RV LIFE Podcast

A Journey into Cooking in An RV Kitchen: Making Gourmet Meals on the Open Road

November 29, 2023 Dan & Patti Hunt Season 2 Episode 57
A Journey into Cooking in An RV Kitchen: Making Gourmet Meals on the Open Road
RV LIFE Podcast
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RV LIFE Podcast
A Journey into Cooking in An RV Kitchen: Making Gourmet Meals on the Open Road
Nov 29, 2023 Season 2 Episode 57
Dan & Patti Hunt

Want to know what it's like to dish up gourmet meals while in a small RV space? Join us as our guest, AJ Forget, a modern nomad and culinary wizard, shares his adventures and practical advice for whipping up tasty meals in a tiny RV kitchen. AJ, who lives, works, and cooks in a converted school bus, gives us a peek into his wandering lifestyle, his decision to forgo a traditional oven, and his passion for crafting delicious dishes despite limited resources.

As we all know, RV kitchens are not known for their spaciousness, but that doesn't mean you can't produce mouthwatering meals. AJ author of The Buslife Kitchen  takes us on a tour of his RV kitchen, explaining how he navigates the challenges of limited storage, counter space, and height restrictions. From baking bread on a stovetop to roasting veggies in, AJ shares his strategies for making the most of what you have. His stories serve as a reminder that with a dash of creativity, a sprinkle of planning, and a good sense of humor, cooking in an RV can be both fun and fulfilling.

AJ Forget is the author of The Buslife Kitchen, a cookbook focused on cuisine for the modern nomad available on Amazon or at The Buslife Kitchen to get your signed copy.  
You also get a 25% off discount using code Shopsmall until Christmas 2023

But wait, there's more! Enter the realm of AJ's cookbooks, a treasury of recipes tailored for tiny kitchens. These culinary guides offer straightforward instructions for adapting complex dishes to your personal tastes, making cleanup a breeze, and even storing food efficiently in a small space. Whether you're an RV newbie or seasoned traveler, this episode is brimming with practical cooking tips, inspiring tales, and the infectious enthusiasm of AJ, who proves that a small kitchen can indeed hold grand culinary adventures. Grab your apron, tune in, and get ready to transform your RV kitchen into your new favorite place to cook!

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Membership Specialist Warren & Sharon Lewis 804-366-0798
CLEAR2O
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
Toll pass, all 48 state & customer support
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle great place to sell your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUNT20 for 20% off
Sponsors
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great ...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Want to know what it's like to dish up gourmet meals while in a small RV space? Join us as our guest, AJ Forget, a modern nomad and culinary wizard, shares his adventures and practical advice for whipping up tasty meals in a tiny RV kitchen. AJ, who lives, works, and cooks in a converted school bus, gives us a peek into his wandering lifestyle, his decision to forgo a traditional oven, and his passion for crafting delicious dishes despite limited resources.

As we all know, RV kitchens are not known for their spaciousness, but that doesn't mean you can't produce mouthwatering meals. AJ author of The Buslife Kitchen  takes us on a tour of his RV kitchen, explaining how he navigates the challenges of limited storage, counter space, and height restrictions. From baking bread on a stovetop to roasting veggies in, AJ shares his strategies for making the most of what you have. His stories serve as a reminder that with a dash of creativity, a sprinkle of planning, and a good sense of humor, cooking in an RV can be both fun and fulfilling.

AJ Forget is the author of The Buslife Kitchen, a cookbook focused on cuisine for the modern nomad available on Amazon or at The Buslife Kitchen to get your signed copy.  
You also get a 25% off discount using code Shopsmall until Christmas 2023

But wait, there's more! Enter the realm of AJ's cookbooks, a treasury of recipes tailored for tiny kitchens. These culinary guides offer straightforward instructions for adapting complex dishes to your personal tastes, making cleanup a breeze, and even storing food efficiently in a small space. Whether you're an RV newbie or seasoned traveler, this episode is brimming with practical cooking tips, inspiring tales, and the infectious enthusiasm of AJ, who proves that a small kitchen can indeed hold grand culinary adventures. Grab your apron, tune in, and get ready to transform your RV kitchen into your new favorite place to cook!

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Membership Specialist Warren & Sharon Lewis 804-366-0798
CLEAR2O
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
Toll pass, all 48 state & customer support
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle great place to sell your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUNT20 for 20% off
Sponsors
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great ...

Speaker 1:

Do you struggle to cook in your RV kitchen? This is the RV Life Podcast. I'm Dan Hunt with my incredible wife, patty Hunt. She's right over there next to me. She'll be within just a second or two. Now I'm going to ask you a question Do you really struggle to cook in that RV kitchen? Well, you don't have to anymore. Today's guest lives in 90 square feet, a converted school bus, and his book will teach you how to bake, to roast on your stove top, and when it comes to cooking, the sky is the limit. So watch out restaurants. You may not be getting the RV business anymore. Cooking is definitely different in an RV and a lot of our cooking gets done out on the grill, but Okay, yes, we do cook a lot on the grill and cooking in an RV is definitely challenging.

Speaker 2:

Now, just so people know, dan and I have been on the road full time and it's going on close to three years and just so you could picture our kitchen, we live in a 40-foot monocoque, so she's an older unit With two slides Just two slides on the one side, so it's a little tight in here and our kitchen space is probably a decent size for a lot of RVs Probably a decent size. We do have four burners. I had to check that. Actually we have three burners and we have a stove and we'll talk more about the stove. But traveling in the RV and trying to cook meals that you know, bigger, more interesting meals definitely a bit of a challenge. So we're very excited to hear from our guests today and how we can get those bigger special meals cooked.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and my answer up until this point is the restaurant is down the road, or you know, we do have one of those barbecues that's the suitcase size and you open it up and you know it gets some pretty good heat and we have a griddle top for that as well. So that works out for us very, very well Making breakfast on.

