The Van Life Cookbook Review – Compact, Elegant Recipes, Simple Techniques

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The Van Life Cookbook, from Ulysses Press, redefines gourmet cooking with an elegant and compact presentation of recipes, with accompanying images, guaranteed to add spice and flavor to the traditional idea of open fire or camp cooking.

Author Susan Marque introduces her van life cookbook by way of a cramped Tribeca kitchen cooking in a small, no stove, hot plate only Manhattan studio. Before she took to the road she understood the value of space, the need to maximize design to prepare delicious homecooked meals and even entertain.

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Out of the "glamping" experience, she explains is where she began to photograph and develop the idea of a cookbook. So, from her tiny apartment, where she cooked everything, comes her newest creation: The Van Life Cookbook.

Throughout the 129 pages, she takes the reader on a journey. Her Introduction explains how to maximize the design of a small kitchen while keeping all the items necessary to create all the dishes which one would desire. Essentially styled to one's personal taste she presents the must haves for any road chef, regardless of cooking style. In this first chapter she also introduces the importance of limiting oneself to the necessary tools of the trade. No reason to overpack on the kitchen items, but it is very important to pack the right utensils.

After our camper kitchen has been well stocked, The Van Life Cookbook begins with Section II: The Recipes and from here we are on a journey through Breakfasts, Salads, Soups, Mains, Desserts, Drinks and Snacks, and Dressings.

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Road trips are often considered a right of passage and with contemporary conditions allowing remote working from anywhere, the idea of road travel has been taken to a new level and along with it the notion of gourmet cooking only available in a five-star restaurant or a chef's kitchen has also been reinvented.

The Van Life Cookbook, with breakfast recipes like "Dutch Baby for One," a baked pancake, with a quick ten-minute prep time and ten-minute cook time, allows for quick and filling morning meal to charge the battery and jumpstart the mind and body for a day of possibilities. For this recipe an oven is needed. Other breakfast recipes include "Oat Milk French Toast" (which can be modified), "Biscuits on the Burner," and "Baked Frittata" (which also can be modified to taste and ingredients).

Moving on to Salads, she includes many recipes for strictly vegan but also includes salad recipes for "Easy Chicken Salad" and "Quinoa Kitchen Salad," both of which look delicious, a "Tostada Salad," a combination of legumes, corn, lettuce, avocado, and cider vinegar dressing and "Chickpea Salad in Avocado."

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Her main dishes offer options for every culinary food choice. For those with no preferences she offers "Turkey Meatballs, Pasta and Red Pepper Sauce," "Miso Chicken" and "Lemongrass Fish," and for Vegans she provides ideas for "Camper Van Bean Burger," "Quesadilla with Carrot Condiment", and "Cheesy Cauliflower with Crispy Shallots," and several pasta dishes including "Whatcha Got Risotto," "Your Fried Rice" and "Pilaf is All You Need."

For desserts she provides a delicious "Single-serve Apple Crisp" as well as "Van Life Seed Brittle" and for those who travel with an oven, "Strawberry Cookie Dough Oat Bars."

The remaining chapters Drinks and Snacks includes beverage recipes for "Instant Lemonade," a breakfast smoothie "Strawberry Oat Milk," and snacks for the road "Camper Van Snacky Seeds." She also includes a chapter on dressings which can be tried and tested, as with all the recipes, in your stationary kitchen before heading out on the road.

The Van Life Cookbook, with over 50 recipes each with glossy attractive images, is tried and tested and transferable to a home on wheels. Elegant and compact, The Van Life Cookbook is the perfect size to carry along on any road trip. The pintsized packaging is filled with simple, easy-peasy, recipes, a gourmet look, and delivers culinary treats with a five-star taste.

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Title: The Van Life Cookbook

Author: Susan Marque.

Publisher: Ulysses Press.

Length: 128 pages, Hardcover.


MSRP: $19.95 (US) $26.95 (CAN).

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