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What Makes the Ideal, Superlight Mobile Kitchen?

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I love to cook, especially for friends. That passion followed me on my camino last summer, and I cooked probably a dozen meals for walking companions I met along the way. My idea of camino cooking starts with building an ad hoc menu around whatever is freshest at the supermercado, subject to the limitations of the kitchen available to me.

My gripe was the typical albergue kitchen can be quite limited. Most of the knives were duller than my butter knives at home (I have a fetish for sharp knives). There were rarely enough cutting boards unless I beat everyone else to the kitchen. Spice selection was hit or miss (mostly miss, except salt and garlic). Pots and pans were often plentiful (if beat up), except after Sarria where they were non-existent in otherwise good kitchens. Plates, bowls, cups, and other utensils were generally available and functional. In spite of this, we made due, but I was left thinking that there has to be a better way; thus this thread.

My question is FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LIKE TO COOK. (For those who wonder why cook at all, and for those who think boiling noodles and putting chorizo in tomato sauce counts as cooking, this question is probably not up your alley.)

Knowing that you have to carry every gram, what items would you absolutely bring to build the ideal "mobile kitchen" and why? What items would you sit on the fence about?
My personal goal is to get to a truly functional cooking kit that weighs less than a pound and can handle the limits of almost any albergue kitchen. I'll start with the following thoughts:

Knives --- I would bring one 6" mini-chef knife with edge guard. I'm considering lightweight ceramic as opposed to heavier steel. Goal weight is not more than 120-150 grams. A 6" blade is (IMO) the smallest option that is still big enough for easily cutting a wide array of meat, vegetables, etc. (Yes, I can use a folding pocket knife, but any reasonable blade size ends up as heavy or more, and generally less functional for cooking purposes.)

Vegetable peeler --- There were precious few of these to be found, and none sharp. A good one should weigh no more than 15 to 20 grams.

Cutting boards --- I would bring one of those very thin and flexible plastic mats that I can put on top of a table to protect the table. I would opt for something between 6x8 inches or 8x10, with a target weight of nor more than 60 to 70 grams.

Spices and such --- I really struggled with the fundamental lack of spices. Sugar, salt, and garlic were ubiquitous, and pepper mostly so. But everything else had to be purchased and left (very quickly expensive) or carried (excess weight). I would carry basil, tarragon, thyme, herbes de provence, curry, chili pequin and/or cayenne, some bullion packets, and some corn starch. Rather than using a lot of plastic "spice" containers from camping stores, which add up in weight and space, I would use small (2x3 inch) Ziplocks.
Note: One item that rapidly became a must for me was chili sauce or Tabasco for addition to the potato and egg tortillas (Spain's version of "salsa picante" seems to mean my definition of ketchup).​

Oil --- I would keep 2-3 oz. of olive oil in a small plastic bottle. In about 30% of albergues where I cooked, there was no oil in the kitchen, and I ended up stocking them up, but I was unprepared to carry some of the extra with me (and unwilling to carry an 8 oz bottle, which was about as small as I could find).

Cooking utensils --- I would take my folding MSR spoon (28 grams) and my folding MSR spatula/turner (22 grams). Available utensils were a bit sketchy once more than one or two groups were all sharing the space. I wouldn't take pots/pans for those last 100 km albergues that provide kitchens with no utensils or pans, unless I was also planning to be off the beaten path and camping out (which would also necessitate some kind of stove, fuel, etc. and I likely wouldn't be cooking for a large group anyways at this point).

Cup and heating coil --- I didn't bring a cup, which proved to be something of an inconvenience. There were many mornings where it would have been nice to boil some water for tea and/or hot cereal before hitting the road. I would bring a titanium cup/mug with capacity scoring (my MSR Titan Cup is 14 oz capacity at 54 grams, and I have scored the interior at 2 fl. oz. intervals), as well as a heating coil.

Measuring cups/spoons --- I can't justify the weight/space for this because I tend to be a "flavor to taste" rather than a "by the recipe" cook. Others might have good ideas or "multi-use" suggestions (such as my scored mug above).


Other ideas, suggestions, perspectives?
 
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weekjchammings

KEITH JOHN
Camino(s) past & future
GR10 HENDAYE - BANYULS SUR MERE 600+ MILES 2002 WITH MY SON.
ABERGAVENNY - BEAUPREAU TWIN TOWN 2009
ENGLISH SOUTH WEST COASTAL PATH 630 MILES 2010.
LE PUY EN VELAY -SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE 2011 1,000+ MILES
ABERGAVENNY WALES - MONT ST MICHEL - ST JEAN PdP - CAMINO FRANCES FRANCE - FINISTERRE 2013 1,400+ MILES.
SEVILLA - SANTIAGO VIA DE LA PLATA 2014
LISBON - PORTO - SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE CAMINO PORTUGUESE. 2016.
CAMINO DE LEVANTE PLANNED 2017.
Hello,
Unless I have missed it somewhere, are you a man or a lady? As a traditionalist if the former, find yourself a lady and if the latter find yourself a man. Then BINGO you have a partner to carry all this extra gear. Problem halved is a problem solved.

Buen Camino....Keith.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I would definitely bring a Norwegian cheese slicer! It can be used as a cheese/potato/carrot slicer, obviously, and also a vegetable peeler, you can use the flat end to crush garlic cloves and even use it as a spatula to turn stuff in a frying pan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheese_knife#Cheese_slicer

I also agree with the herbs and spices in ziploks - I will probably to the same next time although I didn't use the kitchens much, but I would like to sprinkle some magic on a plain omelette or drizzle some oil (not always available or offered) or garlic oil on a dry bit of bocadillo.
 
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lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I would bring none of these things. If the kitchen in the albergue is lacking, I would go have a menu del dia. I wouldn't be looking to haul around extra stuff or to start cooking anything more than "chorizo, tomatoes and pasta" at the end of a day's walking.
Of course, each to her own - folks are carrying rice cookers, stoves, and even electric coils!
Enjoy your cooking camino.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I regularly carry my kitchen knives when travelling, but on the Camino I limit myself to a good pocket knife. That is still sufficient to prepare a wide range of meals. I don't think anyone is going to worry too much if your chopping and slicing is not as even as it is at home. If they are, let them bring their own chefs knife!
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Hello, Unless I have missed it somewhere, are you a man or a lady? As a traditionalist if the former, find yourself a lady and if the latter find yourself a man. Then BINGO you have a partner to carry all this extra gear. Problem halved is a problem solved.
My wife will likely not walk the Camino until our boys are all out of high school (ca. 2022). It's a rite of passage for each of my boys to walk this with me the summer of their 15th birthday. Therefore, a problem halved.