Speaker 2:

That has definitely been your forte, I'll say on that griddle and your famous pancakes, but I do miss some of that baking type things that are being made. So I'm excited to hear from our guests as to how to do some of these other recipes. You know that we can try.

Speaker 1:

We're going to talk about all kinds of things cooking in small space. I'm going to throw a curveball at him because I didn't talk to him about this up front, but we're going to talk about ovens and lack of ovens. We're going to talk about microwave ovens and then that famous convection oven that. Nobody really knows what a convection oven does, but it can be a really spectacular thing. So we're going to talk about all of those things right here on the RV Life podcast. Now, that's not me. It's time for today's fun fact. Our fun fact is brought to you by open road resorts with four great locations two in Montana, one in Idaho and one in Texas. We can't talk about Montana and Idaho yet because we haven't been there. We're planning on going up there this summer, but Texas, man, we had a great time there. What a wonderful facility that was.

Speaker 2:

It was a great campground. My favorite was the RV, literally. And again, we live in a class A, so we have a big front window and overlooking the lake I think it was called a lake, the lake with those sunsets every night just simply amazing. I can't describe it anything other than amazing.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely amazing and you know I'm going to throw a little bit of a plug in out there. We sat on our table out in front of our RV and we worked all day with this Lido table cloth. It makes the world of difference having a quality table cloth outside and we sat there. We had meetings with Chase Becker, the owner of Open Roads, or one of the owners of Open Roads Resorts, and we talked to him about upcoming projects and his advertising contract with us. But we really, really love the Lido table cloth. It is the center. That table out in front of our RV is the center of our campground life.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And if you go to our social media both Facebook and Instagram, rv Life Podcast you can see this beautiful yellow table cloth with these flowers on it. It just brightens up the whole area and there are a lot of choices. But I love that table cloth and you could check it out on our social media. But for the fun fact today, here's the fun fact RV ovens. The average RV oven sizes are about 17 to 21 inches wide. Now some are a little larger and obviously some are a little smaller, but that's the average and they're only about 11 to 16 inches tall. Now, to give you a comparison, a residential oven is about double the size, double. So when we first saw our oven in the RV, I didn't think we could cook anything in there, but I figured out how to move the rack around. The rack could move down. We actually used it for Thanksgiving dinner just a couple of days ago.

Speaker 1:

Yes, we did For the first time. You know, we're almost three years. In our first month, in our first maybe two weeks, we went out to Costco to, you know, get some supplies. And one of the supplies we got was one of those great big trays of eggs. I don't know how many eggs are on them, but it's one, two, three, I think. It's three and a half dozen on those grid square trays of eggs. And Patty and I didn't really have a system built yet because we were probably only in our first couple of weeks of being in the RV.

Speaker 1:

It was very, very dark outside and I went to hand the eggs up to Patty in the RV so I don't have to go up and down the stairs 15, 16 times, and she wasn't ready when I took my hand away and we had three and a half dozen eggs that were broken at eight o'clock in night in an RV park. So what do you do with three and a half dozen fresh eggs? I started to think and I started to think and I came up with let's make a quiche, because you need a lot of eggs for a quiche. So we got the best that we could and we put them all together and we made up a quiche and Not even thinking about the oven, not even not even a thought in the world about the oven. We had this beautiful glass Pytray. It was beautiful and we made the thing up.

Speaker 1:

I made a graham cracker crust from scratch. We really put it all together and Patty was ready to eat this quiche before it even got in the oven. Well, we go to put it in the oven. And the pie Dish did not fit in the oven from side to side. It just did not fit in the oven from side to side. So, not to be outdone, I Went outside, I pulled out my suitcase barbecue grill and I opened it up and I put the Flat grill thing on there and then I built an aluminum foil Air gap so we wouldn't burn the bottom of and we still burnt the bottom, but I put this aluminum foil air gap on there and I put it into the barbecue with the top closed at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and Everything came out great. The bottom got a little burnt. I'll be honest. The bottom was a little bit burnt.

Speaker 2:

It did. I'd love quiche and it just it was okay, it was edible, wasn't perfect. So I'm really hoping that AJ could help us with this problem, because I want a quiche and so I'm hoping and I'm giving him a heads up so he could come up with an idea in his head, because I have all the ingredients and I want to make a quiche.

Speaker 1:

Well, I will tell you, yesterday afternoon I spent the day reading, not the recipes, but there's a lot of dialogue in this book as well and he talks about the renovation of his School bus, which we'll talk about in depth in a little while. But we get the renovation of the school bus and you know the ovens and the differences and putting an oven to his decision to Not even put the darn oven in, just like our decision. You know you're trying to talk me into taking the washer and dryer out because you want the storage space.

Speaker 2:

Yes, oh, another conversation there. The oven we may just start using it, although think AJ is gonna have so many great suggestions. We won't need the oven, especially being warm here in Florida. We are in Florida lighting that oven just makes everything in the RV warmer, so I'm excited. Let's get to.

Speaker 1:

I'll tell you what. After I read this book and I have a copy it up on my screen there is a digital copy of it the oven size really doesn't bother me anymore, because he really explained and showed how you can actually bake and roast on the stove top. You don't need that darn oven down there. So I'm really, really, really excited about that. We are gonna go to our first break and we will be back right after this.

