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Cooking in winter on the Camino Frances

2020 Camino Guides

MaartjedeMeer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the Frances in Dec 2017/Jan 2018
Hello,

I'll be walking the Camino Frances from the beginning of December this year until somewhere in January '18, by myself. I plan on cooking as much as possible, since I'll be travelling on a tight budget.

So I have some questions regarding cooking, that I haven't been able to find answers to on the forum yet (or a few rather old threads).

I plan on bringing:
- Flaky salt
- Pepper corns (will crush them with a glass, wine bottle, something else heavy)
- a plastic bottle of olive oil (75 or 150 ml?)
- ground cumin
- dried oregano
- my opinel knife
- spoon and fork
- a plastic container
- a plastic cup
- tea (loose or bags?)
- a light cotton grocery bag /or/ nylon shopping bag
- maybe a lightweight pan?
- garlic

Questions
- I've never seen tiny ziplock bags in The Netherlands (where I live), so haven't fully decided yet on what I'll put the salt, pepper & spices in. Any suggestions?

- Also, am I massively underestimating the weight? What do you think? The rest of my packing will be as minimal as possible, within what's possible for a winter camino.

- Will I find enough kitchens to cook in while walking a slow winter Camino Frances?

- I read that there are beautiful kitchens with no pots and pans on the last 100 kms of the Camino: is this still true? To me it would be enough reason to carry 1 pan with me.

My cooking + eating plan
BREAKFAST
- I plan on carrying muesli for breakfast each morning, either eaten with water or with yoghurt bought the previous day. Plus some fruit, and tea if there's a possibility for hot water.
SNACKS
- I'll be carrying snacks: fruit, nuts, chocolate, maybe a bit more.
LUNCH & DINNER
- I plan on cooking twice the amount of food I'll need in the evening, and then to put half in my plastic container & eat it for lunch the next day.
- I don't mind eating bread + sardines + a tomato for dinner when there's no kitchen.

I was thinking to just buy + carry a package of pasta, to carry, cook and eat it until it's finished, and then to buy rice & do the same. I can vary with sauces and vegetables. It'll be extra weight but it'll save me quite some money.

What do you guys think? Sorry for the extensive post! Looking forward to feedback, especially from those who've cooked during a winter camino!

Thanks so much,

Maartje

PS: I really want to cook, for me it will be too expensive to eat Pilgrim menus every day, so I'd appreciate answers in that line of thought! Thank you :)
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
Hi and welcome to the forum. For winter walking I don't think there is anything unreasonable in your thinking. I came across numerous Albergues all along the CF without cooking equipment so a very small pot is not unthinkable to me and I'll be doing something similar in January. The utensiles and spices won't be any real weight either. One note is that because there are few Albergues open that time of the year you may well end up sleeping somewhere without a kitchen so the cold meal will have to suffice. I always had a small supply of chicken bouillion cubes, noodles, cheese, chorizo and tea in my bag for those times nothing else was available which there were certainly some because not only Albergues are closed during the winter but also the stores in small towns and some didn't even have a bar to fall back on. If you have a decent guidebook you can browse it and makes plans daily; do I need to carry extra food or will there likely be a store I can buy something in. Keep in mind that store hours are not always the most conduscive to Pilgrim life and may be closed except for small windows which only the locals seem to know ;)

Last thing to note is that you are part of a special community and there will be times you'll be invited to share a meal and I'm sure there will be times you'll offer to share a meal. This is part of the magic of the Camino experience.

For all the challenges, it's an exceptional time of the year to walk the Camino and even though it requires carrying a bit more weight it is well worth it in the long run. Buen Camino!
 

MaartjedeMeer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the Frances in Dec 2017/Jan 2018
Hi and welcome to the forum. For winter walking I don't think there is anything unreasonable in your thinking. I came across numerous Albergues all along the CF without cooking equipment so a very small pot is not unthinkable to me and I'll be doing something similar in January. The utensiles and spices won't be any real weight either. One note is that because there are few Albergues open that time of the year you may well end up sleeping somewhere without a kitchen so the cold meal will have to suffice. I always had a small supply of chicken bouillion cubes, noodles, cheese, chorizo and tea in my bag for those times nothing else was available which there were certainly some because not only Albergues are closed during the winter but also the stores in small towns and some didn't even have a bar to fall back on. If you have a decent guidebook you can browse it and makes plans daily; do I need to carry extra food or will there likely be a store I can buy something in. Keep in mind that store hours are not always the most conduscive to Pilgrim life and may be closed except for small windows which only the locals seem to know ;)

Last thing to note is that you are part of a special community and there will be times you'll be invited to share a meal and I'm sure there will be times you'll offer to share a meal. This is part of the magic of the Camino experience.

For all the challenges, it's an exceptional time of the year to walk the Camino and even though it requires carrying a bit more weight it is well worth it in the long run. Buen Camino!
Thank you, I might indeed carry some extra food and plan ahead while walking and experiencing the road. I am looking forward to cooking for others as well - curious to see how many fellow pilgrims I'll encounter. Very happy with your reply & looking forward to experiencing the camino. Buen Camino to you too!
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
I would take an Esbit Pocket Stove with a special metal cup for cooking, so that during the day or in albergues with no kitchen I might make something warm like cup-a-soup, noodles or tea.
The salt would stay at home, but I'd take my favourite herb mixture of chili flakes, garlic and oregano, bought in a small tin. It contains salt too ;)
I'd buy boiled eggs if there are any and eat them with mayonnaise from a tube.

