Categories
Living New Zealand Truck

Keeping food cold – off grid

We have been Finally getting some work done on the truck.  You know, trying again to take care of the essentials. We figure why not giving keeping food cool or cold another shot.  I am happy to say that we have made strides in this area.  As you know, we have chosen to live off grid with solar, and some gas bottles. Not as earth friendly as we want but some steps in the right direction. A huge problem for us is keeping our food from spoiling. I am now pleased to say that for the first time since we have gotten our truck we have a working system in which our food doesnt go bad faster than we think it should.. I have done heaps of research and still doing more but here is what I have come up with, so far.

[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Pantry [/nzs_heading] Keep in mind that this is in the kitchen cabinet and not in the sun. Following the advice of Beth who has traveled the world in a boat without refrigeration, in addition to the normal non-refrigerated items I keep jam and sauces, including mayo out of the fridge. My sauces, especially mayo, are in squeeze bottles to keep from contamination, which causes spoilage. Following the advice of an apauled frenchman, i buy aged real cheese and take it out of the plastic and wrap it in a clean cloth and put it on the shelf. My eggs are also here. my onions, garlic, citrus and kiwi fruit are also here.

[nzs_heading heading=”3″] windowsill [/nzs_heading] Many things can be seen sprouting from my windowsills. Including a head of lettuce or spinach that I find with the roots somewhat in tact. I put it in a flowerpot with water instead of soil. The leaves keep fresh longer and they are handy for grazing when we get the munchies.saladbr

 [nzs_heading heading=”3″] Cool box [/nzs_heading]Following the example of the Romany (Gypsies), I keep a cool box in the floor of the centre of my truck. this place is surprisingly cool and dark and has ventilation. I keep extra butter in here, on a small shelf, with my fruit and veg. i take care to keep foods separate that will cause the other to ripen faster. i keep potatoes here but not onions. i keep apples here but not kiwi fruit.
[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Fridge [/nzs_heading]You can probably tell that by this point, we dont need a big fridge. We have a 45 litre three way chest fridge that I keep in a bench seat with good ventilation going to the outside of the truck. We need to fill the gas bottle once a month. All we need in here is milk, yogurt, soft cheeses and meat. We run this fridge off gas after figuring out that to run a fridge off solar we would probably need a way more expensive fridge. A small chest fridge is good because it doesnt use as much gas. We scored this one quite cheap but if it dies we plan on replacing it with our own version of a “Coolgardie Safe”, which celebrares Australian inginuity, that doesnt use gas or electricity.

coolgardiebr

[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Crab pot [/nzs_heading]pot. We do have a collapsing crab pot that we drop in the water to cool drinks more than carching crustacians. Have you noticed that I have not mentioned cold drinks before? Over the years we have become accustomed to cool drinks rather than cold ones because we have been outside the states.

Next.[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Next? [/nzs_heading]I am thinking we will never get an expensive fridge. It just isnt a priority. A higher priority for us is figuring out how to keep more food out of the fridge. Salted fish, time to go fishing again, and hanging sausages are some of the next foods we want to try. We may even try potted meats.

Categories
Food Portugal

Thanksgiving

The biggest Thanksgiving turkey we ever had was 33 pounds (15 kilos) which just squeezed into our double oven. We served 45 people that day, in our home in Portland, Oregon. I was the chef, of course, which means that I took all the credit for the entire meal which was, to be honest, composed of many other food items that my wife had made – sweet potato souffle with marshmellow, jello salads, pumpkin pie – but he who cooks and carves the turkey wears the crown. Just the way it is.

CGC-ThanksgivingAn2.gif

We invited a lot of international students who wanted a real American thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that I was a New Zealander. There were Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. We all went round in a large circle giving thanks for what God had done for us. It took a while. It was a big happy memorable day. Hope you have the same today. We are having a slow and kind Thanksgiving here in Portugal.

For those of you outside USA, who only know of Thanksgiving from old episodes of Happy Days, Bob Beltz has an informative article on the history of Thanksgiving. And thanks to CG Grant and Co for sending me a nice Thanksgiving letter and this animated GIF that I appropriated.