Speaker 3:

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Speaker 1:

With over 1,000 motorhomes available across multiple locations, national indoor RV centers continues to provide an outstanding, hassle free motorhome ownership experience. National indoor is the number one new Mar dealer in the nation and also features brands like Integra, winnebago and much more. Visit Rvccom and become a part of the national indoor RV centers family. You're listening to the RV life podcast. I'm Dan hunt with my Incredible wife, patty hunt. Our guest today is a chef, a writer, a traveler, a photographer, and he's a self-proclaimed Delatant. Okay, I know, not many of us know what the heck that word means, so I went and looked it up for you now. A Delatant is a person who Cultivates an area of interest such as the arts without any real commitment, meaning you didn't go to school and get a degree and in that kind of stuff or knowledge. Well, one of these areas that our guest today does have a real commitment to is cooking, and cooking in small spaces. As a matter of fact, he wrote a cookbook about it and I'm trying to get it up on my screen. It's called the bus life kitchen.

Speaker 1:

I spent the day yesterday reading this book. It's a quick read. There's a lot of recipes over a hundred recipes. Over a hundred 15 Crescene's. I think it was. Over a hundred recipes and 15 Crescene. Oh my goodness, it is really, really something. Now. It shows you, the RV life listener, how to do it yourself. It's available on Amazon. It's available through his website. You can even get a signed copy of this book from his website. And Patty I know Patty loves this part of it she talks to every one of our guests and gets a discount code, and she's got a discount code. She's gonna tell you about that and we will put all of the links and all of the names and all of that kind of Stuff. We're gonna put that all in the show notes right below. Or after you're off your walk or your bike ride or whatever you're listening to the RV life podcast, you can go to those show notes and get all the information so you can go right to it. You.

Speaker 2:

Today. I want to welcome our guest, AJ Forjey, and I hope I said that right. He's the author of the Bus Life Kitchen Cookbook. Welcome to the RV Life Podcast. Thank you so much for having me, Thank you for being here with us. So we want to just jump in and let's have our listeners get to know you. I guess the first question is why a school bus?

Speaker 4:

Well. So when I first met my wife, we were both independently thinking about doing the van thing and pretty quickly we decided that we were going to do it together and that with two of us and a dog, a van was just not going to cut it. So we found a deal on a short bus, got it for about $5,000, and started the build within about three months of meeting each other, and it's worked out really well.

Speaker 1:

AJ, the subtitle of your book, or the bottom tagline of your book, is Cuisine for the Modern Nomad. I've been talking to a couple different people about what is a modern nomad and everybody seems to have a different definition for that modern nomad.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's something that I've spent a lot of time thinking about and that it's a little bit hard to put a pin in because everybody has a different idea, like you said. But for me, I think what we're seeing is a lot of people who are sort of taking to the road, living full time, traveling full time in their rigs, but they're taking their life with them. You're not just on vacation. It's about getting out there and keeping working and living your life fully while on the move.

Speaker 1:

I've got to take a second here and say you've got to talk to all my friends, because all my friends think I'm just on a 24-hour vacation and I just packed up and left and we're just on vacation. This is our life now. We go from place to place and we have to pack up and set up and move the RV and all of that kind of stuff. So, believe me, full time RV living is not a 24-hour vacation. Now you get to do a lot of stuff and I've hit a lot of those basket list items, but I really have to point out that it's not a vacation.

Speaker 4:

I absolutely agree with that. Yeah, we spend a lot of time working and we do it in really beautiful places most of the time, but we're still definitely working every day.

Speaker 2:

So you're still working hard. I want to say something about that working. Dan and I are all about our mindset and we both had careers before we started this RV life. Dan was in the entertainment industry literally his entire life, worked really hard, long hours. I was a high school teacher for 20 years. So again, worked hard, long hours. And while we're all talking about this idea of work and working while we're on the road, I'm happier with the quote unquote work I do than I've ever been. So it sounds like, aj, when we spoke, you're really happy and excited about what you guys are doing.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely yeah, we both had different jobs. I was a wildland firefighter before this, but it's always been my dream to write and cook, and so, by making this decision to simplify our life a little bit, I got to really focus on what was most important.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so now you just answered a question for me. My brother was a firefighter for the US Forest Service for many, many years, and the US Forest Service has come up with what I refer to as the ugliest color of all the colors in the world, and that is the color you chose to paint your school bus.

Speaker 2:

Remember I told you, Dan, you're not allowed to insult our guests. Okay, why did you paint it that color?

Speaker 4:

It was largely a decision based on the name. We went to the store and we got about eight different colors and painted them on and did a little Instagram poll and things were pretty level. But the color that we chose was called artichoke, which is my wife Iona's favorite food, and that really sealed the deal for us.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so now I'm gonna be with you on this. I love artichoke, so as we get into this, I'm sure you're gonna share some great recipes for artichokes.

Speaker 4:

We have my family's unique favorite artichoke sauce in the book, which was a big ace in the sleeve when I started dating Iona.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I. But now I have to ask when you built the school bus, you chose not to put an oven in at all. Can you tell our listeners why you made that choice?

Speaker 4:

So there were a couple of reasons. Back when we started building, we were having trouble finding resources from other people who had put ovens in their rigs, and most of the conversions that we saw where people had put ovens in it didn't seem particularly safe or well done, and so that was one factor, and the other was that we just really don't have that much space in here. It's only about 90 square feet. Our whole kitchen counter is about four and a half five feet long, and we have to put our sink and our fridge in that same space, so we really just couldn't afford the space.