As to finding myself a lady . . . this last summer, I had one of those father-son conversations about one of the other pilgrims we kept crossing paths with who was on his third girlfriend in as many weeks. It was a teachable moment.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I regularly carry my kitchen knives when travelling, but on the Camino I limit myself to a good pocket knife. That is still sufficient to prepare a wide range of meals. I don't think anyone is going to worry too much if your chopping and slicing is not as even as it is at home. If they are, let them bring their own chefs knife!
I'm not worried about the precision (except for the albergue knives, which really perform more like tenderizing mallets); it's the shape of the knife and knife handling skills. I can make about twice the number of cuts with a good chef's knife as compared to a standard locking pocket knife in the same time frame, and there is no comparison when mincing. If I can get to the same weight range, then, the chef's knife becomes the obvious winner.
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I would bring none of these things. If the kitchen in the albergue is lacking, I would go have a menu del dia.
If all we were talking abut was nourishment, I'd agree. But, since the premise is that I actually like to cook as a gift to others, the menu del dia is rather lacking in community. There is a real delight on the part of those who receive the gift, AND it is of far better quality than the average menu del dia.

I can tell you each of the people I cooked for, and they remember me. I can't say that of most of the people with whom I got seated at even the handful of true community tables.
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I would definitely bring a Norwegian cheese slicer! It can be used as a cheese/potato/carrot slicer, obviously, and also a vegetable peeler, you can use the flat end to crush garlic cloves and even use it as a spatula to turn stuff in a frying pan.
Nice!
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
koilife - I hear you, totally!
Cooking and sharing in the albergue is for me when much of the magic of the camino takes place. I don't take a proper knife but I do take a pocket sharpener (Smith's Dret diamond retractable sharpener) which is the size of a biro pen and I sharpen proper knives when I find them - or else use my pen-knife. I pre-mix my favourite spice combinations and take a selection of them and some dried herbs in old film canisters. For all else I trust to the camino to provide. I hope we meet up in an albergue one day - I'd be happy to be the sous chef!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
It is true that some of my nicest memories from my Caminos are when I or another (or together) could surprise with a nice common meal, preferably going to the local grocery and shop together first. And so much cheaper! But I would not carry any kitchen gear on my back; I'd rather use the opportunity when I find a good kitchen in an albergue (and there are quite a few of them).
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Well, I do not see how you can cook cheaper than a menu del dia at the local bar, so stop currying all these cooking equipment. A plastic
combined spoon, fork and knife and a cup will do.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia
Im with you Koilife. I have my Bluet stove/cup small GSI cook kit herbs spices my hunting knife [ as i live in a desert i never go anywhere without a proper knife] Extra butane stove 2plates some extras im at 1.5LBS not enough weight to think not taking my kitchen with me. I love cooking for folks,and when peeps smell the goodness of the fine aroma you will have good conversations and a smile. Bring what you want dont think about it to much and ENJOY......Cheers
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Well, I do not see how you can cook cheaper than a menu del dia at the local bar, so stop currying all these cooking equipment. A plastic
combined spoon, fork and knife and a cup will do.
It's actually quite easy to cook cheaper than the menu del dia, especially when cooking for a group. More protein, fresher produce, better wine. And, more to the point, there is the communal aspect of a meal prepared and shared among friends. No bar can replace that.

But, that's beside the point. The real question is for those who DO like to cook on their pilgrimage (regardless of why) what items would make their list to bring as part of a superlight kitchen set.
 
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Kathryn Leong

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed the Camino Frances in 2012 starting from SJPdP and loved it so much I want to do another. Planning to do the Via de la Plata in April 2014.
What do you take when you go camping? that would be a good guide. On the Camino Frances we had some amazing meals with other pilgrims both menu de dia and cooked in the albergue kitchens. Gronon was an exceptional experience.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
What do you take when you go camping? that would be a good guide.
When backpacking, I'm hauling stove, fuel, pot/pan, etc. My food selection is very different than on the camino because I have to carry it in rather than walk down the street to the supermercado. My selections in the original post does reflect those elements from my backpacking list that I would include, as well as things that I wouldn't.

The real question is, assuming you like to cook for others, what would YOU bring based on your past experience with albergues to improve your cooking experience, knowing that you have to carry it? In other words, what would you include in YOUR "ideal, but superlight" kitchen kit?
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
To answer the OP - a sharp knife, and a small cotton collecting bag for forage. I like Tom's suggestion of a sharpener. The Albergue kitchens that are equipped are equipped. The others, well you would need to carry a full batterie de cuisine.
Anyway, isn't part of the joy of cooking that moment where inspiration, improvisation and the available ingredients come together?
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
To answer the OP - a sharp knife, and a small cotton collecting bag for forage. I like Tom's suggestion of a sharpener. The Albergue kitchens that are equipped are equipped. The others, well you would need to carry a full batterie de cuisine.
Anyway, isn't part of the joy of cooking that moment where inspiration, improvisation and the available ingredients come together?
Absolutely, but another part of the joy of cooking is also in the act of preparation, which is what this thread is really about . . . what goes into the petit batterie de cuisine?

The collecting bag for forage is a really good point. I guess had assumed it because of the ubiquitous discussions on the topics of shopping bags and day packs, but it's good to make explicit here because it's so specific to the topic.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
The real question is, assuming you like to cook for others, what would YOU bring based on your past experience with albergues to improve your cooking experience, knowing that you have to carry it? In other words, what would you include in YOUR "ideal, but superlight" kitchen kit?
Absolutely, but another part of the joy of cooking is also in the act of preparation, which is what this thread is really about . . . what goes into the petit batterie de cuisine?
... and part of the joy of the Camino for me was making do without a full battery of kitchen equipment, and still being able to prepare or assist prepare a nice meal. A good pocket knife is all that I will taking this year, although I might need to buy one once I get to Spain.

Regards
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia
Group cooking is alot of fun! But if you dont have what might be needed it is hard. There is no wrong or right what to bring , so bring what you want. Buen Camino
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
... and part of the joy of the Camino for me was making do without a full battery of kitchen equipment, and still being able to prepare or assist prepare a nice meal. A good pocket knife is all that I will taking this year, although I might need to buy one once I get to Spain.
Perhaps one day we'll share a meal.

With a target kitchen kit of less than a pound, and a total pack weight still under 13 lbs, I'm shooting for the best of both worlds. When backpacking in the woods, I'd never trade my pocket knife for an actual chef's knife, but the Camino is so substantially different than backwoods backpacking that I'm questioning all my old assumptions about equipment. The difference between the two is not unlike the difference between road biking and mountain biking.
 
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kmrice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
An Opinel 10 with corkscrew will do double duty and has an outstanding blade, if you can go with a 4" blade.