PS Try out the Esbit cooking to see if it suits you. Buen Camino!
 

jony jony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances ( 2007) Via de la Plata 2016/2017 . Sept 2018...Via de la Plata...May2019 via de la plata
Hello MaartjedeMeer.......i always carry a means of cooking /heating water ,either a solid fuel cooker ........www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Highlander-Hexi-Solid-Fuel-Stove-4-Large-Hexamine-Tablets/251503169411?epid=1004335014&hash=item3a8ec1cf83:g:MFYAAOSwbsBXmL3Y or a small camping gas cooker and a small ex army type folding pan ( mess tin )

There are many convenient dehydrated packets of soup....pasta....noodle available and a few of these in your backpack could save you going hungry . I take a few doses of Nescafe ready to use coffee ( coffee/dried milk/ sugar ) . As for condiments i always take a few packets of salt / pepper / mayonnaise from places like MacDonalds / Burger Kings /Costa coffee etc .

Like MinaKamina i have boiled eggs , but usually buy a couple of eggs during the day and in the evening hard boil them for part of my lunch the following day .
I have often had to share my coffee doses in the morning with other people and this is a pleasure for both me and the recipient ( for my next pilgrimage in March 2018 i will be taking a few more doses ).
For me,the small amount extra weight is nothing compared to going hungry or not having a coffee in the morning .

Regards.......John
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
My secret script for a Winter Camino is that you have to be able to spend three days stuck in the snow in a shed with sheep and the best way to prepare for that is to carry some army rations. The reason being that I am fascinated by these small packages with everything in them, even a chewing brush. What better excuse to go to an army dump? I hope they sell samples. Wouldn't know what to do with dozens in a box :eek:
 

MaartjedeMeer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the Frances in Dec 2017/Jan 2018
Hello MaartjedeMeer.......i always carry a means of cooking /heating water ,either a solid fuel cooker ........www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Highlander-Hexi-Solid-Fuel-Stove-4-Large-Hexamine-Tablets/251503169411?epid=1004335014&hash=item3a8ec1cf83:g:MFYAAOSwbsBXmL3Y or a small camping gas cooker and a small ex army type folding pan ( mess tin )

There are many convenient dehydrated packets of soup....pasta....noodle available and a few of these in your backpack could save you going hungry . I take a few doses of Nescafe ready to use coffee ( coffee/dried milk/ sugar ) . As for condiments i always take a few packets of salt / pepper / mayonnaise from places like MacDonalds / Burger Kings /Costa coffee etc .

Like MinaKamina i have boiled eggs , but usually buy a couple of eggs during the day and in the evening hard boil them for part of my lunch the following day .
I have often had to share my coffee doses in the morning with other people and this is a pleasure for both me and the recipient ( for my next pilgrimage in March 2018 i will be taking a few more doses ).
For me,the small amount extra weight is nothing compared to going hungry or not having a coffee in the morning .

Regards.......John
Thank you John! I notice that I'm a bit hesitant about bringing a stove-type thing, because of the weight and being unsure whether I'll use it. I think that's because I'm assuming that I won't go for more than 2 mornings and 1 night without a bar / restaurant / kitchen where I'll be able to drink something warm. What has your experience been?

I am a teadrinker in the morning & can go without coffee, but also without tea for a while & just drink water. I think? I can definitely imagine the joy you brought making your Nescafe for others though!

Thanks so much for the input, and I'll be sure to boil myself some eggs to take along ;-).
 

MaartjedeMeer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk the Frances in Dec 2017/Jan 2018
My secret script for a Winter Camino is that you have to be able to spend three days stuck in the snow in a shed with sheep and the best way to prepare for that is to carry some army rations. The reason being that I am fascinated by these small packages with everything in them, even a chewing brush. What better excuse to go to an army dump? I hope they sell samples. Wouldn't know what to do with dozens in a box :eek:
Dear MinaKamina, oh no! Have you experienced this? I am currently not prepared for 3 days stuck in a shed in the snow - mentally nor gear-wise!

I've only decided to walk the Camino about three weeks ago & am figuring out how much I need to prepare for when walking in Winter. Aiming to keep my pack as light as I possibly can. Trying to find the balance..

Thanks for the stove recommendation - had never heard of them & it looks smart! How many of the burning tablet-thingies do you bring? Do you also recommend it if I don't mind eating cold meals once in a while?
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
My spiral heater plugs into the wall and weighs less that 100g - and will get water hot enough to make tea, hot chocolate, soup or noodles. (I also used it to heat washing water in a bucket once when we stayed in an albergue without hot water.) I think this might be an easier solution than any form of camp stove!
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
Dear MinaKamina, oh no! Have you experienced this? I am currently not prepared for 3 days stuck in a shed in the snow - mentally nor gear-wise!

I've only decided to walk the Camino about three weeks ago & am figuring out how much I need to prepare for when walking in Winter. Aiming to keep my pack as light as I possibly can. Trying to find the balance..

Thanks for the stove recommendation - had never heard of them & it looks smart! How many of the burning tablet-thingies do you bring? Do you also recommend it if I don't mind eating cold meals once in a while?

Eeh... no. Hasn't happened to me yet :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

But I'm like that. I would prepare for some days when things do not work out. And I like to keep warm.
On many days, you will be able to shop, to cook, and to prepare tea & food for the entire day.
But for the days when this does not work out, it is nice to have some back-up, because you say you are on a tight budget, so I assume you won't take a taxi to the next restaurant that is open.

The burner tablets come in different sizes, you won't spend a big one (14 grs) on one cup of tea.
 

MinaKamina

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
My spiral heater plugs into the wall and weighs less that 100g - and will get water hot enough to make tea, hot chocolate, soup or noodles. (I also used it to heat washing water in a bucket once when we stayed in an albergue without hot water.) I think this might be an easier solution than any form of camp stove!
I agree with that one in general, only you need to plug them in somewhere. If want to make a warm drink during the day, these tiny stoves come in handy.
 

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