Speaker 2:

I just want our listeners to be clear. You did say 90 square feet, like 90.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, our living space, excluding the cab, which we have a swivel chair in there, that adds a little bit, but our living space is seven and a half feet by 12 feet, so it's just pretty tiny in here.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I guess I should stop complaining about the space we have in our 40 foot. Wow, that is tight. So everything in there has to have a purpose.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you can't afford to carry too much that you don't absolutely need, you know you hit on safety of another and this question came up to me the other day. We had never lit our oven, in whole honesty, and the reason we never lit it I found out later the previous owners and we bought this as a new to us RV when you turn the oven off, the pilot light in this oven goes off. One of the things that I'm thinking about safety, and I know you've done, you know after reading your book. I know you've done a whole bunch of research about ovens and heat and heat shields and all that kind of stuff that go in there. But let's talk a little bit about that pilot. It's in there, there's no flame and it's running all the time. Isn't that filling my RV up with LP natural gas?

Speaker 4:

You know, I would assume that it's not doing that, because that would be terribly dangerous. But yeah, that is something to be concerned about.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I didn't really sleep the last couple nights after cooking this Thanksgiving dinner, and you know, having that pilot light on in there doesn't bother me as much as not having it on in there making sure that there's no gas flow to that area. Now there are some tricks to cooking on a stove top without an oven. On page 48 of your book, you talk about how to do it and how you came up with a way to regulate it as well. Can you just tell that story to the listeners so they can understand? Because I'll tell you what if I'm talking to somebody who's about to buy a brand new RV and I tell them you know what?

Speaker 1:

Let me say this book and it talks about not using your oven at all. As a matter of fact, let's take it out. Most people would look at me like I was a nut, an absolute nut, but you have pretty much proven that we don't need it, and in some pretty ingenious ways too, I might add. So tell me about that temperature gauge that you put on the outside of the Dutch oven and how you do it with the ovens on the stove top.

Speaker 4:

Sure, yeah.

Speaker 4:

So when we didn't install the oven, it was clear that I was gonna have to figure out how to bake on the stove top, and it took a little while to find two and everything.

Speaker 4:

But the system that we came up with is we use a large cast iron pan with wire cooling rack in it, and what that wire cooling rack does is it lets you set whatever you're baking your baking dish or your pizza pan or whatever on the wire cooling rack and it creates an air gap around it, so you get that same dry heat cooking condition that you would have in an oven. You have to control the temperature a little bit. It's obviously more finicky than your standard home oven where you just set it to the right number, but if you heat up the pan first, get it to a nice temperature. We throw a little thermometer from our wood burning stove on the side which lets you see exactly how hot that cast iron is, and you throw whatever you're baking in there, cover it, try not to open it too much like a typical oven, and it's pretty reliable. We've baked pizza pies, cookies, cakes, just about anything roasted a turkey.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So wow, I gotta say. And now I'm hungry. So you've baked pies in it, you baked cakes, pizza, and you could get that crispness on the pizza and still not overcook the top of it.

Speaker 4:

You know it is a little bit of a challenge and requires the fine hand on the stove setting, I would say, to get the top just as well done as the bottom. There's definitely a tendency for the bottom to overheat, similar to any small oven where it's hard to get really consistent temperatures throughout, but it works pretty well for us.

Speaker 1:

Now, AG, I need you to help me here. Okay, my wife, my lovely wife, she's a twiddler. She just loves to look at stuff and move stuff around, Like she'll make eggs, and she moves them around in the pan instead of leaving them in one spot. But with this method of cooking, once you close that lid up on top, you really don't wanna take the top off. Is that correct?

Speaker 4:

I mean yes and no. As with any baking, it is ideal to open it as little as possible, but you can have a peek in every once in a while. Nice thing about using a cast iron pan is that cast iron holds heat really well, so once that top gets hot, it stays hot.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So I've got a solution here. Because I do not enjoy cooking. I love food. I guess I'm a foodie. I love all different types of foods except spicy, but I don't like cooking, so I don't wanna do what I don't like. So what I'm hearing from both of you is I'm gonna leave the cooking to you, dan, I'll go read a book while you're. We do have a cast iron pan, so I'll leave it to you. But I have to ask one of my favorite things that I've not been able to have since being in an RV is Akish. So what do you think, aj? Will this work with Dan making me Akish?

Speaker 4:

Sounds like he's ready for it. Sounds like he's got the knowledge he needs now.

Speaker 1:

Okay, aj, with over 100 recipes, 15 Crescins and many, many, many, many years of research and cooking and trying and, oh, that didn't work. You know that worked. Do you have a favorite recipe?

Speaker 4:

You know it's a question that I get a lot and it is a really difficult one to answer. You know I've worked hard at all of those and from the cookbook my favorite might just be the most complicated one, which is the Vietnamese Pesto Noodles with Clay Pot Pork. That one is. It's a few steps, but it's a dish that I came up with in its entirety based on my travels in Southern Vietnam trying to work those flavors into a Western-style pasta dish, and I think it's really fantastic.

Speaker 2:

And I gotta say what I'd like I wanna dive in a little more to the types of cooking, because when I look through the book, it's not your average everyday type meals. Now I did come across what you said was the best guacamole, so I can't wait to try that. But most of your recipes and you said 15 different types of cuisines they're not your average everyday recipes, right? How did you come up with so many different types of cuisines?

Speaker 4:

So a lot of it is inspired by travels. You know places I've been and cuisines that I've really loved. But a big part of the idea of the book was to get people out of the rut that they get into cooking on the road, because a lot of people that I talked to you know they have there four or five meals that they cook week after week because they know them and they taste good and they're easy. And this book is meant to not just show you all of the different things that you can cook but also, you know, get you excited about cooking some new cuisines and learning about some new foods and new places in the process.