Karl
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
A liter-size plastic box with a really tight-fitting lid (tupperware or better) so you can carry along sliced cheese, ham, or whatever for lunch on the way. The lid serves as a plate for your picnic and you can slice the fresh tomato you bought on it as well.
If you find yourself wanting a hot meal in one of the many albergues where there are no pots and pans, only a water heater, filling the box with very thinly julienned vegetables, some herbs/miso paste and dry pasta, pouring on the boiling water, slamming on the lid and immediately wrapping the box in your sleeping bag for twenty minutes will give you a nice little meal. I've also used the same method for boiling an egg - just make sure the box doesn't leak...

(This is essentially the same as a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haybox in miniature.)
 
I love to cook, especially for friends. That passion followed me on my camino last summer, and I cooked probably a dozen meals for walking companions I met along the way. My idea of camino cooking starts with building an ad hoc menu around whatever is freshest at the supermercado, subject to the limitations of the kitchen available to me.

My gripe was the typical albergue kitchen can be quite limited. Most of the knives were duller than my butter knives at home (I have a fetish for sharp knives). There were rarely enough cutting boards unless I beat everyone else to the kitchen. Spice selection was hit or miss (mostly miss, except salt and garlic). Pots and pans were often plentiful (if beat up), except after Sarria where they were non-existent in otherwise good kitchens. Plates, bowls, cups, and other utensils were generally available and functional. In spite of this, we made due, but I was left thinking that there has to be a better way; thus this thread.

My question is FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO LIKE TO COOK. (For those who think boiling noodles and putting chorizo in tomato sauce counts as cooking, this question is probably not up your alley.)

Knowing that you have to carry every gram, what items would you absolutely bring to build the ideal "mobile kitchen" and why? What items would you sit on the fence about? My personal goal is to get to a truly functional cooking kit that weighs less than a pound and can handle the limits of almost any albergue kitchen.​

I'll start with the following thoughts:

Knives --- I would bring one 6" mini-chef knife with edge guard. I'm considering lightweight ceramic as opposed to heavier steel. Goal weight is not more than 120-150 grams. A 6" blade is (IMO) the smallest option that is still big enough for easily cutting a wide array of meat, vegetables, etc. (Yes, I can use a folding pocket knife, but any reasonable blade size ends up as heavy or more, and generally less functional for cooking purposes.)

Vegetable peeler --- There were precious few of these to be found, and none sharp. A good one should weigh no more than 15 to 20 grams.

Cutting boards --- I would bring one of those very thin and flexible plastic mats that I can put on top of a table to protect the table. I would opt for something between 6x8 inches or 8x10, with a target weight of nor more than 60 to 70 grams.

Spices and such --- I really struggled with the fundamental lack of spices. Sugar, salt, and garlic were ubiquitous, and pepper mostly so. But everything else had to be purchased and left (very quickly expensive) or carried (excess weight). I would carry basil, tarragon, thyme, herbes de provence, curry, chili pequin and/or cayenne, some bullion packets, and some corn starch. Rather than using a lot of plastic "spice" containers from camping stores, which add up in weight and space, I would use small (2x3 inch) Ziplocks.
Note: One item that rapidly became a must for me was chili sauce or Tabasco for addition to the potato and egg tortillas (Spain's version of "salsa picante" seems to mean my definition of ketchup).​

Oil --- I would keep 2-3 oz. of olive oil in a small plastic bottle. In about 30% of albergues where I cooked, there was no oil in the kitchen, and I ended up stocking them up, but unprepared to carry some extra with me (and unwilling to carry an 8 oz bottle, which was about as small as I could find).

Cooking utensils --- I would take my folding MSR spoon (28 grams) and my folding MSR spatula/turner (22 grams). Available utensils were a bit sketchy once more than one or two groups were all sharing the space. I wouldn't take pots/pans for those last 100 km albergues that provide kitchens with no utensils or pans, unless I was also planning to be off the beaten path and camping out (which would also necessitate some kind of stove, fuel, etc. and I likely wouldn't be cooking for a large group anyways at this point).

Cup and heating coil --- I didn't bring a cup, which proved to be something of an inconvenience. There were many mornings where it would have been nice to boil some water for tea and/or hot cereal before hitting the road. I would bring a titanium cup/mug with capacity scoring (my MSR Titan Cup is 14 oz capacity at 54 grams, and I have scored the interior at 2 fl. oz. intervals), as well as a heating coil.

Measuring cups/spoons --- I can't justify the weight/space for this because I tend to be a "flavor to taste" rather than a "by the recipe" cook. Others might have good ideas or "multi-use" suggestions (such as my scored mug above).


Other ideas, suggestions, perspectives?
Disclaimer: I have not yet walked the Camino. However, that said, I can give my 2 cents on 3 items. First, if you have a sharp knife, you shouldn't need a vegetable peeler. Second, a cutting board is not essential, but helpful. They make small roll-up ones that are lightweight. Third, for measuring, you should be able to wing it with your cup and spoon. I just returned from Uganda a few weeks ago. My friend wanted me to teach her how to make banana bread in her African kitchen (quite different from what I am accustomed to in an Amercican kitchen!) She didn't have any measuring spoons or cups, so I used a coffee mug (12 oz. standard), teaspoon, and tablespoon to estimate, but you could do it with just a coffee mug and whichever size spoon you're bringing. (A fork was used for mashing the bananas and mixing the ingredients.)
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I'm not worried about the precision (except for the albergue knives, which really perform more like tenderizing mallets); it's the shape of the knife and knife handling skills. . . . If I can get to the same weight range, then, the chef's knife becomes the obvious winner.
I just ordered a ceramic Kyocera Legend 6" chef's knife at 1.6 to 1.8 oz (I have yet to get it on my gram scale). This comes in at half (or less) than any 3" pocket knife I've come across, making (for me) an easy decision to bring a proper chef's knife in place of a large pocket knife (my standard 1" 'Classic' Victronix/Swiss Army Knife is sufficient for everything else I would need from a pocket knife).
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
First, if you have a sharp knife, you shouldn't need a vegetable peeler.
A lightweight peeler adds great convenience when peeling a larger number of, say, carrots and potatoes, for a larger group. At 14 grams, the convenience is worth the weight (for me). Also, I would need to switch from a chef's knife to to a paring/utility knife (though that is certainly another approach).
Second, a cutting board is not essential, but helpful. They make small roll-up ones that are lightweight.
Agreed, but I had three or four occasions where there was no cutting board, or they were all used by other pilgrims at the same time. As a good guest, I would rather not risk scarring tables or counters, and I don't want to dull my knife needlessly as well. I would use a exactly the kind of lightweight "roll-up" board that you refer to.
Third, for measuring, you should be able to wing it with your cup and spoon.
Agreed. The every 2 ounce scoring in my cup is sufficient for me, as the things I cook primarily tend to require only creativity, experience, a good eyeball, and (arguably) good taste buds.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
A liter-size plastic box with a really tight-fitting lid (tupperware or better) so you can carry along sliced cheese, ham, or whatever for lunch on the way. The lid serves as a plate for your picnic and you can slice the fresh tomato you bought on it as well.
If you find yourself wanting a hot meal in one of the many albergues where there are no pots and pans, only a water heater, filling the box with very thinly julienned vegetables, some herbs/miso paste and dry pasta, pouring on the boiling water, slamming on the lid and immediately wrapping the box in your sleeping bag for twenty minutes will give you a nice little meal. I've also used the same method for boiling an egg - just make sure the box doesn't leak...

