes to rise.
Bake in a potjie on the coals until cooked.
Eaten with butter and jam, you don’t need anything else. Mind you, you don’t even need jam.
It tastes … Yummy. It is after all home-baked pot bread.
Pg 4: Desert anyone?
Screaming for something sweet
It is always nice to end the meal with something sweet, but ice cream has the habit of going runny in the bush. Here are some alternatives:
Cake in a pan.
All you need for 12 fresh pancakes, is
Pillsbury’s pancake mixture (200 g).
Just add water and fry in a pan.
It tastes … You probably won’t win
any prizes for this at the Bulwer church
bazaar, but you will definitely gain kudos
in the bush.
Ménage à quatre.
Rhodes’s 825 g fruit trio (peach, pear
and pineapple pieces) has enough fruit
As it is packaged in a plastic container,
it is light.
It tastes … Good, especially with cream or
Shake yer booty!
You can even have a milkshake on safari
if you remember to buy Sipahh flavoured
Push it into a 250 ml container of long-life
milk, and as they write on the box, say ahh!
It tastes …You will be your children’s hero.
Price? R20 for 10 straws
Sweet, sweeter …
Tinkies, Ultramel instant custard, triple chocolate mini bites, Moir’s ins
tant puddings and a nice chocolate bar – your choices are unlimited when the sweets munchies strike unexpectedly.
Rhodes fruit-to-go are sold as four
individual containers containing
Eat it as is, or with long-life custard.
It tastes … Just like canned peaches.
Price? R17.50 for four containers
Eno’gh is eno’gh
If this glut of instant food and
preservatives give you heartburn,
get an Eno Tums lozenge.
It is available in a number of fruit flavours
and doesn’t taste too bad.
And you can carry it around in a pocket.
Price? This advice is free, but the Enos cost R15 per packet of three 12 tablet rolls.