Tips and advice

Cooking while camping, Bob style


Cooking while camping, Bob style

It doesn’t matter whether you’re one of the hardened campers who venture forth in winter just as readily and enthusiastically as in summer, or the kind who packs a pair of high heels - you know, just in case. Whether you’re the woodland survivalist type, the tent-trailer type, or perhaps the glamping type, there is one ironclad certainty: Everybody has to eat at some point.

For some campers, meals are just an inconvenient necessity, and one that ideally takes up as little space as possible; preparation in this case is usually viewed as a gruelling ordeal. For others, camping is merely another excuse to put on a sumptuous, stuff-your-face feast - where the culinary becomes a celebration in itself.

While I’m an urbanite by nature, I always love stepping into the great, untamed outdoors. You’ll have guessed that no matter how involved the expedition, my basic requirement is that it revolve around food, and the love of same!

Style and taste are of course deeply personal, but here are five recommendations to help liven up your next excursion to one of our beautiful province’s magnificent camping sites.

The foundation

Whether one is in a kitchen or the deep woods, a good knife is absolutely essential. It can be a chef’s knife or a hunting knife, that choice doesn’t matter as much as the fact it must be properly sharpened. Kitchen tongs, for their part, serve as an extension of the cook’s hands - particularly when they need to hover over a camp fire. Your Visa card isn’t much help in the bush, so don’t leave home without these two indispensable instruments.

The tableware

Let us not sugarcoat matters, one of the main turn-offs at cooking time is dealing with dirty dishes. The clean-up phase is inevitable, which doesn’t make it less of a pain in the neck on a camping trip. It helps to plan accordingly and to have the right equipment on hand. Yes, it might take up valuable room, but bringing a dish tub will at least save you the trouble of leaving stray utensils behind in the river. Above all else, remember to bring biodegradable soap.

The storage

Perhaps the biggest challenge when staying in areas without easy access to electricity (no, it’s not charging your phone) is storing food and keeping it fresh. That’s where planning comes into play, more specifically planning which items will be consumed in what order. For example, a large piece of frozen meat - which you’ll have asked your local butcher to vacuum seal - can keep other food refrigerated until you’re ready to eat it. If we’re talking chicken, you should of course leave nothing to chance. Eat it first, you don’t want to wreck your trip. Also, leave the inevitable “icepaks” in the garage or basement, freeze some bottled water instead and bring that along; presto, you know have another source of potable water.

The tinned goods

Gastronomes tend to look down on canned foods, but they definitely have their place when it comes to camping. As I often say, there’s nothing wrong with serving up the humble hot dog. Where it gets embarrassing is if they’re terrible. Same goes for canned vegetables. A little oil, some lemon juice, and your herb of choice will allow you to whip up my 3 Canned Bean salad (red, white, black beans) or the 2 Artichoke and Palm Hearts version. Let me know how it works out.

The glitz and glamour

It’s said we also eat with our eyes. But all too often, we neglect the visual aspect of plating meals while on camping trips. Yet, we can adapt to the circumstances. For example, you’ll notice I’ve provided a few variations on bruschetta. Delicious and easy to make even if you go to the trouble of a tidy presentation, odds are your guests won’t clue in that you’re basically serving them pimped-up toast…

Under the stars or in a tent, aboard an RV or in a yurt or cabin, cooking is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to bolster your camping experience. Literally anyone can do it! The only pre-requisite is an interest in eating. Whether it’s over an open fire, a camping gas stove, or a barbeque, leave the beaten path behind; go off-trail with wild game sausage, try something new! Long live camping, and long live the outdoor kitchen!

Something to read

Tips for finding the perfect campsite

Read the article

{{ uniquecode }}

{{ fullname }}