(This is essentially the same as a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haybox in miniature.)
While this is more about personal use, rather than group cooking, it's an interesting thought nonetheless.

For me, it comes down to size and weight of the box. I typically use my thin cutting board as a prep and plate (similar function to lid). For alburgues where there's no kitchen (or a wonderful kitchen with no pots, pans, or utensils), there's always a nearby bar. (It might be impolite of me to suggest "bait and switch," but several of the "empty" kitchens I came across also had a prominently and conveniently attached or affiliated bar.)
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I would definitely bring a Norwegian cheese slicer! It can be used as a cheese/potato/carrot slicer, obviously, and also a vegetable peeler, you can use the flat end to crush garlic cloves and even use it as a spatula to turn stuff in a frying pan.
Nidarosa --- I haven't been able to find one under six ounces. Any recommendations for lightweight versions to consider?
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
I love to cook, especially for friends. That passion followed me on my camino last summer, and I cooked probably a dozen meals for walking companions I met along the way...........................
Other ideas, suggestions, perspectives?

I suppose this is more than you originally had in mind ? :rolleyes:
 

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David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
What an interesting thread!!! It would seem that the 'mobile kitchen' isn't that much weight, some herbs and oils, a good knife and light board ... I can see how it would be, though as I am not really interested in 'creative' food I wouldn't carry such a set up ....

... I think that anyone that thinks that one cannot make a meal cheaper than the pilgrim's meal at the local bar surely has never cooked ... anyway, apart from a few marvellous places those pilgrim meals can be quite deadly ... some strange thin unnamed over-cooked meat, catering fries, tinned peas or similar, a frozen mass-produced lolly as dessert ..... yeugghhh ...

You say that you find salt and pepper at refugios but I have only ever found rubbish table salt and rubbish already ground pepper, both of which are tasteless and neither of which should be named salt or pepper; and in the cafes and restaurants it is the same - you just cannot beat fresh ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper corns ... in certain shops one can buy small sea salt and pepper corn jars that have integral grinders ..I carry those with me, wrapped up in my napkin. ;)

I usually carry a folding pocket knife with corkscrew ... but ... who mentioned the Smith's DRET - Diamond Retractable Sharpener? I looked it up - what a brilliant piece of kit!! (I do like good tools).
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
... I think that anyone that thinks that one cannot make a meal cheaper than the pilgrim's meal at the local bar surely has never cooked ... anyway, apart from a few marvellous places those pilgrim meals can be quite deadly ... some strange thin unnamed over-cooked meat, catering fries, tinned peas or similar, a frozen mass-produced lolly as dessert ..... yeugghhh ...
My favorite (NOT) are the tinned white asparagus with mayonnaise on top and with a side of tuna.
In certain shops one can buy small sea salt and pepper corn jars that have integral grinders ..I carry those with me, wrapped up in my napkin. ;)
I'm 100% in line with freshly ground salt and pepper. Right up there with fresh herbs. I just haven't found a small enough or light enough set to justify the weight. Do you have a particular recommendation?
I usually carry the Opinel with corkscrew ... but ... who mentioned the Smith's DRET - Diamond Retractable Sharpener? I looked it up - what a brilliant piece of kit!! (I do like good tools).
It was Peregrino_tom who recommended it. I just re-read his post and realized he's sharpening knives in the albergues as a benefit for those who follow behind him. That's a camino act of kindness worth recognizing.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Nidarosa --- I haven't been able to find one under six ounces. Any recommendations for lightweight versions to consider?
Hi, I am just on one of my little travels at the moment and it so happens I have both the cheese slicer and my luggage scales with me (I intend to fill the bag to its weight limit before going home). A quick test shows that mine weighs approx 60 grammes - sorry, I am not an ouncy girl but I'm sure that's less than the ones you have found? Mine has a black plastic handle and simple, light metal head, your everyday cheese slicer really. They sell them in most food shops here, but in the US maybe it's more of a speciality item? I'm sure there will be even lighter ones.

Edit: Found quite a few models on Amazon.com that claim to weigh less than two ounces and not expensive either. Have a look, I hope you find a lightweight one you like!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
While I would prefer to order the menu de dia as Kanga suggests, or even go to the carta every now and then, I understand Koilife's foodophiliac proclivities. The forage bag is a good idea, but I would also suggest that Koilife learn enough Castilian to beg or buy herbs from gardeners along the way. While most villages and towns only had markets twice a week, if I recall correctly, Spain is full of militant and competent gardeners, and you would easily be able to enquire at the tabac or a bar for someone who could sell you some produce from their garden. While this wouldn't work everywhere or every time, I think it would be a delightful way to help out the local economy and meet people. The other suggestions look very practical and I think that I might even pick up the salt and pepper mills....
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Why not just enjoy the regional food cooked by the locals along the Camino? The idea of carrying spices and a cooktop is as offensive to me as searching out a McDonald's for a burger and coffee!
 

weekjchammings

KEITH JOHN
Camino(s) past & future
GR10 HENDAYE - BANYULS SUR MERE 600+ MILES 2002 WITH MY SON.
ABERGAVENNY - BEAUPREAU TWIN TOWN 2009
ENGLISH SOUTH WEST COASTAL PATH 630 MILES 2010.
LE PUY EN VELAY -SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE 2011 1,000+ MILES
ABERGAVENNY WALES - MONT ST MICHEL - ST JEAN PdP - CAMINO FRANCES FRANCE - FINISTERRE 2013 1,400+ MILES.
SEVILLA - SANTIAGO VIA DE LA PLATA 2014
LISBON - PORTO - SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE CAMINO PORTUGUESE. 2016.
CAMINO DE LEVANTE PLANNED 2017.
Why not just enjoy the regional food cooked by the locals along the Camino? The idea of carrying spices and a cooktop is as offensive to me as searching out a McDonald's for a burger and coffee!
Hi,
If its good enough for the locals it is sure good enough for me. This is the Camino so we should all try and live the life of a true pilgrim as close as possible.
Or maybe we are on the " Master Chef " TV programme.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
For many pilgrims that "few euros extra" is a complete no. So many are on tight budgets ... eating a lunch and an evening meal out can easily cost 18 or 20 euros, add in a glass of wine or two and a couple of coffees and you are looking at 25 to 30 euros .. over 35 days that adds up to a whopping 1,000 Plus Euros!!

