I don't know how you like to ride, but for me, the promise of eating something yummy when I stop is a pretty strong motivation. Whether that's because I've stopped somewhere to eat food someone else made or I'm planning to cook a meal myself, you can bet that I'm probably thinking about what that food is going to taste like more than a little by the time I'm parking.

But that can be somewhat difficult if you're going cross country and camping along the way. 

I'm not a seasoned motorcycle camper, but Amanda Zito most assuredly is. If you're interested in motorcycle adventures and motorcycle camping, and you either attend related events or you just like to watch moto camping YouTubers, chances are excellent that you're already familiar with her channel, As The Magpie Flies, where she's been documenting her various motorcycle camping experiences (sometimes with her brother, but mostly on her own) for several years now. 

If you've been watching her videos, you'll already know that one of the highlights that viewers frequently ask for more insight on is her camp cooking setup and recipes. So Zito took all the life experiences she's had on the road, combined them with her formidable illustration and photography talents, and wrote a motorcycle camping cookbook.

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Making Tacos

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Making Tacos

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook By Amanda Zito

This is not just any motorcycle camping cookbook, either. This is one that's aimed squarely at solo campers, and which also stipulates that little-to-no preparation at home is required. To Zito's way of thinking, it's a lot easier to multiply recipes for one person if you need to feed two or more people than it is to figure out what to do with half a container of cream because the recipe was written for more than one person. As I said, it makes a whole lot of sense.

The 65-plus recipes contained in The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook are written so that the hungry traveler can wander into just about any grocery store, large or small, and find ingredients to make themselves a tasty meal. Relying on a few simple, shelf-stable travel pantry staples (things like herbs and spices, a little cooking oil or ghee, and maybe a little bit of flour and baking powder depending on what you want to make), gathering a few items from your nearest grocery store shouldn't be too much of a challenge.

Not Just A Cookbook; A Motorcycle Camp Cooking Resource

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Camp Stoves

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Camp Stoves

My personal favorite cookbooks cover a wide range of cuisines, styles, and topics. One thing they have in common, though, is that they're usually not only a list of recipes with pretty pictures to show me what the food might look like if I happened to have it perfectly lit and photographed. Instead, they usually have a little something extra. It could be about history, or technique, or be a breakdown of pantry ingredients that might be unfamiliar.

In the case of the Motorcycle Camp Cookbook, it's a quick, concise breakdown of several important aspects of motorcycle camp cooking that you may or may not have thought about if you're not experienced in the subject.

From the pros and cons of choosing a camp stove and why you'd want one of those instead of a campfire (Spoiler: Campfires are a bad idea a lot of the time, outside of specific circumstances) to how to clean your dishes at camp, this book is an invaluable resource for both novice and experienced campers.

Also, We Need To Talk About These Awesome Illustrations

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Storing Your Food In Bear Country

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Storing Your Food In Bear Country

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Oatmeal Pancakes

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Oatmeal Pancakes

There's some great photography in this book, to be sure. As a person who loves food enough that I went to culinary school once upon a time, it's probably zero percent surprising to you that I'm also one of those people who almost always takes pictures of their food. (Well, if it's at all aesthetically pleasing, at least.) 

These photos are warm, inviting, and make you want to try the recipes that made them. More than that, though; Zito's illustrations are fantastic. In addition to her ongoing motorcycle adventure vlogging, Zito is also a skilled illustrator and visual artist, creating everything from illustrated motorcycle calendars to the poster for the 2023 Women's Moto Show.

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito - Pasta

Seriously, any cookbook worth its salt should make you hungry just looking at it. This book definitely succeeds there, offering a variety of recipes for vegetarians, as well as fans of chicken, beef, and seafood. Most (if not all) of the vegetarian recipes can easily be made vegan as well, by either omitting or substituting non-vegan ingredients. Ultimately, it's all about keeping it tasty and simple, no matter how you choose to get your protein.

That's Great, But How Does The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook Taste?

Most experienced cooks will develop a certain sense of how a recipe is going to work just by reading it. But what if you're not experienced, and what if you want to have some idea of how a recipe is going to turn out before you go to the effort of gathering the ingredients and cooking it? No worries; I'm here to help.

While I haven't cooked every recipe here, I have been testing a few (just in my kitchen, sadly not at camp). In every case, I've doubled the recipe to feed both myself and my partner. In one case, I had to swap traditional orzo pasta for a gluten free version made with cassava flour because my partner is gluten free. But if you cook for anyone with specific dietary concerns (yourself included), you're probably already used to doing that. (Just FYI, GF orzo does exist, but you could probably substitute long-grain rice in a pinch. Just don't use the par-cooked stuff, because that'll get mushy in the soup.)

So far, I've cooked a very tasty lemon chicken orzo dish, mushroom gnocchi, beet bourguignon, and a chicken gnocchi soup. In all cases, I've stuck to the ingredients and methods that Zito suggests in the book (apart from the fact that I've been cooking on a stovetop). 

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Friends, the recipes are delicious. They're simple, hearty, and easy. I will say that the portion sizes are generous, but also that you're likely to be pretty hungry after you spend a day riding, so that should work out. In a couple of cases, when I doubled the recipe to feed myself and my partner, we found ourselves with one or two extra servings. If you're extra hungry, that's great, but that could maybe pose a challenge if you're trying to pack up and get out on the road (unless you meet road friends and want to share). 

I'm a big fan of leftovers, particularly if they're delicious. That goes double if they're a soup or stew, since those usually taste even better when you heat them up (after proper refrigeration) a day or two later. But it's something to think about and be aware of if your space and refrigeration availability is constrained on the road.

The beet bourguignon I made was probably our favorite (and I'll definitely be making it again, probably very soon since the weather in Chicago is a bit garbage right now). Though it's hard to say for sure, because the chicken gnocchi soup I made last night is right up there in the flavor stakes, too.

Zito's recipes call for a lot of canned meat and seafood, which is clearly preferable if you're worried about refrigeration/safe food handling on the road. In my case, I found nice foil flat-pack envelopes of chicken instead of cans, so they didn't need draining or require a can opener. They've worked well for me so far, and seem like they'd be really easy to pack in a camping situation.

One other thing I'll note is that if you are cooking these recipes for more than one person, you'll need to be aware that the cooking time will probably take a little longer. (That's the kind of thing that might seem like common sense to experienced cooks, but might not necessarily occur to less experienced cooks, and we aim to include everyone.)

So How Can I Get My Hands On The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook?

The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook by Amanda Zito

If you're reading this on or after April 9, 2024, you can visit Amanda Zito's IndieGogo campaign to launch The Motorcycle Camp Cookbook. Full details are on the site, which we'll link in our Sources, but the upshot is that she'll be printing and selling a limited number of physical copies of the book that you can buy. You'll also be able to get digital downloads of it (in PDF and e-book forms; check the site for full details as the release dates differ by format). 

The preorder campaign starts on April 9, 2024 and runs through May 7, 2024. On May 8, Zito will be ordering the printed copies so she can receive, package, and mail them out to anyone who's purchased one. From May 10, 2024 onwards, the e-book copies will be available for purchase on Zito's website.

If you're planning to attend one of the events that Zito will be appearing at this summer, she'll also have a limited number of physical copies on hand for sale at those events. Check her website and social media for the most current, up-to-date information.

Last but not least, if you're reading this before Saturday, April 13, 2024, you can also sign up to attend the launch party for this book if you'll be in Portland, Oregon. From four to seven p.m., it's happening at Motocorsa. A registration link is available in our sources if you want to attend. There'll be cooking demos, raffles, and more!

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