Festival Food - Some Ideas!
19 June 2010 01:12
Careful not to disregard your food at a festival, if anything it becomes more important in keeping us in good spirits and adding to the overall experience! Save on your weight and put some money aside to try some of the local festival food – although choose wisely because the cost won’t always reflect the taste! Leeds often gets quite a bad name for its food in comparison to some other festivals, so make sure you have a good look around. Your standard meal schedule will undoubtedly suffer at a festival as getting caught up in the atmosphere forces us to cram as much in as possible. Don’t let food become a chore!
Packing light doesn't mean you have to sacrifice nutrition. Granted most of us won't be cooking gourmet meals but you don't need to live on dried food either. Some ideal festival food:
Fruit - A fresh piece of fruit tastes incredible on a festival morning. A few pieces won't be unnecessarily heavy. Dried fruit is also good - lighter and easy to carry on you if needs be, but less refreshing!
Tinned Foods - Tins are considered the ultimate evil in festival cuisine due to their weight. That being said you can get away with a few miniature tins or 1-2 large ones. If you're cooking things like pasta or rice; tins of sweetcorn or mixed veg. are a nice addition. The classics like 'all day breakfast' may also make an appearance.
Try to avoid hot dogs for example where the majority of the weight comes from the brine - which you're going to drain anyway, and are therefore carrying for nothing. Tinned fish specifically the likes of mackerel & sardines are fantastic - light, small, filling and nutritious.
Pasta & Noodles - the most popular of festival food because of how light they are. Pasta 'n' sauces make good meals - but remember some will require milk and butter which are a no go unless you buy them fresh on site. Freezing some butter beforehand will last 3days max. depending on climate conditions. Pasta 'n' Sauces that require milk will cook fine without, but might not taste great.
If you're taking noodles, consider packs that require actual cooking as opposed to pot noodles where you just add water. Any product where you simply add water will always succumb to the flaw of being quite bulky in regard to space. Things like supernoodles or equivalent are nice and flat - you'll just be required to do a bit of washing. Other add-water items such as soups and SMASH are always light enough to bring along too.
A fair few will opt for M.O.D. ration packs – costing approximately £4.50 from a local “genuine army surplus” place they include pretty much everything for 24hours of nutrition and come in all shapes and sizes – I’ve seen vegetarian and halal packs before. Generally you get a Breakfast, Main Meal and Pudding, followed by additional sundries like chewing gum, hot chocolate powder, soup, sandwich spread, chocolate, biscuits, instant tea and coffee etc.
From my experience you never use everything in these packs. Whilst they are really ideal, my recommendation would be to open them up before you go and pick and choose the essentials, because they are quite heavy as they come. The meals are basically pre-cooked and vacuum packed (like a big tin but in a sachet basically) you just cut half the top of and heat it in boiling water, so they are clean and easy to use. Normally I buy two and then combine them with other foods. If you are eager to get these though then you should start shopping early, they sell out very quick in festival season!
Bring along a few Raw Meat items if you want to have a bit of a BBQ when you get there (providing the weather is okay!). It’s advisable to use these on the first day you are there though, because they will spoil quickly unless you have an efficient way of storing them. Think about weight and space too! Dried meats will last longer and might be handy to chop up and throw in your meals
- Sweets and chocolate are always a good pick me up, but too many and you may begin to feel sluggish and tired after a big sugar rush!
- A loaf of bread will generally come in handy and whilst they don’t always make it to the festival in one piece, the bread is good for dipping, spreading, sandwich-ing and generally soaking up whatever gets consumed.
- A little bit of cooking oil will come in handy for any food to be fried and will certainly make cleaning easier after.
- Quick fixes like cereal bars, savoury crackers, crisps, biscuits and nuts are good to bring along, and can be used as snacks on the move! Marshmallows are good if you have a fire going.
- Sauce sachets, salt and pepper etc. are good for those with certain eating habits or festival gourmet chefs. Pick a few up from a fast food outlet before you go!
As far as fluids go, the majority it is assumed, will be consuming an alcohol of choice but watch out for dehydration, make sure you drink plenty of water too, especially if it’s warm! Energy drinks such as Red Bull may lift your sleepless spirits so if you’re prone to burning the candle at both ends, pack a few of these. Bringing a small amount of neat squash is a good call to liven up water (and probably cider too).
After all that, don’t forget your Rennies and Alka Seltzer! Changing your diet at a festival may bring you heartburn, indigestion, stomach aches and unpleasant toilet scenarios – so bring whatever you need to cope. A few tablets don’t take up a lot of space and can be a life saver!