I have met many pilgrims who saved for years to go on pilgrimage and every penny was hard won .... so .. when any of you speak of eating out all the time as an 'easy' option, please do remember that not all are wealthy (and if you can afford to eat out every day then you are wealthy), many, many, are cash poor ... but these pilgrims then have the benefit of eating fresh produce, the fun of cooking in an unknown kitchen, sharing meals with other pilgrims who do not go to restaurants .... the simplicity of simple food .. bread and cheese and olives, for instance ... nothing wrong with that at all ...

so, please, think on, anyone who wants to mention what a "true pilgrim" is - we see the world through our own perspective - which means that others are NOT as we think we see them .... don't you think??

Buen Camino ;)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don't know about the rest of you, but to me some of these comments pass over the "opinion" line into judgment and disapproval. Poor koilife has spent more time answering posts like "why in the world would you do such a stupid thing as carry a mobile kitchen" than he has engaging with those people who are actually trying to be helpful to him. Where are the ten golden rules of the camino/forum when we need them?

And btw, koilife, I'm sure you are a very popular pilgrim -- I once walked with some firefighters from Malaga for whom cooking for 20 or more was an effortless relaxing way to spend time with friends after a long walk. They created a wonderful albergue atmosphere for people of all kinds, people who in other instances would not probably have spent much time together. I was very happy to be the official chopper, and got pretty proficient at using some of those albergue knives, but I would have done a whole lot better with the amazing knife you have bought!

Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Laurie has a point--- everybody has their own Camino and the walking of it is what matters. How and what we eat is up to us. There is much to be said for the albergue kitchen and just as much to be said for seeing what the local cooks prepare. Either way, the food fuels the walking and keeps us grinning even as we get drenched yet again.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Hi,
If its good enough for the locals it is sure good enough for me. This is the Camino so we should all try and live the life of a true pilgrim as close as possible.
Or maybe we are on the " Master Chef " TV programme.
Why not just enjoy the regional food cooked by the locals along the Camino? The idea of carrying spices and a cooktop is as offensive to me as searching out a McDonald's for a burger and coffee!
I do enjoy the regional food. I enjoy it very much, in fact. My experience, however, suggests that most of the pilgrim's meals tend to have little variety to them (just another form of the McDonalds phenomenon), and to really enjoy the local/regional cuisine, I have to be willing to go to an actual restaurant or get the "menu del dia" several blocks away from the pilgrim route (and, yes, I do that quite often).

I also believe in supporting the local economy, which is why I tend to spend close to as much on the meals as I otherwise would with menu del dia (I'm spending against a budget, and cook opportunistically). BUT, what I get when I cook is a better quality of food (and more of it), a higher quality of wine (and more of it), greater focus on healthy, fresh food, more vegetables, more protein, etc. Instead of supporting a bar owner, I am supporting a supermercado owner.

So let's not kid ourselves, it still goes back into the local economy whether I eat the same bland tinned and microwaved food day after day that is low protien and high fat/carbs, or I make a communal meal as a selfless gift for other. On top of this, I also enjoy cooking for others (if it was just me, I would more likely go out than cook), and if that contributes to the delight and enjoyment of others, I would think that is ALSO a trait of a pilgrim, unless I am completely clueless about what it means to be a pilgrim.

Bottom line, if you don't like to cook, or don't care to cook, that's just fine with me. You're not a lesser pilgrim or person because you eat out. Many of us, however, DO enjoy cooking as a gift to other people, and many of us DO enjoy receiving that gift, so I would appreciate the same respect that I offer for those who have a different perspective than I do.

So, please, let's keep this thread on it's original purpose rather than derailing it with why that purpose is wrong.
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I would also suggest that Koilife learn enough Castilian to beg or buy herbs from gardeners along the way. While most villages and towns only had markets twice a week, if I recall correctly, Spain is full of militant and competent gardeners, and you would easily be able to enquire at the tabac or a bar for someone who could sell you some produce from their garden. While this wouldn't work everywhere or every time, I think it would be a delightful way to help out the local economy and meet people.
That is a GREAT idea!!!
 

Monk Moses

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. 2014
I do enjoy the regional food. I enjoy it very much, in fact. My experience, however, suggests that most of the pilgrim's meals tend to have little variety to them (just another form of the McDonalds phenomenon), and to really enjoy the local/regional cuisine, I have to be willing to go to an actual restaurant or get the "menu del dia" several blocks away from the pilgrim route (and, yes, I do that quite often).

I also believe in supporting the local economy, which is why I tend to spend close to as much on the meals as I otherwise would with menu del dia (I'm spending against a budget, and cook opportunistically). BUT, what I get when I cook is a better quality of food (and more of it), a higher quality of wine (and more of it), greater focus on healthy, fresh food, more vegetables, more protein, etc. Instead to supporting a bar owner, I am supporting a supermercado owner.

So let's not kid ourselves, it still goes back into the local economy whether I eat the same bland tinned and microwaved food day after day that is low protien and high fat/carbs, or I make a communal meal as a selfless gift for other. On top of this, I also enjoy cooking for others (if it was just me, I would more likely go out than cook), and if that contributes to the delight and enjoyment of others, I would think that is ALSO a trait of a pilgrim, unless I am completely clueless about what it means to be a pilgrim.

Bottom line, if you don't like to cook, or don't care to cook, that's just fine with me. You're not a lesser pilgrim or person because you eat out. Many of us, however, DO enjoy cooking as a gift to other people, and many of us DO enjoy receiving that gift, so I would appreciate the same respect that I offer for those who have a different perspective than I do.

So, please, let's keep this thread on it's original purpose rather than derailing it with why that purpose is wrong.
Great post Koilife! I too hope to cook a few nice meals to share along the way!

Buen Camino!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Great post Koilife! I too hope to cook a few nice meals to share along the way!

Buen Camino!
My original post was not a criticism of anyone who cooks in the evening; quite the reverse. Spaniards never eat before 10pm at night so I nearly always make myself a salad or something similar for my evening meal. And I love the communal aspects of sharing and eating together. To have someone offer the gift of their cooking talents -fabulous! I was just trying to let people know that the so-called "pilgrim menu" offered in the early evening is not usually a good example of local food - it is specifically for the pilgrims, as cheaply as possible. Whereas the midday (actually about 2pm) menu del dia is what the locals eat.
 

