"The Overland Cook" - A cookbook by Marco A. Hernandez: Our Review

Author: TJ Bosworth
Date: December 19, 2020

Few things go together better than food and travel. For those of us who prefer our travel via modified vehicle over a dirt road, we often get caught up in packing what is best stuffed into our cooler, or what is quickest to whip up after a long and tiring day of overland exploration. I am guilty of it myself, and find myself less and less gastronomically satisfied cooking a brat over a fire and calling it good (Although they do still taste pretty good!) But it is important that we as dirt road enthusiasts retain our human nature of enjoying good food, regardless of packing size or prep time!

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If your mind is a jumble of recipes, wondering how you could convert a traditional home recipe into something worth raving about while sitting at camp, look no further than Mr. Marco Hernandez, also known as the Overland Cook, or ovrlndx. Marco has put together a fantastic cookbook aptly named The Overland Cook, for those of us wanting more than the mundane sandwich or hotdog. Straight off of the cover, you are immediately intrigued and drawn into his world of trailside gourmet.

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It was my absolute pleasure to finally try out one of his amazing sounding recipes on my last outing. It was something that I am fond of, and have my restaurant of choice for this specific dish, but find myself rarely making it even in the comfort of my well-equipped home kitchen. 

Fish Tacos 

Now I will admit that space is very precious to me considering my 2 door jeep, so I was very skeptical that I could pull off a bomb fish taco while packing on the lighter side of things. There are just so many components. You need the crunch of fried fish, the cool crisp of chopped cabbage or onions, the bite of a garden-fresh pico, and of course a creamy topping of your choice. All of which can be separate recipes by themselves, but Marco sold me. I just had to try my hand at trailside fish tacos.

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One trick I always try to push when people ask how I prepare such fine feasts out wheeling is to prepare as much as you can at home! Sure it may be a small cheat code, but it helps to bridge that gap between bland food and too much campsite prep. For this recipe, I had my pico, my slaw, and my chipotle mayo prepared ahead of time.

With my Skottle fired up and ready with oil, I got to battering and frying my fish. Although I find breading anything a pain, even in a home kitchen, I was determined to finish this one through and claim my personal victory on what could be my favorite homemade fish taco. Once the fish was fried, it was rather easy to go from camp kitchen to fireside meal. A tortilla, some fish, slaw, pico, mayo, and some leftover cilantro and bam! One boss fish taco. 

The majority of the credit goes to Mr. Hernandez for putting together an inspirational book and providing very clean and straight forward recipes that are sure to delight any palate on any trail. All I did was man the tongs and tame the fire. Bon appétit! 

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