Cooking Ancestrally in a Van

A tiny kitchen. No oven. A miniscule fridge. No electric power. A small two-burner hob. Prep space the size of a chopping board.

Lots of us think we have small kitchens, but imagine cooking nutrient-dense food in these circumstances.

That is exactly what our guest, Charlie Burton did – for her, her husband and their two young children…for two years! And all whilst travelling around Europe in a van.

Listen into this episode to hear:

  • How Charlie cooked three meals a day and lived in a six-and-a-half metre long van and what advice she’d pass on to all of us with limited space.
  • How she managed to find really good food on the move, despite the cultural and linguist challenges.
  • The beautiful food highlights of her trip, including an amazing ancestral-style heaven in Slovenia.
  • How she regularly made pizza without an oven!
  • The constraints and restrictions she experienced on the way and how both of these things can actually support us to live and cook the way we really want to.

Want more?

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“We had a tiny kitchen with a two-burner hob and a tiny fridge…we only had cold water in a tank under the van…I adored my kitchen in that van and I still miss it”

The Run Down:


Intro to Charlie and what she last ate

Charlie’s family trip – why and where

The van and its tiny kitchen


How she got good ingredients despite the language and culture barriers

Highlights of food

“Bread was baked freshly every day, they made their own charcuterie and liquors and then had apples pressed to cider and then they would make vinegar from them; they had tray of wild sliced mushrooms drying in the sun…Not long ago that’s how we were all living”

What she brought home


How often she cooked and how did she do it in the tiny space

Home made pizza!

Fermenting in the van and disasters

45:00 onwards:

What Charlie learnt in and out of the kitchen

“Our travels changed our perspective on life”

Charlie’s advice for those who have a small space and want to eat well

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Charlie’s Blog, Baby Bus Adventures

This is the amazing experience Charlie had in Slovenia.

Charlie’s favourite French markets

The Italian Agriturismo where Charlie had the delicious rabbit meal

Charlie’s business, The Natural Wedding Company (there’s so much inspiration for eco-friendly weddings on the site)

If you would like to be added to the WAPF UK parents facebook group that we mentioned, please contact Charlie via her Baby Bus social media and she’ll sort it for you!

“I really miss the limitations that were put on us by living in a van”

Thank you for listening – we’d love to continue the conversation.

Come find us on Instagram:

Andrea is at Farm and Hearth

Alison is at Ancestral Kitchen

The podcast is at Ancestral Kitchen Podcast

Original Music, Episode Mixing and Post-Production by Robert Michael Kay

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