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My Experience With Camp Cooking: A Case Study

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 10 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Cook Camp Cooking Freeze-dried Meals

Let’s start by saying that I like to cook. I’m not a trained chef, by any means, but it’s something I enjoy. At home I cook for the family (and yes, I do the shopping, too); I always have. My partner washes up afterwards, which is a perfect division of labour for me! So when she suggested a camping holiday, I wasn’t too sure. How can you make a good meal on a campfire or camp stove?

But, since money was a little tight, I let her convince me. Our son was all for it, he considered it a great adventure. Then again, his only responsibility was to enjoy himself, so wherever we went he was going to have fun. We weren’t going to be too adventurous, just set up in a campsite and use it as a base for taking day trips, but that was ample for me. I like the great outdoors, but only in short doses. - I’d camped for a night before, but never the full week we’d agreed on. Still, we’d see.

Making Camp Food Preparations

The first things I needed to buy were a good portable stove and a big cooler for keeping the food fresh. At least I didn’t really have to worry about hauling it around far, so I could go for something large.

Then I had to consider what I was going to make. One pot meals were going to be the order of the day, although I did order some freeze-dried meals, simply to see what they were like (and I didn’t have high hopes). Since we were going in summer, I was planning on some salads, but also chilli, bacon and eggs, chops – all very basic, of course, but I wasn’t about to be too ambitious on primitive equipment. I threw in some potatoes, so we could cook them in a campfire. Also, I bought a couple of cheap pans – the expensive cookware I used at home certainly wasn’t going on a road trip.

Cooking At The Campsite

I cheated the first evening, making a salad and having some cheesecake for afters that I’d made at home and brought in the cooler. My job started the next morning with bacon and eggs to set the three of us for the day.

The real work came with chilli that evening, but it all went very smoothly. I surprised myself by making the transition from a kitchen to a field quite easily and even enjoying it in a strange way. Our ancestors must have done this, I thought – although they wouldn’t have had mince.

So it went during the week. I discovered I could bring in plenty of variety. Risotto with mushrooms from the local farm shop and some chicken went down very well one night, and the freeze dried meal brought in a change, much anticipated by my son (and my partner, since it meant there was much less washing up, and no pans to scrub). It was better than I’d expect, I had to say, although we all agreed that my food, made from scratch, was much better. Then again, it was in their interests to say that, since they wanted to eat for the rest of the week!

Truthfully, it was great fun, and we’ve been twice more since. I’ve become a bit more daring, and I’m learning cowboy cooking, which has opened up the possibilities. The family likes it, and so do I. It’s a new culinary challenge.

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