Speaker 1:

New foods and new places in the process. You know we're gonna take a break, but after the break we're gonna talk about the challenges of RV cooking, how important is prep and prep space, which I don't have a lot of prep space, it's killing me. And we're gonna talk about Patty's favorite thing in the whole world cleanup and storage. And we'll be back right after this.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 3:

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Speaker 1:

Okay, aj, we're going to talk about the challenges of RV cooking. Let me just set this up a little bit for the listener. Have you ever got up in the morning and said you know what? I'm going to make pancakes, and I'm going to make eggs, and I'm going to make bacon and I'm going to make some potatoes, and I'm going to do the whole nine yards? And you start piling stuff out of the refrigerator and you don't have the space on the countertop to put everything. Not only do you not have the space, you don't have the height in a lot of cases Either to put like, even a milk carton down on our one counter. You can't put it down over there because it's too tall.

Speaker 1:

I know all of you that are RVers have experienced the challenges of not having enough space to do the things you want to do. Things like you know, when I make cinnamon rolls, you got to roll out the dough and there's just not enough room to roll out the dough. Now we have done some upgrades to our RV that you know. We put a tabletop in that's meant for an eating table, but Patty uses it as her desk and her RV Life Podcast desk. But it's big enough that we can do that kind of stuff now. So, as you did your research for this book and I know you're the kind of guy that really gets into researching things and kind of understanding how things work and how, why things are not working for people can you point out some of the challenges of RV cooking?

Speaker 4:

So definitely space in the fridge and the pantry on the counter. Those are all probably the top issues that folks have. Yeah, I mean, I think most of it is solved by careful planning and careful preparation.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yes, and certainly so. We're talking about space and the lack thereof, and I'm looking at our RV and thinking of this 90 square feet of space that you have compared to what I have, and I'm kind of visualizing it in my head as we sit here.

Speaker 2:

It's about, right up to the refrigerator, the refrigerator right, and then they're bed and they have a bed in here, so it sounds like it's. And again, your space is way smaller than ours. So while Dan's saying we don't have a lot of space, I mean I have a whole cappuccino machine in here and we pull out the mixer to mix up the mashed potatoes. So I think it's. It just depends. And what I hear you saying is you know you have to know what space you have and then prepare accordingly, right?

Speaker 4:

Absolutely yeah. I mean, you know, we have a little 70 liter fridge, about the size of a dorm mini fridge and obviously not a whole lot of counter space. No cappuccino machine in here, unfortunately, and we make do.

Speaker 1:

Right, I'll tell you what. One other thing Now. I went to cooking school a long, long time ago and one of the things that was just beat into my head is having the right tools to do the job. That can remember our little of Italian slash French teachers yelling and screaming. You have to have the right tools. You have to have the right tools. So one of the things when we went full time, I couldn't give up my KitchenAid mixer. I just couldn't give it up, and I know it's big and I know it's heavy, but the mashed potatoes that come out of that thing are absolutely incredible.

Speaker 2:

But let's talk a little bit. I'm laughing over here and I'm sorry Again. It just goes back to baking at work. We upgraded to a residential refrigerator, so I guess like half of our freezer is the size of the refrigerator you're talking about, but you've still been able to make incredible recipes. I mean, let's talk about some of the recipes and being able to have the foods that you need, cook it and then store it in that tight space and tight space is relative. I mean, we're saying tight, but the space we have is big compared to what you have, so what's that look like with? I mean, these are elaborate looking recipes.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you know I tried to shoot for more on the gourmet side of things. A lot of it is stuff that you'd want to invite your neighbors over for dinner to share, and again, it's mostly about planning and preparation. I think we have a pretty small pantry, a small fridge, and we like to boondock for about seven to 10 days at a time, but all that food that you're seeing in the book is cooked in those conditions. If you plan it out well, it all works.

Speaker 2:

So the message here is if, AJ, if you and your wife, could cook these things anybody can. Unless you're an intent, you might have a little bit more of a challenge than what you're dealing with, so I just want to let our listeners know that they can do it.

Speaker 1:

You know, I looked at your recipes. I looked at your recipes and there's nothing there that I couldn't do. I mean, really, I tried to pick out the most complex dishes. You know I missed the week that they were doing sauces. You know, even making the brunet sauce and the hollandaise sauce you talk about in the book, you've broken it down to a way that anybody can do it. Yes, Patty, even you could make brunet sauce for me, Because he's broken it down and made it so easy to do.

Speaker 2:

But cooking should be fun and it should be enjoyed and I don't want to take that away from you. You enjoy it and I don't.

Speaker 1:

My loving wife.

Speaker 2:

Does your wife cook? Does she like to cook as well?

Speaker 4:

She absolutely does not. Okay, there you go. We have a very good arrangement where she does all the dishes and I do all the cooking.

Speaker 2:

Okay, that's how it's always been with us as well, and your dog?

Speaker 1:

I don't know your dog's name, but it does all the tasting as you're cooking, right? I saw that a couple times in some pictures.

Speaker 4:

Oh yeah, she's our number one taster.

Speaker 2:

So clean up and storage. Obviously I have no problem with the cook not having to clean. I like to clean as you go along, especially with tight space right, that's probably a good tip for people keeping things tidy and clean as you're working.

Speaker 4:

Definitely. Yeah, you know, especially with you know, when I'm developing recipes I make much more of a mess than I would normally cooking, and I try to always make sure that I'm taking care of stuff while I'm working so I don't leave it with too much of a mess.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I leave a trail behind me. You know I've been in the kitchen. You know your book makes it look so darn easy. You know you talk about these stuff with ease and with joy and it's like you can do this. And I think that's the big hurdle that most people have to get over is, I can't do that. But yes, you can do this, you know, and if you start off with some of the more basic, smaller things like, for instance, one of my favorite things in the world is Wacka-moly Eggs Benedict.

