How To Taste Local Culture From An RV

A woman picks a ripe blackberry off of a bush

While pictures and YouTube videos are great, my husband and I prefer to explore and experience new places in person. This is, after all, why we chose to travel long-term in our Class A motorhome. One of our favorite things to do while traveling around the country is to explore an area’s culture through its food and beverage. Whether it’s enjoying a flight of beers at a local microbrewery or eating at the top-rated restaurant in town, we consider it all part of our immersion in local culture.

Taste “The Land”

Whenever I’m planning for our next destination, I like to make a few lists to help really experience the local culture. These lists include:

That last list might seem unusual, but I believe that produce—whether its fruit, vegetables, seafood, beef, or poultry—truly reflects the area from which it comes. Buying groceries at local farmers’ markets offers us a chance to really taste “the land.” Plus, there’s nothing quite like having fresh food harvested days, even hours, before you buy it. 

I take a minimalist approach when it comes to cooking with fresh ingredients. This really allows the produce to shine on its own. Some of our favorite farmer’s market purchases have included freshly-shucked Chesapeake Bay oysters in Virginia, sauteed Lake Michigan walleye in Michigan, and seared steak from Eola Crest Cattle in Oregon. And best of all? My husband and I were able to enjoy all of this from the comfort of our RV. None of those dishes required more than salt, pepper and olive oil—three staple ingredients that belong in every RV kitchen.

Easy, Locally-Inspired Recipes

Finding inspiration for meals in our motorhome is simple. To me, it’s about seeing what produce is available, what looks the freshest and what’s in season. But that doesn’t mean we don’t crave certain foods. I’ll often re-create dishes that I’m missing from home or that I’ve enjoyed at a local restaurant and can’t stop thinking about.

Here are three dishes that have been inspired by our RV travels and can easily be made inside your RV’s kitchen.

Kebabs with fresh hummus and fattoush

Before we started our RV journey, my husband and I were living in Detroit, which is home to thousands of Middle Eastern restaurants. Whenever we find ourselves missing the flavors of “home,” I’ll cook up some kebabs with hummus and fattoush.

You can use ground beef or ground lamb (or a combination of both) and a mix of your favorite spices. Form the seasoned meat mixture into oblong shapes and slide them onto skewers. Then grill the skewers for about 10 minutes on each side.

Use a blender or food processor to puree some canned garbanzo beans, sesame tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Serve with pitch chips.

I like to chop up some cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, and radishes. Then add some finely-chopped fresh parsley and sliced green onions. Dress the fattoush with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and zesty sumac spice.

ANNE AND BRIAN KLUMPP's meal of kabobs, hummus and fattoush

Creole Red Beans and Rice

We all know the saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Well, that is definitely true for this dish. While we were visiting New Orleans, we got to experience some authentic red beans and rice at Joey K’s restaurant. I had never tasted something so deliciously creamy and smoky before! Ever since that meal, I’ve tried to recreate it from our motorhome’s kitchen. And while it may not always taste exactly the same, it’s close enough that we feel like we’ve been transported back to Joey K’s.

Start by sauteing chopped onions, celery and green pepper in some olive oil. Once they are softened, add some minced garlic, salt, pepper, dried sage, fresh thyme, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper.

add all of your seasoned vegetables, some dried kidney beans, a smoked ham hock, half of an andouille sausage, and some water or stock. Seal the Instant Pot and cook everything for about 30 minutes. (Alternatively, you can cook this in a large pot on your stovetop for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender.)

Uncover the pot and continue cooking for a few minutes to help thicken the mixture.

Serve everything over a bed of white rice, and garnish with some hot sauce and an extra piece of grilled andouille sausage.

ANNE KLUMPP taking a photo of a meal inside her Class A RV

Bavette Steak with Rainbow Chard

Bavette steak, also called flank steak, is great for cooking since the meat doesn’t get tough or chewy. We had some incredible bavette steak in Oregon and have now made this dish part of our regular dinner rotation.

Pat it dry and season with your favorite spices. We like to keep it simple with just some salt and pepper.

Grease a hot skillet with butter (you can use a cast iron pan or a griddle), and then lay your steaks in the pan. Sear the steak on each side for 3-7 minutes depending on your preferred doneness. Remove the steaks from the skillet and let them rest for a few minutes.

Saute some rainbow chard, red onions and garlic. Cook until the rainbow chard and onions are soft.

Serve your steak and rainbow chard mixture together with some flaky sea salt.

ANNE AND BRIAN KLUMPP's meal of steak and rainbow chard

A True Taste of Living on the Road

In the nearly three years that we’ve been traveling long-term in our Entegra Class A motorhome, we’ve had the chance to immerse ourselves in many different cultures around the country. And re-creating the meals that we’ve enjoyed in our travels means we never have to leave that place behind. We have the opportunity to invoke the memories of an area not only by looking at pictures but through our taste buds as well. And better yet? We keep adding to our list of dishes and flavors, and we can share these with others to give them a true taste of what it’s like to live on the road.

Class A Motorhomes

Built with the same framing and construction as commercial trucks and buses, Class A motorhomes are some of the largest vehicles on the road. What does that mean for your next adventure? Lots of room to stretch out and get comfortable. From spacious sleeping and lounging areas to full kitchens to upscale bathrooms, Class A vehicles take features and amenities to a higher level.

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