Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Favorite Camping Meals and Snacks


gknl
 Share

Recommended Posts

What do you like to eat when you're hiking or picnicking? What things do you make that travel well? Obviously, stuff you'll eat on the trail is different from stuff you'll have waiting for you in the car when you're done walking around.

When I was in college, I took a class that involved a Friday 8 am-noon forced march :wink: where we had to take field notes on everything we saw. My group figured out the more food we brought, the longer our breaks would be, so we always had coffee, donuts, bagels, some kind of juice, and later in the year fresh fruit like strawberries. We even brought champagne and orange juice once. The TAs loved us. :laugh:

Is anyone up for doing an egullet nature hike excursion pot luck picnic? Combining food and the outdoors seems like a natural (no pun intended) fit here in the Bay Area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thirty years ago, while rock climbing, weight was important, so a sack of mixed nuts and dried fruit was a great lunch. Today, we motorhome and when we return from a hike with friends, we like to "show off" to one another to see who spreads the best table. One couple had a pair of silver candle sticks gracing a folding table of cold cuts and cheeses. For my money, a good bottle of wine makes a whale of a statement on such an occasion. Anything consumed out-of-doors seems to have a different and wonderful flavor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my money (or in this case, weight), it's always critical to have one splurge in your backpack. Obviously, day hiking and car camping are a totally different animal (or animals as the case may be) but with backpacking--as with climbing--when you're thinking carefully about every extra ounce, I always choose my splurge carefully. Usually I'll fill an extra water bottle with red wine and break it out part way through the trip to share with my companions. Whiskey and other hard liquors are better in the weight ratio because the same weight in whiskey will (or could) last the duration of the trek--but I don't enjoy it as much--so in the end, it's wine for me.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Evil One (the ex) and I used to do quite a bit of camping/canoeing in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area in Minnesota. The Forest Service has special rules for wilderness areas--no cans, no bottles, which makes meal planning for a week or so rather difficult.

Freeze dried food is mostly really gross, and expensive. Fresh fish are great, but not dependable, at least with my fishing skills. No refrigeration, so fresh stuff is out, not to mention the fact that fresh stuff is heavy.

We used to live on "noodles and stuff"--mac and cheese, chicken/beef flavored noodles, spaghetti, when we could find dried tomatoes--remember no cans.

Keeping in mind that fresh air and lots of exercise makes most things edible, we did find some box stuff from Bean Cuisine that was really pretty good, when doctored. Pasta fagiole, beans and rice, that kind of thing.

Fresh bread crushes too easily in a Duluth pack, so we carried tortillas, crackers and pita. Dried salami, dried beef, smoked sausage from Zup's in Ely, sometimes fresh meat for the first night out.

URK, and oatmeal for breakfast. The instant kind, with "peaches and cream" or brown sugar. Gag.

This does make me wish I had someone to go paddling with--a couple days on the lake listening to the loons and worrying about moose and wondering if the bear pack is strung up high enough in the tree would be nice. Ice out is the first of May--anybody wanna go?

sparrowgrass
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only time I've ever enjoyed lamb was backpacking in Big Sur. A boned and cubed leg of lamb marinated for a couple of days in yogurt mixed with tandoori spices. I would have thought that would be unsafe, but the people I was tagging along (affectionately known as the girl who ruined my life, not that I'm bitter or anything :rolleyes:) with didn't seem to worry (they didn't have a Pathologist father though!). It was amazing, the only good thing I remember about the trip. She really can cook, that's for sure.

Paddling on that lake sounds wonderful! I wish it were closer to me. Moose and bears are on the list of wildlife I want to see too.

There should be a PBS show "The Trail Gourmet" about eating well in nature.

But if you were going on a day trip, what would your ideal meal be? Two possibilities, one eating out in the field during the hike, and the second eating at the car at the end of the hike. Or heck, why not do both?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ideal trail meal is--

Out on the trail: pan bagnia, with black olives, runny summer tomatoes, basil leaves, onion, arugula, roasted red bell peppers, mozzarella, maybe some capers, and the bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil, and a few drops of wine vinegar. Some kind of bean or lentil salad--maybe that Texas caviar stuff. An apple. And 2 brownies. Water.

