Book Review: The Camper Van Cookbook

The Camper Van Cookbook by Martin Dorey and Sarah RandellDisclosure: I received a free copy of this book for this review. I did not receive any payment and was not required to write a positive review. Links marked with (eBay⇒) or (Amazon⇒) are affiliate links. This means I get paid a small commission if you buy something after clicking on the links. This money helps to pay for the running of the website.

The Camper Van Cookbook is a little more than just a cookbook – it’s a light-hearted guide to owning and using a classic camper mixed in with a lot of recipes. The book’s introduction includes this advice:

Successful camper van living – even if it’s just for a weekend – requires humour, resourcefulness and a little bit of imagination.

Good advice – and the smaller the van, the truer this is. There’s no point in acting all serious about everything as if you’re at home – why bother going away if you’re going to do that?

Cooking On Two Rings – For Real

My (highly subjective and random) observations of other motorhome and campervan dwellers seem to suggest that there is no link between the size and quality of people’s mobile kitchens and whether or not they use them.

Some people cook up amazing feasts on a single ring – others have a kitchen that’s better than some domestic kitchens but consider a bacon sandwich to be a serious effort.

The Camper Van Cookbook is definitely a book for people who want to go the extra mile and don’t mind shopping (or foraging) for fresh produce regularly. This is campervan cooking Jamie Oliver style – recipe writer Sarah Randell’s CV includes being the food editor for thirteen Delia Smith cookery books, and to be honest, it shows.

The book is jam-packed with tasty recipes that genuinely can be prepared on a two ring hob – but they do require a range of ‘essential’ ingredients and equipment that seems a bit ambitious to me, especially in a small camper van. The recipes are littered with requirements such as “add a couple of tablespoons of capers”. Capers?

I think it’s fair to say that the recipes do require a lot of fresh ingredients and a fair range of seasonings. That’s fine if you are pitching up on a campsite and are willing to shop regularly, not so easy if you are touring and don’t want to bother with shopping every day.

The Camper Van Life – A Guide

This book is much more than just a cookbook – it’s a kind of camper van lifestyle guide. Author Martin Dorey is an experienced camper and his sections on campervan living, foraging, surfing, attending festivals and even making a homemade kite are obviously based on genuine experience, mixed in with a healthy dose of humour.

Final Thoughts

Although it’s too late for this Christmas, The Camper Van Cookbook would make an ideal present for anyone who likes cooking and camping. The camper van advice is good and there are lots of tasty, manageable recipes – just make sure you have a well-stocked cupboard.

Incidentally, there are some great recipes for summer weekends, BBQs, parties and even cocktail sessions in this book – it is just as useful at home as it is on the road!

Get The Camper Van Cookbook on Amazon! (Amazon⇒)

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