Cooking “On the Road” with Jack Kerouac (1957)


The smell of a ‘billion tortillas frying and smoking in the night’ wafts through Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Check out the video below for our thoughts on this fabulous novel and, of course, for this blogpost’s recipe.



500g strong white bread flour

1 tsp dried active yeast

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt

350ml water


1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, then add the oil and water. Bring together into a rough dough before turning it out on a lightly floured surface.

2. Knead for 5-10 minutes (by hand) or 5 minutes (in a mixer with a dough hook). Return to the mixing bowl and cover with a damp teatowel or cling film. Leave for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. It should be left in a warm place, about 18-21 degrees Celsius. As we made this in Durham, not San Francisco, the warm place was my oven which I had pre-heated to 20 degrees. Make sure you turn the oven off if you use this method!

3. Turn the dough out on onto the worktop and knock out the air. Then divide into 10 equal pieces and shape into rough, very thin circles using a rolling pin or your hands. This is the only tricky bit and might take a bit of practice.

4. Heat some oil in a frying pan until it is really hot (as for making pancakes). Then fry each tortilla on both sides for a few minutes, until browned and cooked through. 5. Serve immediately with the beans (see below).

Beans “Fajitas”


This is a movable feast – so throw in whatever you want. The only key ingredients are beans. In On the Road they use pinto beans, but we used kidney beans as they are easier to find in the north-east of England! Below is what we put in:

2 tins kidney beans

1 onion, diced

1 pepper, chopped

1 carrot, chopped


1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cloves garlic

Salt, pepper and any other seasoning you like


1. Heat some oil in a pan, then add the onions and garlic. Cook until brown.

2. Add the vegetables and the beans, then the chopped tomatoes and the seasoning.

3. Simmer for about 15 minutes (although you can leave it for longer).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s