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Motorcycle Food Diaries

Motorcycle Food Diaries

Janaki Jitchotvisut | Chef's Blade

Most people might not think of a motorcycle as a cooking tool, but I assure you, it is. I’m not even talking about rigging a portable 12V crock-pot meant for truckers in order to make a delicious stew underneath my trusty BMW, although that’s a fantastically brilliant idea, and one I wish Alton Brown hadn’t beaten me to. No, indeed—when I first got my 2006 Suzuki Burgman 400, one of the first questions I asked was, “Can it fit a knife roll?”

The answer, of course, was “yes.” Ideally, if money and practicality were no object, the bike of my dreams would be a 2007 Triumph Scrambler with blacked-out engine bits (if you must know, I tend to prefer combinations of things that feature classic styling coupled with modern practicality and internals). It would have to be lowered, because I’m far too vertically challenged to even contemplate riding one at stock height, but arrangements could be (and have been) made for other people, so why not me? I’ve taken and passed the MSF course with flying colors, and it’s not for lack of knowledge or confidence that I chose an automatic bike over a traditional one, with a clutch.

No, the real reason came down to cooking school. Parking in Chicago is a nightmare—except, of course, if you’re on two wheels. But how to transport your knives? Harvey (that’s my Burgie’s name) can easily swallow up any knife roll you can throw at him—and then some. I’ve told people that I could probably fit a small child underneath my seat, then smirked as they stared in disbelief when I lifted it. With 2007, the Burgie 400 got a redesign that was much more aesthetically pleasing, but saw the bike lose a small (but crucial) bit of storage space. No matter what kind of bags you put on any normal motorcycle, you will never match the capacity I’ve got with my Burgie, and that’s a major reason why I’ll probably keep it until it finally dies.

Why am I talking about this now? Something my boyfriend likes to refer to as “PMS” hits during the winter if you live in the Midwest. It’s a sort of cranky restlessness better known to enthusiasts of all things two-wheeled as “Parked Motorcycle Syndrome,” and one way that I’ve found to combat it is to plan ahead for warmer days. If you enjoy riding as much as we do, and yet unfortunately live in the Midwest, there are only two seasons—-riding, and winter. We’ve got cold weather gear that will keep us warm even in the most frigid temperatures, but ice and snow (and salt) are another matter entirely.