Agnogel

A very great full pilgrim
Hi Koilife
I will be walking the camino at the end of August and i intend to sleep under the stars a few nights and cooking for my self and maybe a few others also if the need arises, I do some wild camping on my motorcycle trips and it helps to be a bit adventurous when it comes to fending for one self, Keeping the menu silmple and useing local produces is the way to go when you have basic cooking facillitys available to you. I will be bringing an electric heating coil for making coffee and soup in the alburques, a sharp folding knife http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Elf-Monkey-B102-Outdoor-Survival-Pocket-Folding-Knife-Hunting-Knife-440C-Plating-Titanium-Blade-Steel-Aluminum/919602481.html and a rift alcohol stove that i made from a few drink cans for cooking out in the open,
What ever you carry it needs to be multi fuctional the alcohol you can get it any farmacie or hardware store in Spain and its very good for harding the skin on your feet and an antiseptic for medical needs and you can use it to wipe down a kitchen surface or utensils if you so need, There is no need to bring a knife sharpener all you do is turn a coffee cup or mug upside down and sharpen the knife on the unglased porcelin ring http://www.wimp.com/sharpenyour/ . Even if you dont have kitchen utensils in the alburques but they have a hot plate or gas cooker aluminium foil will serve as a frying pan or oven just wrap the food your cooking in a few sheets with a little olive oil or water depending on your menu and place over the cooker, If you have not done this before it would be good to practice before you go.
As said you need to be adventurous with your menu an example you could make garlic bread with a local cheese toping just by sprinkeling a small amount of olive oil on the bread with crushed garlic (that you have crushed with the side blade of your knife by placing the clove of garlic on a counter top again with a sheet of foil under it and pounding it with your fist) the cheese wraping it in two sheets of foil placing it on the stove and turning it every minute in order that it is heated all over untill cooked,
Chicken brests can be fried or grilled in a little oil the same way by making a parcel with the foil and add lets say red or yellow peppers sliced in tinish strips with some chopped onions and seasoning to taste.
We might just start a tread with fellow pilgrims surgesting different ideas,
Your meals need to cook quickley dont go trying to cook large chunks of veg that take forever to soften or cook through i wish you a bon appetit and a buen camino.
 

Monk Moses

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. 2014
My original post was not a criticism of anyone who cooks in the evening; quite the reverse. Spaniards never eat before 10pm at night so I nearly always make myself a salad or something similar for my evening meal. And I love the communal aspects of sharing and eating together. To have someone offer the gift of their cooking talents -fabulous! I was just trying to let people know that the so-called "pilgrim menu" offered in the early evening is not usually a good example of local food - it is specifically for the pilgrims, as cheaply as possible. Whereas the midday (actually about 2pm) menu del dia is what the locals eat.

Hi Kanga. I also like your idea of eating the menu del dia in mid afternoon! Thanks for the great advise.

Buen Camino

Fr. Moses
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
My original post was not a criticism of anyone who cooks in the evening; quite the reverse. Spaniards never eat before 10pm at night so I nearly always make myself a salad or something similar for my evening meal. And I love the communal aspects of sharing and eating together. To have someone offer the gift of their cooking talents -fabulous! I was just trying to let people know that the so-called "pilgrim menu" offered in the early evening is not usually a good example of local food - it is specifically for the pilgrims, as cheaply as possible. Whereas the midday (actually about 2pm) menu del dia is what the locals eat.
Kanga, I recognized your point completely, and I completely agree with it. If I'm not planning to cook, my goal is like yours --- to arrive and have my main meal prior to siesta with something light in the evening. I try to eat moderately twice as I walk --- second breakfast about an hour after I start in the morning, and a late morning snack --- to keep my energy up. My preference is one large meal each day, either pre-siesta menu del dia (often at an off-camino cafe or restaurant), or the meal I make in the early evening.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
These are "hiking" pepper and salt mills - stainless steel and acrylic bodied, ceramic grinders and with lid cups ... cheap too! - light but don't know the exact weight ... they are about 2 1/2 inches high (just under 60mm)

http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/quest-salt-and-pepper-camping-mills-p141468
I agree with fresh ground salt and pepper. Even at the dinner table, it makes for a tasteful (in every sense) addition.

I've scoured a half dozen online stores in the US, and cannot find anything like these mills of yours. Can you weigh them empty for me? I'd like to make sure they're light enough for me to mentally justify the expense of shipping overseas. Or, if anyone has a US-based source of lightweight grinders, that would be appreciated.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Hi Koilife
I will be walking the camino at the end of August and i intend to sleep under the stars a few nights and cooking for my self and maybe a few others also if the need arises, I do some wild camping on my motorcycle trips and it helps to be a bit adventurous when it comes to fending for one self, Keeping the menu silmple and useing local produces is the way to go when you have basic cooking facillitys available to you.
I do a lot of backpacking and prefer alcohol-based stoves (either pop-can stoves like yours, or my heavier Trangia, depending on the circumstance); I use Everclear because the fumes are less toxic and the Everclear itself is multi-functional . . . ;)

Although I also tend to cook more complex meals while backpacking, my preference is not to entertain over a small backpacking stove. So, absent a kitchen, I plan just to eat out. I do think there is merit to your idea of a cookbook of sorts, not unlike the "tupperware" cooking described by HeidiL above. You might open a separate post inviting quick and easy recipes without need for a full kitchen.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I apologize for my indelicate choice of words, there was no offense intended. I cook from time to time usually in the larger towns and more often than not it is a comfort meal like spaghetti carbonara. I prepare a bowl large enough to share with anyone with an appetite for my cooking and savor the remains for breakfast the next morning after a warm up in the microwave oven which always seems to be available. Anything I buy at the supermarche and fail to use gets left behind at the albergue and you will find the kitchen cupboards in most places have enough supplies to feed a small army, at least spice-wise;).
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I agree with fresh ground salt and pepper. Even at the dinner table, it makes for a tasteful (in every sense) addition.

I've scoured a half dozen online stores in the US, and cannot find anything like these mills of yours. Can you weigh them empty for me? I'd like to make sure they're light enough for me to mentally justify the expense of shipping overseas. Or, if anyone has a US-based source of lightweight grinders, that would be appreciated.
Here they are:

Crate and Barrel make mini salt and pepper grinders as well but ridiculously pricey.

http://www.shopmastrad.com/Mini_Salt_and_Pepper_Grinders_Stainless_Steel_p/a27752.htm

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0046BTXIE/?tag=ivarrekve

And a review of "travel" salt and pepper mills as well as other travel kitchen stuff:

http://www.themoveablechef.com/mini-pepper-grinder-product-review/
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I agree with fresh ground salt and pepper. Even at the dinner table, it makes for a tasteful (in every sense) addition.