Speaker 2:

Eggs Benedict. Eggs Benedict, your second favorite thing, my second favorite. It was a guess.

Speaker 1:

But you know people think that you have to go to a Sunday brunch and pay $25 to $30 to get Eggs Benedict. But you really don't. It's not a difficult thing to do and your recipe takes it down to step by step Prepare the sauce first. Don't make the eggs first and then go try to make the sauce. Prepare the sauce first. But once you have that Hollandaise sauce done and then you prepare your eggs, it just drips right over. And I think poached eggs like that take about two and a half to three and a half minutes from boiling water. Is that correct?

Speaker 1:

But if I'm thinking correctly about two and a half to three and a half minutes. So it's not a lot of time to make those poached eggs, and I have personally made poached eggs like that for large groups of people too. So just have to develop some techniques to do a bunch of them at the same time and know that if you put two or three eggs in one pan of boiling water, it's going to bring that temperature down. It's not going to be boiling anymore. So that means your time has to go up. So once you get the feel of this, you really make it look easy. So my question to you is is it really as easy as you make it feel?

Speaker 4:

You know, I really think so. I have an essay in the book dedicated to learning to cook, and I really think that there's pretty much nothing in cooking, and especially nothing in that book, that it should be a frightening hurdle to anybody. It's all simple procedures, you know. Every single recipe in the book fits on a single page, so none of them can be too complicated. And you know, like any other skill, you pick things up one at a time, and so maybe you cook the recipes that you're more comfortable with in the beginning, start taking on some more challenging ones, some hot butter sauces like Bernays and Hollandaise, and pretty soon you're an expert.

Speaker 2:

So and again.

Speaker 1:

I love the sauce yeah.

Speaker 2:

I've read parts of the book as well. Again, I don't necessarily enjoy cooking, but I have to say, where you talk about that anybody could do it and you break it down. I was no longer threatened by these gourmet, as you call them and they are gourmet recipes Because you know, Dan and I go through times all the time where it's like, OK, what are we going to eat? So we do try to expand, we sometimes do a quick fajita because we have leftover meat or we'll do the hamburgers. You know we do try and do things that are a little bit more than just quote unquote, camping type meals. So I do have to say that I felt I didn't feel threatened by the book. You broke it down really nicely, you made it easy. So I do feel like I could take on the Bernays sauce. I don't want to but I can. So that's good to know.

Speaker 1:

Don't be afraid to go out and get the right tools, get the right slotted spoon that you might need or the right different things. Can you give me two or three essentials that you really, really need in the kitchen?

Speaker 4:

So I think that the number one thing that I tell everybody living in a small space is get yourself a little immersion blender set that comes with the food processor and the whisk and even comes with a milk foam or for your coffees. You can get one for under $30 and it, you know, that's basically everything you need. It's not, it's no KitchenAid, but it takes care of a lot of those things.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so I could go buy one of those and get rid of the KitchenAid right oh no, oh no, they're.

Speaker 2:

You know, living in an older RV. We do have a lot of cabinet space, so there's actually a space for the KitchenAid, but it is heavy. I'd like to get rid of it. But while we're talking about things that people need, I do want to let people know about the cookbook called the Bus Life Kitchen, and you're also offering our listeners a discount code, so I want to get that out there. Tell us about the sale you have going on.

Speaker 4:

So from now until Christmas, doing a sale on my website 25% off all the books so you can get a signed copy, a physical copy. You can also get the ebook for 25% off. Just have to use the coupon code shop small, all one word.

Speaker 2:

Okay, that sounds awesome because this definitely is a great book for RVers to have. I hear all the time people say I'm tired of the same recipes. What new recipes are out there? So I'm definitely going to be posting on our social media and that is RV Life podcast, instagram and Facebook, as well as putting all of this information in the show notes and AJ, while we're talking about social media and things like that, do you have social media so people can reach out to you?

Speaker 4:

Yes, you can find me at thebuslifekitchencom is my website, and then I'm on Instagram. It's probably where I'm most active on social media the buslifekitchen, and Facebook as well, with that same handle.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so Instagram, facebook, and we'll put all of that in the show notes.

Speaker 1:

Now, while we're talking about social media and we're talking about people reaching out and talking about things, I'm going to ask you a question. We have a YouTube channel, we have the RV Life podcast and we get a lot of comments and a lot of people saying different things. Do people ever comment and give you feedback on your recipes, and what is your answer to some of those? It's like well, you used too much cayenne pepper in that and I just don't like it.

Speaker 4:

You know, honestly, I have been so surprised at how little negative feedback I've gotten over the past couple of years. It's been mostly really, really positive and it's been so amazing to connect with people, both at meetups and through social media, who are buying the book, cooking the recipes, and really there's nothing that I love more than somebody tagging me in a photo of them cooking one of the recipes.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome and people could go to your website and your social media and see that. Now do you do meetups yourself, or are you talking about meetups you go to, that other people do?

Speaker 4:

Meetups that other people do. You know we went to Descend on Bend, northwest Nomads. We'll be at Skoolie Palooza Fan Fest just in October. We get around to a lot of those.

Speaker 2:

Great. I hope people can catch you with some of those. Do you ever have people that make requests for new recipes They'd like you to cook, like my request for Akish. You know, is there a second cookbook in the works?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so after the first cookbook you know that was when I really started connecting with the nomadic community more and I have definitely gotten a number of requests. And there is a second cookbook which is nearing completion with a number of those requests in it.

Speaker 2:

How about the quiche? Will that be there?

Speaker 1:

Will know, I'll see what I'll call it. Yes, he's quiche spell it with an eye.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, patty, what's an eye?

