Like many grey nomads, there’s nothing Heather and Steve Jones love better after a big day of travelling, bushwalking or sightseeing than sitting down to a hearty meal.
And, after many winter trips north, they have become dab hands at the fine art of cooking on the road.
When the weather’s fine and then mood takes them, they can get things sizzling outside using their Baby Weber, frypan, gas cookers or the campfire. If not, they are really happy with the kitchen in their Traveller Utopia caravan.
Heather insists cooking in a modern van is really no different from cooking at home, just a little less space and – at least in her case – no dishwasher.
“I know some people think the smell of cooking will linger in the van, but I have found it doesn’t,” said Heather. “I use ventilation always when cooking, even in cold, wet weather.”
Heather uses the oven to cook roasts, casseroles, quiches, pizzas, bread and cakes, as well as baked vegetables and cauliflower au gratin.
“I also use my slow cooker if we are in a caravan park with power as it’s a great way to cook silverside and stews,” she said. “My pressure cooker is also used for doing a quick stew and also for making soup.”
Outside, the Baby Weber is very much Steve’s domain and Heather says he cooks a very nice pork roast with ‘always perfect’ crackling. With two gas hot plates and an oven, the couple doesn’t choose to ‘slave over a camp fire’ too often.
The microwave – which has a griller function in it – also gets a regular workout.
“I buy up packet gravies when on special,” said Heather. “So, I always have pork gravy, or lamb, chicken available and just pop them in the microwave.”
The couple say they eat very similarly to how they do at home, with plenty of fresh veges, chicken, meat, and fruit.
One thing though is generally off the menu.
“I don’t do a lot of desserts due to our expanding waistlines,” said Helen. “But I can easily do an apple pie with frozen pastry and ice cream if we do decide to be naughty!’
With Tulip, their much-loved Rag Doll cat in tow, the Adelaide-based couple will be seeking to avoid the winter chill later this year by hooking up the van and heading up the WA coast and across to Darwin. And they’ll doubtless be cooking up a storm as they go.