Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Short Pilgrimage through "Food On Foot" (Book Review)

This historical book researching eating on trails and in the wild confirm my belief that the "food and planning is an important part of any walk or outdoor activity".  Dried fruits, seeds, nuts and flatbreads were common selections.  Different cultures had elaborate selections such as freshly roasted kebabs.  "In open air, the appetite is good and to make your own meals is pleasurable".  Pioneers, who hunted along the trail, supplemented meals with meats and vegetables.  

Army rations have come along way to now include poppy seed cake, cranberries, spiced apple cider, peant butter and crackers.  A World War II favorite was SPAM.

The Roman marchers carried wheat and handmills to bake flatbreads in clay pots called clibanus.

The mountain climbers nourishment got harder as the altitude increased.  Climbers had to monitor the color of their urine to determine sufficient hydration.


From the publisher:

World traveler, mountain climbing enthusiast, and scholar Demet Güzey introduces readers to the vital connection between food and human expedition in Food on Foot (April 8, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-4422-5506-7; Hardcover $38.00; 236 pages; Rowman & Littlefield), the next installment in the Food on the Go series. From pilgrims to pioneers, soldiers to explorers, the only limit to humanity’s reach is the food they can find along the way, and Güzey examines the myriad ways we have approached this problem over the centuries and across landscapes.

From tinned foods to foraging in the arctic wilderness, worm-infested hardtack to palate-dulling army rations, loss of appetite in high altitudes to champagne and caviar at base camps, Güzey gives a thoroughly researched and insightful account of how we manage food on foot, and how disaster strikes when we fail to manage it well.

Firsthand accounts, authentic artifacts and photographs, expert opinions, and recipes reveal new perspectives on lesser known as well as more famous expeditions, such as the disastrous end of the Donner Party, the stranded men of Shackleton on Elephant Island, and the first successful summit of Mount Everest. An extensive bibliography provides ample opportunities for further reading. 

This culinary history book is a great gift for adventurous food lovers and food-loving adventurers.

About the Author:Demet Güzey, PhD, is a writer and lecturer of food and culture with a passion for trekking in high mountains. She has published numerous articles in academic journals and magazines, ranging from Food Biophysics to Gastronomica, and climbed some grand mountains, such as Mont Blanc and Mount Ararat. You can read more about her at

This book is not a cookbook, yet I was compelled to create a meal from one of the scenarios in the book.  My favorite travelers were the Pilgrims who traveled places where food was shared.  The Tuscan route might include vegetable soup and day old bread with a sweet cake called Spongata.  Here is my version:


(Serves 8-10)

Cover fruit with alcohol and allow to sit at room temperature for a few hires.
13 grams golden raisins
7 ounce assorted diced dried fruit ( I used figs, dates, cherries, apricots, cranberries and blueberries)
Wines, brandy and gold rum to cover the fruit

Grind spices in a seed grinder.
1 gram cloves
1/2 cinnamon stick
Fresh grated nutmeg
Squeeze liquor from dried fruit.  Combine fruit with nuts, wheat germ, spices, wheat germ, honey and salt.
66 grams roasted and ground walnuts
10 grams roasted and ground almonds
13 grams wheat germ
33 grams warm honey 
Pinch of salt

Cut buttery spread into flour-salt mixture.  Stir in liquor.  Add enough cold water to form a dough.  Divide dough in half.  Roll to fit and 8 inch springform pan.  Press into bottom of pan and slightly up the side.  Fill with fruit and nut mix.  Cover with second dough half, rolled to fit the pan.  Press dough together to enclose all of fruited mix.
132 grams whole wheat pastry flour
54 grams Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/8th teaspoon salt
26 ml liquor (drained from fruit )
1-2 tablespoon cold water

Bake in 350 F. oven for 20 minutes.  Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.




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