Thursday, August 23, 2018

Food For Thought | A No Cook, Backpacking Friendly, Vegan Approach to Meal Planning

My experiments with cold soaking left me thinking this technique was more fad than fix. Yes, it's an opportunity to ditch the stove and fuel, prepare meals faster and have reduced cleanup. However, between prep time (say, letting food soak for hours) and the less than stellar taste, I had more or less written off the approach.

But that's because I was doing it wrong (or so it seams). I know this because I believe I've found the guru of cold soaking: Paul the Backpacker. I first discovered Paul when I stumbled on an experiment of his to fashion a day's worth of food in one quart sized baggie. The resulting mix was intended to be soaked. You wouldn't think a 13 minute video on ground up food would be that interesting, yet Paul's plain spoken and direct style totally makes it watch-worthy.

Inspired by that video I've dug deeper into Paul's approach and I have to say I'm impressed. For one thing, he doesn't attempt to soak products for hours. Instead, he focuses on food that soaks for 10 ~ 20 minutes, often resulting in a cereal based consistency.

Paul's channel is about far more than just cold soaking. He goes beyond weight, convenience and raw calories, the usual hallmarks of back-country cooking. He focuses on making meals nutritionally optimized, and also happens to be vegan. For someone like myself who keeps Kosher on the trail, this is ideal.

Bottom line: this is a geeky take on food and cooking. There's no fancy production values here, just a guy who knows what he's talking about sharing his experience.

If you're a backpacker, long distance runner, traveler or really anyone who appreciates a unique view on food, you should check out his channel. His techniques should work equally well if you're in the back-country, on a long distance run or stuck in an airport terminal. I'm psyched to give his recipes a try.

Here's a few examples of his work:

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