Monthly Archives: May 2013

Seven Spices for the Road

One thing I learned as my time as a grunt–EAT WELL.

I have to laugh when modern-day explorers or weekend recreationist complain about the lack of variety in food. Stud, when I deployed out- we only had 12 choices of meals for an entire deployment. If you could see me squeezing my thumb and index finger together, you might mistake it for the world’s smallest violin…actually its 10,000 lbs of compressed give-a-crap.

This last week I was sorting through old…really old stuff as I was reorganizing the garage. I found my collection of spices in a 30-round magazine pouch. Each spice neatly packed in what we now know to be highly hazardous 35mm film canister. When its MRE’s, box-nasties, or the odd K-Ration, a guy has got to add something to make things in best case different–in worse case…palatable.

Inside the ammo pouch I found the following spices I threw in my ruck and still use for the backcountry-


OK- not a spice, but a main ingredient for all grunts. It can make the most rancid field ration go down good. Perfect for powdered eggs and “Cookie’s” special chow. Still use it today for most of my meals.


Spices up anything from lame potatoes to hot cocoa. I used it extensively when working with the Germans in the late 80’s. Was great since everything was based on potatoes.


I picked this up from the Brits- and though not a huge fan, I like it in some of the boil and serve meals for backpacking. Some say with sugar it is good for post meal deserts. OK…not going to try…


We used to get served sludge in place of coffee. I swear there has to be some kind of machismo or street cred for making the absolute worse coffee. I faked two habits while serving. One was smoking and the other was drinking sludge. The first was because you could get a break from guard duty or out of formation to go smoke. I carried cancer sticks to either get a chance to get off post or to socialize with the locals. The second vice, drinking sludge was a survival mechanism in cold weather. A warm cup of crap will heat the insides. It definitely goes better with cinnamon. Grunts don’t do creme and sugar.

Also great with oatmeal. The rations were so bad on a deployment one time that I ate oatmeal for nearly every meal for 45 days. My nickname was ACME…for the brick company

Italian Seasoning

Great for any pasta you bring with you to add to the mix or the stuff packed in an MRE. Will do wonders for camp food as well.


I became addicted to Garlic while stationed at Ft Dix, where ticks were horrible. I ate so much that Vampires and Vixen’s alike repelled me. Great for unsalted potatoes.

Taco Spice

Yep, the stuff you mix with ground beef for a fiesta meal. I will add this to anything meant to be consumable. Great for taking to Asia when you need a different flavor in your diet.

Taking extra spices with you is a way to make some very creative meals. It will also make you very popular when your crew is pushing the same foods down the gullet everyday.

iPad Apps for the Business Side of Adventure

I wanted to put together a quick article on apps I use when on the go– mostly for international travel and not so much in my rig.  Having apps on the iPad really helps when negotiating a  price on a gift, finding a hotel, or just finding where you are. While there are productivity apps I use such as BossJock for the podcast and GeoCaching for well…geocaching, these are more to keep my business life going well so I can enjoy my adventure time. So here is a brief breakdown of whats on my pad whether I’m doing a workshop in Asia or meeting a client in Europe.



I suck at numbers and every admin I have ever had hates the way I keep track of expenses. This tool keeps me organized and even helps me set up AMEX payments. Now I can manage expenses as they occur on trips and in the field. I can even photograph and upload my receipts using the iPad camera and itemize charges to expedite the expense reporting process.



First, I miss Google Maps. Stuck with this on the iPad though, it works as a navigational tool, using GPS location to help map routes on highways and mass transit systems. nearby, saving time in the field.

Urban Spoon


This has been more successful in the US and I honestly have not tried it abroad (yet). The app  searches the area for restaurants, cafes and other eateries. It leverages a ranking system and list  results by distance and price. I found I can even look for specific types of food as well as to rate and socialy share suggestions.



A must for international travel. It provides up-to-date currency exchange rate information for most common currencies.

Gate Guru


Remember O.J. running through the airport trying to catch a plane? That was before he was fleeing in a white Bronco or breaking into hotel rooms. GateGuru provides real-time flight status information including up-to-date information on security lines, just what I need…another reason to stress.