Speaker 1:

I'm wondering, is your second book. I want to say that this book is a lot of gourmet type recipes. Is there anything for the the more Everyday type common people in this next one?

Speaker 4:

you know, I stick to a similar style where I think that there are things in there which can be Weak night meals. For sure they might not be something that you are as familiar with, but once you get the hang of it, especially it is, you know nothing, nothing and there's two daunting some of the things in there a little daunting.

Speaker 1:

Tell you that I will try cooking a lot of these and I will post. I'll do a video of it and I will post it on our social media.

Speaker 2:

And I just want to say something too like for Dan and I. There are some things that we don't like. Like we don't like spicy, and I'm looking at your guacamole recipe and you have two different kinds of peppers in there. It's easy to just take that out. It might not be the best guacamole than in the world, but it's easy to kind of take a recipe and then tweak it to your own taste, right.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely. You know, everybody has different tastes and there are a number of dishes in there that are on the spicy side and, yeah, I encourage people to. You know, use these as inspiration and if it doesn't seem like it's right up your alley, make it suit you.

Speaker 2:

Great yeah.

Speaker 1:

AJ, we got a break coming up, but after the break we have a segment we call the question of the week and, if you could, it's a cooking question this week. I need help. So could you hang around and help us answer this question? Because, I'll be honest, as much as I've cooked, I've never heard of this. Never, ever have I heard of this. It may be one of those legends, that's true.

Speaker 2:

We're gonna put him, we're gonna put you on the spot with this one.

Speaker 1:

It's not me, though. This is Sarah L from Fort Lauderdale, florida, and we'll be back with our question of the weekend. A lot more on the RV live podcast right after this the most important part of your RV is the roof.

Speaker 3:

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Speaker 1:

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Speaker 2:

We are certainly a part of the National indoor centers family. I feel More and more connected to them. We did just spend time, as we said, in the Texas area. We went to their Dallas location they do have six locations Across the country and we had time to sit down with Brett one-on-one. Brett Davis is the owner of National indoor RV centers and what an amazing guy.

Speaker 1:

Just a great down-to-earth guy Absolutely, and his concept of dealerships you go into this place is not an RV dealership. He has turned the concept around and made it like a marina. No, in a marina you take your boat out but then you come back to the marina. Well, that's what you do with NIRVC you can take your RV out, but then you bring it back and they'll service it and make sure the fluids are capped off and they'll wash it, if you want. What a concept and what great people to work with. Working with Brett Davis and his team at NIRVC and we've been to several of the locations it just really makes a difference.

Speaker 1:

Yes, now I'm gonna segue with makes a difference to one of our newer sponsors to, which is the open road diesel card, and I got to tell you it is absolutely incredible. We have this little card Okay, it's just a little credit card and it's attached to our bank account and there's an app and it tells us where their network of gas stations are. We save up to a dollar a gallon on diesel fuel with this card and it's just absolutely Incredible. And they're now coming out with one of our our nemesis. This is, this is this has been our nemesis since we started RVing.

Speaker 1:

It's that damn little teensy easy pass toll tag. So our easy pass toll tag has worked everywhere we went in the West. But we recently went into Texas and went from Dallas to Houston and there's a toll road Between those two. I think it's called the president Bush Parkway or something like that, but it did not work. And now, all of a sudden, on our escapees mail service let's get as many sponsors free plugs in as we get our escapees mail service all of a sudden we got Notice notice, notice, notice, notice from the state of Texas because we were in violation of going through all of those tools. Right.

Speaker 2:

So, and I want to be clear, it's called open roads and it is a fuel card. It's free. So to sign up is absolutely free. There's going to be a link in the show notes and then the toll pass which we are have one shipping to us as we speak.

Speaker 1:

It's our nemesis.

Speaker 2:

This is yes, but this toll pass will cover the entire state it is. They have launched the toll pass so you could go on and sign up for one of those as well. As I get that information, I'll put that in the show notes. It costs $25 to get the toll pass, just like our easy pass did, and then you put something like $25 on and this Toll pass works the same as the others, keeping I actually, I think it's only $24 to get the actual pass. Now, I believe when we send our easy passes back because that's our next step, I believe we get that money back to us yeah okay.

Speaker 2:

So that'll be great, because we'll have to pay for all those Violations that we're going to get when we didn't have the toll that covers the whole country.

Speaker 1:

And I think they're right when you said $24 because it works in all 48 Continuous states. Is that how you say it can?

Speaker 2:

uh-huh but again, when you talk about great people, we've met some of the people from open roads. They're, again, amazing people and we love working with great people. But now let's get back to the question.

Speaker 1:

Okay, that's how it means. It's time for Today's question of the week, brought to you by clear, to owe your RV water solution. We all drink water, whether we like it or not. Yeah, may as well drink clear to a water because it tastes good and it's cleaner and it's healthier for you. So it takes that water that you get out of the spigot outside of your camper and you put this little green tube on and I will tell you it makes a yes, it is the bright green filter that I'd like to remember them and and it really saves from carrying the bottled water, having to trash them.

Speaker 2:

A lot of campgrounds Don't do recycling, so we're not trashing all the bottles in the plastic and lugging them around. And they do have a new Product which is called tank fresh and that is for your clean water tank. You dump it in, you leave it for about two hours.

Speaker 1:

There's no smell, there's no harsh chemicals, there is no bleach being used, and I'd love that now Keith, the owner and Inventor of these products, is going to be a guest on the RV life podcast. When we get down to Tampa we will be broadcasting live every day at oh, at 12 30, 12, 30. You, on the spot every day, at 12 30, from the freight liner booth, will be doing the RV life podcast live. So if you're there, if you're gonna be in Tampa, come on, stop by. I give away all kinds of stuff. Anything that I can get that they'll let me give away, I give away. But we have t-shirts and all kinds of stuff that we will be giving away at the freight liner booth.