I've scoured a half dozen online stores in the US, and cannot find anything like these mills of yours. Can you weigh them empty for me? I'd like to make sure they're light enough for me to mentally justify the expense of shipping overseas. Or, if anyone has a US-based source of lightweight grinders, that would be appreciated.
I was just trying to find a way to spend my REI annual member discount and saw that they have something too. http://www.rei.com/search?query=pepper+grinder
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I was just trying to find a way to spend my REI annual member discount and saw that they have something too. http://www.rei.com/search?query=pepper grinder
I actually own one, and it grinds decently. It comes in on my scale at an empty weight of 2.6 oz for one grinder (REI claims 2.5). With contents, the pair will land in the 6 to 7 oz. range, which is a serious dent in my goal of less than 16 ounces. I'm still holding out for something in the 1.5 oz. empty range.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Lynnejohn --- Thanks for the links. I had already left an inquiry on Amazon as to the empty weight of of the Orka minis. The answer was 5 oz., but I'm not sure how precise was the scale used by the respondent. I'm still hoping to get one closer to 1.5 oz / or 3 oz for an empty set. There is another mill there that I'm hoping will land closer to my target weight and provide quality grinding . . .
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005O1C2RY/?tag=ivarrekve
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I apologize for my indelicate choice of words, there was no offense intended.
No harm, no foul. Perhaps we can prepare a meal together some time! Perhaps we'll make Quarter Pounders with Cheese . . . ;)

Travel well this summer, my friend.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia
I do enjoy the regional food. I enjoy it very much, in fact. My experience, however, suggests that most of the pilgrim's meals tend to have little variety to them (just another form of the McDonalds phenomenon), and to really enjoy the local/regional cuisine, I have to be willing to go to an actual restaurant or get the "menu del dia" several blocks away from the pilgrim route (and, yes, I do that quite often).

I also believe in supporting the local economy, which is why I tend to spend close to as much on the meals as I otherwise would with menu del dia (I'm spending against a budget, and cook opportunistically). BUT, what I get when I cook is a better quality of food (and more of it), a higher quality of wine (and more of it), greater focus on healthy, fresh food, more vegetables, more protein, etc. Instead of supporting a bar owner, I am supporting a supermercado owner.

So let's not kid ourselves, it still goes back into the local economy whether I eat the same bland tinned and microwaved food day after day that is low protien and high fat/carbs, or I make a communal meal as a selfless gift for other. On top of this, I also enjoy cooking for others (if it was just me, I would more likely go out than cook), and if that contributes to the delight and enjoyment of others, I would think that is ALSO a trait of a pilgrim, unless I am completely clueless about what it means to be a pilgrim.

Bottom line, if you don't like to cook, or don't care to cook, that's just fine with me. You're not a lesser pilgrim or person because you eat out. Many of us, however, DO enjoy cooking as a gift to other people, and many of us DO enjoy receiving that gift, so I would appreciate the same respect that I offer for those who have a different perspective than I do.

So, please, let's keep this thread on it's original purpose rather than derailing it with why that purpose is wrong.
Couldnt have said it better! I love to cook and if its for others even better, That said im packing everything including the kitchen sink LOL, Buen Camino
 

TioRay

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Preparing to be on the Camino April 2014
Jeff, Let someone else bring the sink, you have enough to carry already.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully leave the states 2nd week of April 2014, Right now i am lost in my existence of living my life and need a cleansing before making my move to Cambodia

TioRay

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Preparing to be on the Camino April 2014
Of course. Anything for a good dinner, my friend.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I just ordered a ceramic Kyocera Legend 6" chef's knife at 1.6 to 1.8 oz (I have yet to get it on my gram scale). This comes in at half (or less) than any 3" pocket knife I've come across, making (for me) an easy decision to bring a proper chef's knife in place of a large pocket knife (my standard 1" 'Classic' Victronix/Swiss Army Knife is sufficient for everything else I would need from a pocket knife).
So, the knife arrived, and I'm disappointed to say that it weighed in significantly more than the website information --- 84 grams (107 with my edge guard) --- though that is still lighter than even my lightest 3" pocket knife. BUT, holy smokes, it works beautifully.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a keeper for purpose of my superlight mobile kitchen kit.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I agree with fresh ground salt and pepper. Even at the dinner table, it makes for a tasteful (in every sense) addition.

I've scoured a half dozen online stores in the US, and cannot find anything like these mills of yours. Can you weigh them empty for me? I'd like to make sure they're light enough for me to mentally justify the expense of shipping overseas. Or, if anyone has a US-based source of lightweight grinders, that would be appreciated.

Sorry - only just realised I hadn't answered ... a mistake by the way, it is my supermarket ones that have caps, these ones don't, the cap pulls off to refill (I'm getting old) .. they are pretty light but they aren't quite in your weight limit. Each one weighs 52 gms - 1.8 ounces empty.
I suppose that if one's knife had the right shape at the end of the handle one could grind one's own salt and pepper in a small bowl or mug?
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
.. . . Each one weighs 52 gms - 1.8 ounces empty. I suppose that if one's knife had the right shape at the end of the handle one could grind one's own salt and pepper in a small bowl or mug?
1.8 each is still viable. If I only took one mill, pepper is the more likely candidate for mortar/pestle treatment. My chef's knife has a very light vinyl handle, but a perfect metal butt to use as a pestle. Thanks for the feedback and the great idea!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
1.8 each is still viable. If I only took one mill, pepper is the more likely candidate for mortar/pestle treatment. My chef's knife has a very light vinyl handle, but a perfect metal butt to use as a pestle. Thanks for the feedback and the great idea!
They are neat little mills but I should tell you that they grind fine, really fine. They are just about perfect for when in a cafe and wanting to add real salt and pepper to a couple of fried eggs or some carbonara but they aren't 'culinary' as they grind too fine and too little for adding to dishes when cooking. Also, the reservoirs are small. As a chef interested in cooking whole meals on Camino you might end up pulling all your hair out trying to use these - think of them instead as personal "already cooked food assist" items .. I will weigh my larger mills that I get from supermarkets ... they grind as full size ones do - will post tomorrow (with weight).
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
They are neat little mills but I should tell you that they grind fine, really fine. They are just about perfect for when in a cafe and wanting to add real salt and pepper to a couple of fried eggs or some carbonara but they aren't 'culinary' as they grind too fine and too little for adding to dishes when cooking. Also, the reservoirs are small. As a chef interested in cooking whole meals on Camino you might end up pulling all your hair out trying to use these - think of them instead as personal "already cooked food assist" items .. I will weigh my larger mills that I get from supermarkets ... they grind as full size ones do - will post tomorrow (with weight).
@David - Never thought of the supermarket ones. They, and others including Bodum are seen here. I never knew there were so many. I have always brought my own pimiento negro as I really dislke the white pepper-ish stuff on the tables in many Spanish restaurants. Now I'm thinking I might bring one of these little combos...

