food - what food to take

Food? That’s pretty simple.

Compact calories. Lots of them.

Delicacies and fine dining can wait for the towns.

The issue is this: from the reasonably well stocked supermarket in Leigh Creek to the next in Alice Springs there are weeks of riding, a few dozen brekkies and dinners. You can’t be too fussy, you are struggling to carry it.

Karratha to Newman via Karijini is 12 days. Norseman to Penong over the Nullabor takes a couple of weeks.

Some like fluffing around with cooking getting it exactly right. Others prefer hitting the road, (or getting horizontal) asap.

True confession: some monotony may be required at times.

Breakfast: muesli and a mug of real filtered coffee. Essential. The coffee is for early morning meditation, sitting and contemplating life, or the view from the campsite.

Dinner: spaghetti with sauce and parmesan, or occasionally for variety, cous cous (a commercial brand with tasty additives), or rice with a few dehydrated mushrooms and other veges. Dehydrated potato is possible for the desparate.

Spaghetti is the most compact pasta. The thin variety has an 8 minute cooking time. At least you feel you’ve eaten after you have scoffed a bucket of that. The tomato sauce comes in convenient sachets, some with herbs and spices. Parmesan cheese is long lived and adds plenty of flavour.

Cous cous is easy. Add boiling water and leave until it is cool enough to eat. Bingo. It’s useful for those occasions when you just gotta eat but can’t be stuffed cooking.

Lunch is the hard one. Bread is usually available at small stores and roadhouses, often white, spongy and frozen, (and $7). Cheese: it lasts a surprising time without refrigeration despite the oil flowing freely during the first few days.

Snacks? Whatever you can find.

Fruit can be hugely expensive and often unavailable in remote areas. $2 for a small banana anyone? $1.50 for a tiny apple?

A daily vitamin tablet and a weekly can of sardines is somewhat of a substitute.

Food takes a bit of planning when it’s 2 weeks to the next supermarket.

And believe it or not, it’s better to take a bit more than you think you need rather than finding yourself starving with another 200km to the next food store.