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Impress your friends with camp culinary prowess

  • Nov 15, 2017

Cooking in the wild has its charms. Sometimes, you can prepare dinner over a roaring fire, roasting marshmallows to make s'mores for dessert. Some meals are eaten, literally, under the stars, and on occasion you may stay over at a campsite where there is an opportunity to use a grill. Most of the time, however, cooking a good meal is up to you, your friends and whatever portable stove someone remembers to bring. Since cooking implements and accouterments are limited while hiking in the wilderness, it can be rather useful to develop some solid campsite cooking skills and port key items so you can eat well, your friends can enjoy a hearty meal and you'll be the talk of the hiking community.

Start with a homemade meal
It doesn't seem that a way to make dehydrated coq au vin has been developed yet, so if you're the self-appointed hiking chef, you have to select your meals with care. But that doesn't mean you have to start on a dinner of dried beans. BBC Good Food suggested that hikers start off on a high note, and then work with ingredients on hand as the hike progresses. Before you arrive at the campsite and begin your hike, you can prepare a small feast at home to warm up on your first night. If dinner is on the menu, a hearty, comforting dish of meatballs and homemade sauce, the source said, is a great communal item. You can heat this up easily over a fire or camp stove, and make pasta to go on the side If you're feeling very adventurous, make a Thai or Indian curry at home with a fragrant sauce and plenty of veggies for everyone to enjoy. Rice or noodles can be simply made at the campsite to complete the menu. Check the temperature on your PRW3100Y-1 before leaving for the trip; if it's going to be hot, you might also want to make a chilled dish and skip the fire altogether. 

On the other hand, should you arrive around breakfast time, prepare egg sandwiches before leaving - using hard-boiled eggs - to munch on prior to starting the day's excursions.

Remember the right items
Outside Magazine ranked its list of seven things any hiking chef needs to bring. The key takeaways? Invest in a solid cooking set with all implements and items you need. And never forget the foil. You can use it to heat up potatoes, for example, keep items warm and make a cornucopia of treats - including those all-important s'mores. If you're only doing day hikes and staying at a base camp, the source adds that it is entirely possible to cook a steak well wrapped up in foil. So if you really want to impress, remember this kitchen staple.

Use a fire to your advantage
Have a chance to build an open fire for cooking? You'll have to start it early, YTravel bloggers advised. Begin the process about an hour before you need to cook so the coals and sticks will get hot enough and make your fire in a designated pit. Someone will have to tend to the flames to keep the coals moving and be at the right, safe temperature to prepare food. Likely, it would be best to designate a hiker who is experienced in maintaining fires and is not the chef, so he or she can focus on the flames and not the food.

In terms of what you can cook, your meal options are only as limited as what you can carry or where you are camping. Hearty stews, a chili or bean-based dishes will shine over an open fire; these items are dehydrated and can be light to carry. If you have a home base camp and are completing day hikes from that location, you will have more flexibility and may be able to cook fresh meats, vegetables and more adventurous meals.

The best way to plan your eats is to work with the group. In some cases, this may mean that everyone wants their turn to cook. However, if one person wants to handle all food preparation, allow him or her to plan and share a shopping list with the group before you leave, so everyone can buy and carry items and share the load. Making edibles outdoors can be a blast, no matter what, just remember to plan ahead, and don't forget the foil.

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