http://www.soap.com/html/sg/mccormick-salt-and-pepper-grinders.html
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
They are neat little mills but I should tell you that they grind fine, really fine. They are just about perfect for when in a cafe . . . but they aren't 'culinary' as they grind too fine and too little for adding to dishes when cooking. Also, the reservoirs are small. As a chef interested in cooking whole meals on Camino you might end up pulling all your hair out trying to use these - think of them instead as personal "already cooked food assist" items.
@David, I've only considered them for table use from the beginning. In whole meal cooking, I would be fine with already ground S&P, as the taste of fresh grinding is generally muted during the cooking process, but most evident when applied at the table.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
@David - Never thought of the supermarket ones. They, and others including Bodum are seen here. I never knew there were so many. I have always brought my own pimiento negro as I really dislke the white pepper-ish stuff on the tables in many Spanish restaurants. Now I'm thinking I might bring one of these little combos...

http://www.soap.com/html/sg/mccormick-salt-and-pepper-grinders.html
So many choices!!! I just weighed my supermarket ones (which are relegated to the caravan - the lighter Quest ones being the backpack kit) and they are heavy - 96 gms - 3.4 ounces each empty. Incidentally, they look like once empty they are throwaways but the plastic mill top can be carefully prised off to refill - though they are only hard plastic mill grinders and do eventually wear out ....
..... hhmm .. good sea salt isn't a problem as one can buy fine and take some in a container ... but pepper corns ... anyone know how long they stay fresh and pungent (well, alright, peppery) after grinding? If in a grip-seal would fresh ground stay fresh for a few weeks or just a few days? (I feel an experiment coming on!).

I am really liking this thread - to go back to the original question .. good point about certain herbs and spices in grip-seals, almost no weight at all, and I accept that for a real cook to carry one's own good knife is a necessity.
I don't cook 'real meals' but always carry salt, pepper and a small plastic bottle of olive oil. The problem with a small container of oil is that it doesn't last long and one has to top up by buying a glass bottle, refilling the plastic one, and then leaving the rest behind (which is a cool find for the next pilgrims of course) ... I think one can abandon the peeler and just use one's pocket knife.
I quite like the idea of a light cutting board as it could also be used as a seat on wet grass, a letter-writing desk, a tray, a lap table ..... though - how about a Frisbee? Seriously. They are very light, can be cut on, turned upside down and used as a plate, and also one can play with them!
I carry bread, cheese, and sausage with me to eat as I go, foraging in shops on the way for tomatoes and yoghurts and so on and always carry dried pasta with me - cook that in water, add some pared cheese and sausage, with oil, salt and pepper, et Voila! Nutritous meal! The only thing I miss is Tamari really and tomato puree. Perhaps I should take some. Oh dear, you have me thinking now .. perhaps I should carry some rice ... when cooked an egg and some chopped onion fried into it, a few chives ..... oh dear ...
My 'tools' are a pocket knife (with corkscrew), a napkin (absolute necessity!!) and a spoon (how else does one eat yoghurt?).

I'm serious about the Frisbee as a cutting board option.
 
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weekjchammings

KEITH JOHN
Camino(s) past & future
GR10 HENDAYE - BANYULS SUR MERE 600+ MILES 2002 WITH MY SON.
ABERGAVENNY - BEAUPREAU TWIN TOWN 2009
ENGLISH SOUTH WEST COASTAL PATH 630 MILES 2010.
LE PUY EN VELAY -SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE 2011 1,000+ MILES
ABERGAVENNY WALES - MONT ST MICHEL - ST JEAN PdP - CAMINO FRANCES FRANCE - FINISTERRE 2013 1,400+ MILES.
SEVILLA - SANTIAGO VIA DE LA PLATA 2014
LISBON - PORTO - SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE CAMINO PORTUGUESE. 2016.
CAMINO DE LEVANTE PLANNED 2017.
Why not just enjoy the regional food cooked by the locals along the Camino? The idea of carrying spices and a cooktop is as offensive to me as searching out a McDonald's for a burger and coffee!
Hi biarritzdon,
I have the answer to all their prayers......9 inch granite mortar & pesil weight 24 lbs or 10886 grms.........A few giant HELIUM FILLED BALL....oonS.............Thus reducing the total weight to GROUND ZERO. All problems solved now time TO WALK THE WALK INSTEAD OF TALK THE TALK.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Hi biarritzdon,
I have the answer to all their prayers......9 inch granite mortar & pesil weight 24 lbs or 10886 grms.........A few giant HELIUM FILLED BALL....oonS.............Thus reducing the total weight to GROUND ZERO. All problems solved now time TO WALK THE WALK INSTEAD OF TALK THE TALK.
Hmmm. I may have to think about that . . . Maybe my clothing Ziplocks could double as helium balloons. Replacing all that heavy air with light helium would actually make the helium multipurpose . . . As the the mortar and pestle, I didn't list it because I assumed everyone carried one.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
I'm serious about the Frisbee as a cutting board option.
That's actually not a bad idea if one brings a frisbee in the first place (I didn't, but I saw several who did). It would just have to be cleaned really well before and after use each time. Not sure if there would be any health issues with the particular plastic blend in most frisbees.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Mortar and Pestle? I thought everyone carried one. I keep mine in my galvanised bucket.
 

CaminoKris2013

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
For many pilgrims that "few euros extra" is a complete no. So many are on tight budgets ... eating a lunch and an evening meal out can easily cost 18 or 20 euros, add in a glass of wine or two and a couple of coffees and you are looking at 25 to 30 euros .. over 35 days that adds up to a whopping 1,000 Plus Euros!!

I have met many pilgrims who saved for years to go on pilgrimage and every penny was hard won .... so .. when any of you speak of eating out all the time as an 'easy' option, please do remember that not all are wealthy (and if you can afford to eat out every day then you are wealthy), many, many, are cash poor ... but these pilgrims then have the benefit of eating fresh produce, the fun of cooking in an unknown kitchen, sharing meals with other pilgrims who do not go to restaurants .... the simplicity of simple food .. bread and cheese and olives, for instance ... nothing wrong with that at all ...

so, please, think on, anyone who wants to mention what a "true pilgrim" is - we see the world through our own perspective - which means that others are NOT as we think we see them .... don't you think??

Buen Camino ;)
I wish I could like this more than once. While I definitely plan on eating out, I will need to watch my pennies. My budget is 15€ per day for food max.

Kris
 

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