Class B Motorhome Cooking 101: A Few Tips
A Class B Motorhome may be the perfect blend of “roughing it” and comfort.
It is more economical than a camper and much more versatile than a tent or trying to find cheap motels. Even the most bare-bones traveler can find a comfortable sleeping pad and acquire a few cooking utensils. Wait?.cooking? In a van? Yes! Ok, technically most of the cooking takes place outside of the van, but you still are creating hot, tasty meals instead of living on cold cheese sandwiches.
The first thing you need to do is get the right tools. Some are pricey, it’s true, but you can shop at thrift stores until you have all you need.
One pan that is absolutely necessary is a cast iron skillet. In any setting this pan is critical for the serious cook. Once properly seasoned the skillet is non-stick and can take a lot of abuse. You’ll use it for eggs, stir fries, pancakes, even steak when you can get it. In a pinch you can boil water and cook oatmeal in it as well.
Your next best buy is a pressure cooker. The real advantage to this is that it cooks food faster which uses less fuel. You can make quite a few super-tasty one pot meals once you get the hang of timing the cooking and stacking the different parts of the meal. A second advantage is that it’s a nice a nice way to make cheaper cuts of meat more tender. Sear the meat in the bottom of the pan with a bit of oil to give it some color, then add liquid, seal the lid and cook it for the necessary amount of time. Smaller cuts cook faster and are done in as little as ten minutes.
The third thing to consider is a Dutch oven. Usually made of cast iron, this heavy cooking utensil lets you mimic an oven. Really. You can even bake bread or make a cake if you would like. Many of them have a lid that doubles as a skillet and you may want to forgo having a separate cast iron skillet in your pantry to cut down on weight in your van.
A fun, but fairly expensive idea, is to get a grill that lets you cook with multiple fuels. Usually your choices are wood, briquettes and propane, but other types may be available. If your campsites are quite variable and sometimes include places without any fuel this might be worth the investment. If so, shop carefully to ensure that your pans will fit on your new grill.
Finally, if you have the capability of plugging in when you park think about getting a crock pot. These are great because you can turn them on, head off on your day’s adventure and return home to a fresh, hot meal. The downside is that they do need a constant source of power for several hours and may not be suitable for many conversion van campers.
Easier than you thought, isn’t it? So shelve the peanut butter and start gathering recipes for Dutch oven soufflé; even the roughest camper will be creating meals that their neighbors will be drooling over.