Speaker 2:

Yes, in Tampa. Yes, please let me know in on social media if you'll be there. But we did say we're gonna do the question of the week, so let's do it. Sarah L from Fort Lauderdale, florida.

Speaker 1:

Hey, Jay, you got a little bit of a big one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and this is really putting him on the spot because it's about ovens. She said I heard using a pizza type stone in the oven Helps cook things more evenly. Is that true?

Speaker 4:

I say myth? Yeah, in my experience, absolutely, it's very helpful. You know so if you're making the oven though.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 4:

It's definitely more of a challenge with an RV side of oven.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay.

Speaker 2:

So you're saying that those type stones you're saying does help. I, like you know, regulate the oven temperature, I guess, is the way to say it.

Speaker 4:

It's mostly about creating a block between the heat source and what you're baking. So it doesn't necessarily have to be a pizza stone. Those do hold heat and help to, you know, regulate temperature in that fashion. But any sort of block between the heat source and the time you're baking will help to create a more even temperature.

Speaker 2:

Okay, all right, good to know. So people don't have to necessarily go buy a pizza stone. Thank you, and thank you, sarah L, for Sending in that question.

Speaker 1:

We appreciate the questions now, patty, last winter about a year ago to next week we were at Thousand Trails Orlando, which is where we're going tomorrow, right going to Thousand Trails Orlando. So last winter we had a chef on the show and his specialty was campfire cooking. So he cooked everything. He cooked a gourmet dinner for us on an open campfire. We actually had him on the podcast, but when he cooked that gourmet dinner for us, we also recorded it and we made a whole video on our YouTube channel. We're going to put a link to that in the show notes. You might want to go back and listen to that. Some really great tips and, believe it or not, aj, everything you said today lined up exactly with what he said to.

Speaker 2:

Now I want to ask you, AJ, have you ever done campfire type cooking, like meals on a campfire?

Speaker 4:

I love to cook on open fire when I can. You know we spend a lot of time out west where in the summer you usually can't have campfires, but yeah there's. There's something so classic and primal about managing a real wood fire to cook. I love it.

Speaker 2:

Now it was really cool to watch him set this whole thing up. He made a dinner I'm talking chicken and sauce and green beans and potatoes and asparagus it was asparagus, right and I mean it took hours. So it was really nice to sit back and I did assist and I did clean up after him. But it was nice to sit back and watch and enjoy it and it was an amazing meal. And, aj, when we get together, I'm going to expect the same thing. I'm going to expect one of your meals for us.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, I think his RV is so easy to spot because of that green color Him and a lot of Forest Service pickup trucks. Other than that there's nobody to pick that color. But we're going to, we're going to follow him around for a while this summer so he can just cook for us all the time. So wherever they go, we'll be there too.

Speaker 2:

OK, so let's, let's do this. Let's start a conversation on social media and again, they'll be posted in the show notes of your favorite recipes. So, people that have AJ's book, what are your favorite recipes? Get the book, pick out some of your favorite recipes, recipes that you'd like to see or or hear about. I want to start a whole conversation and share with the all the life podcast community.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to take what I have gone through. He's got a Renee sauce recipe in there that I got to tell you it's the die for, but we're going to post a couple of those recipes. Let's start a conversation on what are your favorite things to cook and what are your favorite recipes. You know we have a health coach and we do a lot of things a little different than some other people, so we don't eat a lot of processed foods at all, but one of the things we do is we eat a lot of sourdough stuff sourdough bread, sourdough things. I have a recipe for sourdough cinnamon rolls and sourdough pancakes that we make and it is incredible. Now, keeping that sourdough alive while you're on the road sometimes creates a little bit of an issue, but other than that, we are in pretty good shape with that. Now, that sound means it's time for today's RV Life Pro Tip of the week, and that pro tip today comes from Patrick Buchanan. It's about trip status and how to read trip status in RV Trip Wizard.

Speaker 5:

Rv Life Trip Wizard offers three status levels for your trips Active, tentative and archived. Active trips are those you're currently taking or about to take, appear on your mobile device for navigation and allow you to receive handy and informative pre-departure email notifications. Tentative trips are those that you're working on and still planning. They won't appear on your phone or send you email notifications about destinations that might change several times before the trip is finalized. Archived trips are, just as they sound, trips you have completed and don't want to lose the value of your trip. You might wish to review it again someday. For RV Life, I'm Pat Buchanan with your RV Life Pro Tip of the week. Thank you so much, patrick Buchanan.

Speaker 2:

And we want to thank our guest, AJ, and his book is called the Bus Life Kitchen and we so appreciate you being on, AJ. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. It was great talking with you both.

Speaker 4:

Well, that'll do it for this week's episode of the RV.

Speaker 1:

Life Trip Wizard. I'm Dan Hunt with my incredible wife, fatty Hunt. She's sitting right next to me right over there. We do this show once a week. It comes out on Wednesdays on your favorite podcast platform, so market is a favorite Market as you like it. Download it each week and we'll be back with new broadcasting for you each and every week. I'm Dan Hunt saying have a great rest of today.

Speaker 2:

And an even better day tomorrow.

Cooking in Small RV Kitchens
Living and Cooking in RV Without Oven
Challenges of RV Cooking
Cooking in Small Spaces and Recipes
Discussion About Cookbook and Cooking Preferences
Cooking Tips for RV Life
RV Life Pro Tip With AJ