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the most important (and controversial) bit
- How to make food for a large group
- During the Biketour you will be responsible for preparing food for the group. Not many people have experience in dealing with food for such a large group so no-one is going to expect you to be an expert, but you will be expected to have a go. Whatever you make, not everyone will like it - it will be too spicy for someone, too salty for someone else, too garlicky for someone else etc, but the point of taking turns to make dinner is that everyone has the experience of cooking for the group some days and on others the possibility to sit back and relax after cycling. When preparing food for the Biketour, there are six main things to think about:
- There is no firm rule for quantities of food per person, so it's better to ask someone more experienced.
- In the evenings it is better to have too much than too little, as the leftovers can be eaten for breakfast, but on at least one occasion this has become a little extreme.
- If we have food left over from breakfast or lunch it can be difficult or impossible to carry, so please don't buy too many foods which can't be carried, such as dairy products, or which might spill in the trailer, such as honey.
- There will be a limited budget for food so please try to stick to it. There are a few guidelines to help with this:
- Don't buy tinned food if a dry version is available. Beans can be soaked in plastic bottles whilst they are being carried in the trailer, which saves on money and environment-damaging packaging.
- Avoid exotic and out-of-season fruit and vegetables.
- Less processed food is generally cheaper (and healthier).
- Try to buy more filling food rather than treats which people can buy themselves.
- Don't buy anything packaged if an unpackaged version is available
- Buy glass bottles (preferably returnable) rather than plastic and try to avoid tetra-paks altogether as they can't be recycled.
- You can empty the contents of returnable bottles into your own water container and return the bottle straight away.
- Paper packaging is better than plastic because it biodegrades.
- Try to avoid getting plastic bags with your shopping.
- try to avoid aluminium packaging soft or hard
- Food miles/local economy
- When making your favourite recipes, be flexible about the ingredients and try substituting more local ingredients than you usually use. Try to support the local economy by buying directly from producers or from small shops and markets. Avoid supermarkets at all if possible - these put smaller shops and markets out of business and cannot buy from small local producers because they need to deal in huge quantities of food to keep their costs low. They also sell tasteless fruit and vegetables because they are bred to be big and shiny, not to taste good. For more on the problems of supermarkets, see the 'food & agriculture' research of http://www.corporatewatch.org. Often you can find farms on the way selling fruits and vegetables and herbs, you can't get it more direct!
- All meals on Biketour should be vegan, and other dietary requirements should be taken into account depending on the participants. Vegans don't eat any products from animals, such as meat, fish, eggs, ham, milk, cream, cheese, or yoghurt, and most eat no honey. In certain products it is necessary to look out for less obvious ingredients such as whey powder eg. in vegetable margarine. For breakfast, as long as there are some vegetables or fruits and vegan spreads (such as jam, peanut butter, tahini, vegetable margarine, some mustard) everything should be fine. Please make sure there is enough for everyone before taking a large portion or seconds for yourself. Think of people who aren't present when food is ready because they are busy with another task and keep them some from food aside.