While feeding our horde of special needs cats one evening — a laborious process — Mr. Diarist read about this book in one of the cycling magazines I’d left lying around. The central conceit is that it’s easy to make, and consume, energy foods produced in your own kitchen, instead of the often artifically-enhanced stuff sold to athletes.
(As a side note, Feed Zone Portables is a beautifully produced book, with a lovely cloth-bound spine. It’s a pleasure to hold and read!)
We both occasionally partake of commercial bars when on the run, and I always have a couple in Basil’s saddle bag, but we like the idea of eating real food instead. I got a hold of a copy of the book, and, one day when I was out running errands, Mr. Diarist whipped up three of Thomas’s and Lim’s recipes.
These are potato-leek fritattas, made with eggs, too. The flavor is stupendous right from the oven; they are tasty, but not spectacular, when eaten cold. At 40 kcal apiece, and with some structural integrity, they can be fairly easily scarfed all along a ride, providing a bit of protein and a few carbs along the way.
The chocolate-almond rice cakes have a delicious, unusual flavor, but, at least in this iteration, were a bit sticky to handle easily. Coconut adds flavor and fiber, but sticks in my teeth, so this isn’t the best choice for me while far from dental floss. Mr. Diarist thought he’d made them too moist with a bit too much honey; using less next time might make these small bars less gooey.
The almond-date rice cakes sounded dull to me, but I was wrong! These are tasty and flavorful, and a bit less messy to handle than the chocolate treats above. I found them quite filling, too.
The authors suggest wrapping the snacks in parchment-lined tin-foil, which makes for cute, festive, packets, but they are also quite bulky, and disinclined to stay closed without tape (which we didn’t have on hand immediately). I’m not sure why the parchment lining is considered a good idea; I’d prefer simple, recyclable, aluminium foil. I’m assuming that we’d never eat enough of these to be affected by the food coming in direct contact with the aluminium. (You can see, when reviewing the cover photo, that I don’t wrap nearly as neatly as the authors do.)
The snacks are meant to be stored in the fridge; we packed ours into an air-tight container first. Next time, I’ll be wrapping these in waxed paper, and checking out how that works. I think it will be easier to manage, both in the wrapping and in the using. Ultimately, that’s probably kinder to the environment, too.
Nutrition data is included for all the recipes (a huge plus!). Mr. Diarist wrote the names of these particular snacks, and their calorie counts, on the card slipped in front. We’re both wary of falling into the “I exercised so much, now I can eat a whole pie” trap, so we keep at least a casual eye on how much we consume during, and post, exercise.
I take seriously the injunction to never try new fuel on a long ride, so, naturally, I sampled each of these nutrition-packed goodies at home first. As promised (one author is a chef), they are quite tasty. We’ll see how difficult it is to use them on actual rides; the gooey factor is one to consider, and also how well the nutrition stacks up to their commercial cousins.
I do miss my perfect cycling food, though: Human kibble. Clif’s Shot Roks were little, 30-calorie bites that didn’t melt, and could be popped into one’s gullet every five miles without stopping the bike. They’re gone now, though, replaced by messy gel cubes, most of which also have caffeine added, rendering them useless for the likes of me. Mr. Diarist and I will continue to explore Feed Zone Portables; human kibble is quite practical, but something similar made from actual food would be even better . . . we’ll see what develops.