The Dirtbag Gourmand: 5 Cheap Meals to Make on the Road
A tip to all the epicures out there: Never develop a passion for outdoor adventure. Exploring the wild will charge your life with cosmic meaning, you’ll lose lots of weight and meet lots of cool people – but it’ll hamstring your quest for gustatory pleasure. There’s no fresh baked bread or foie gras in the wilderness. If you can’t learn to live with eating oatmeal and peanut butter everyday, you would be wise to stick to the city.
But even dirtbags get wistful for fancy meals. On our last climbing trip, my friends and I quickly grew tired of the usual dirtbag staples – instant rice, Top Ramen, dehydrated beans. Sometimes I would dream about dining in a white table cloth restaurant. With a little imagination, however, we recreated fancy meals with limited food supplies, a pot and a one burner stove. Here are five delicious dirtbag variations of fancy meals.
Dirtbag Thai Peanut Noodles
Spagetti Noodles (other noodles are too expensive)
Peanut Butter (creamy works best)
Boil noodles until they reach that al dente sweet spot. Mix peanut butter and your favorite hot sauce – Tapatio is my favorite, but painters use many brushes. Combine your new Thai peanut sauce with noodles.
Dirtbag Surf and Turf
For when you have a hot date coming over to your camp! Open cans of tuna and beef with your knife (can openers are a waste of money.) In your pan, sautee meat with cheap beer – avoid anemic light beers, unless you’re afraid of flavor. Once meat is brown, serve over a bed of instant rice and top with hot sauce.
Dirtbag Shepherd’s Pie
Canned Beef Stew
Dehydrated Mashed Potatoes
A classic that tastes just like it was made in your favorite London pub! Rehydrate the potatoes with boiling water, then drizzle with beef stew. For an even more decadent meal, use cheesy potatoes.
Dirtbag Mole and Beans
Dehydrated Refried Beans
Top Ramen (without seasoning packets – you’ll need those for the next recipe)
Simply rehydrate the beans and break up the ramen into bite sized chunks. Add the broken up ramen to the beans for a satisfying crunch – they taste like tortilla chips, but are much cheaper. To make the dirtbag mole, mix Nutella with hot sauce. Drizzle over beans. Tortilla’s are an unessential extravagance for dirtbags, but they are a delicious compliment to this meal.
Salty Beefy Raisins
Top Ramen Flavor Packets
This delicious snack has no analogue in real world cooking – it’s an original dirtbag recipe that one of my friends concocted after we couldn’t eat anymore raisins. Simply take a beef Top Ramen flavor packet (or use a packet of chicken flavor for a Salty Chickeny variation) and mix to taste with raisins. You’ll know that you have the perfect seasoning-to-raisin ratio when the raisins begin tasting like they’re from the future, travelling through time to save you from bland food.
Above all, remember the essential spice of any dirtbag kitchen: hot sauce. No matter if it’s Frank’s, Tapatio or Sriracha, hot sauce is more important than salt and pepper. All food is improved with it: pbj, trail mix, oatmeal etc. The muse of the kitchen favors the bold!