Product Review: The Feed Zone Cookbook

Disclaimer: Your editor is a regular customer for Skratch Labs’s hydration products.  The Feed Zone was purchased, it was not a promotional copy.

For a couple of years, I’ve used Skratch Labs’s hydration products.  With one order a few months ago, they included a recipe for chicken fried rice, excerpted from The Feed Zone Cookbook.  It was a hit with my family, so I broke down and ordered the book.

The Feed Zone isn’t just about the recipes. Pro endurance athletes and serious amateurs alike should read the introductory sections on macronutrients, how to time meals, and alternatives such as gluten-free eating.

“When you are competing, make sure that you aren’t hungry.”

The recipes, are divided into sections for breakfast, portables, après-workout, and dinner.  Breakfast is pretty straightforward around here; my oatmeal is actually pretty similar to Biju’s Oatmeal.  I focused on dinner items, using both après-workout and dinner recipes

The recipes I’ve tried are all straightforward, easy to prepare, and taste good.  Whether you’re cooking for a pro bike team in a stage race, or your family, one needs to plan ahead for some recipes.  I found out the hard way that making buffalo and sweet potato tacos goes a lot quicker if you actually have pre-cooked sweet potatoes on hand.  Subsequent iterations of this meals came together much more quickly with pre-cooked sweet potatoes that I’d stashed in the freezer.

Biryani, from The Feed Zone Cookbook

Biryani, from The Feed Zone Cookbook

The meals draw on a variety of influences from Asian to Mediterranean. Like most recipes, they lend themselves to modification.  As I made successive versions, the chicken fried rice now includes red peppers and broccoli.

When the authors write, “serves two,” they generally mean two servings for someone who’s just completed a 150-mile training ride or a four-hour ski and burned 4000 calories.  The rest of us should expect to have leftovers.

This review wouldn’t be complete without some of the “portables” recipes included. Portables are Lim’s and Thomas’ re-imagining of an energy bar.  The book outlines their rationale for a savory alternative to commercial energy bars and gels.

Allen's rice cakes

Allen’s rice cakes

The rice cakes with bacon, egg and cashews were great, but next time I’d add tamari or touch of salt.  Allen’s Rice Cakes were also tasty.  One of them survived two and a half hours in a jersey pocket on a sweltering, humid bike ride.  Another tasted great after being in my car all day.  While they’re intended to be consumed within 48 hours of preparation, I had success freezing them individually and defrosting them as needed.  Skratch kindly responded to an email inquiry on preserving them.  Plus one for responsiveness to customers.

All in all, The Feed Zone Cookbook is a worthwhile addition to your cookbook arsenal.  Strongly recommended.