Back at the camp: burgers on the grill. Or big fat old Montana steaks.

Mmm. Montana. Did quite a bit of camping and hiking there again this summer. My then-boyfriend was amazed at our refusal to stop eating well just because we were in the middle of nowhere. After a day of strenuous hiking in Glacier, back at the campground, we ate absolutely enormous ribeyes on the grill. There was an (absolutely enormous) forest fire inching its way down the hill towards our campground. All around us, people were pulling up stakes and getting out of there. My uncle refused to budge until the steaks were done and eaten. My mom, aunt and I didn't question his judgement, just sat there, drank beers, and waited for dinner.

Poor boyfriend was pacing back and forth, one eye on the steaks, one eye on the fire. Already jumpy after a few near-misses with a young grizzly earlier that day (city boy), he finally stalked over to me, leaned down to where I sat (quite calmly) and hissed: "You people are f*****g insane. Can we PLEASE get out of here."

My uncle overhead him, and said, "don't get yer balls in a knot, now. The steak's not done."

He then shot me a meaningful glance. I knew that boyfriend wouldn't last. :laugh:

Edit: to say what a great spot to hit my 200th post, and if I had the means, I'd post the photo of that forest fire in the background of those steaks on the grill. A great shot.

Edited by NeroW (log)

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great story, NeroW! If you have the photo scanned, you can set up an imagestation account and store it there, all for free. I want a bite of that sandwich too. I'm glad you hit your milestone here! :smile:

And here's an article from today's SF Chronicle about picnic food. Enjoy!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...05/FD194160.DTL

Picnic in the field

Early spring strawberries, tender asparagus and more inspire a posh alfresco meal

Georgeanne Brennan, Special to The Chronicle Ê Wednesday, March 5, 2003

The grass was green, the little lake was ice-cold, the first wildflowers were blooming, and sizzling on an improvised mesh grill balanced on rocks above hot coals were fresh spring lamb chops from the ranch.

The weather, with a bit of morning chill, promised to be fair and mild by midday. The coals were the remains of the big oak fire we had built earlier in the morning to warm our hands and boil our coffee before we set out on a meandering hike up the canyons.

It's the time in Northern California when spring is just begging to be let in the door. No matter that it's still officially winter - with the grass at its brightest green and a mellowing bite in the air, I'm heading outside to recreate outings of years past, when we picnicked on the grounds of a friend's sheep ranch in Solano County.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, off the lake and on the trail. Hmmm. Well, I remember when my kids were little, we would stick a pack of hot dogs, some buns and a little jar of mustard, maybe some apples and cookies, too, in the pack, hike for an hour or so and then build a little fire and eat hotdogs--I remember those meals fondly.

Or cross country skiing in the cold til I was shivery and sweaty and tired, and then hitting a little cafe for Navajo tacos or chile verde--that was yummy.

sparrowgrass
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This does make me wish I had someone to go paddling with--a couple days on the lake listening to the loons and worrying about moose and wondering if the bear pack is strung up high enough in the tree would be nice. Ice out is the first of May--anybody wanna go?

Sparrowgrass--I sure do. Where are we going? This thread is making me kind of sad, with school starting up, I don't know when I'll next be able to spend half a summer out West.

What a great story, NeroW! If you have the photo scanned, you can set up an imagestation account and store it there, all for free. I want a bite of that sandwich too. I'm glad you hit your milestone here!

Tomorrow I will bring the photos in to work and scan them here. I'll see if I can get them up, I've had no luck so far. It makes me laugh just thinking of it: my uncle in his "Montana" hat, all sweaty, brandishing a meat fork, leaning over these steaks and glaring at the camera . . . and the entire horizon behind him filled with black smoke.

Reminds me of another memorable trail meal: Wild Horse Island, Flathead Lake, Montana, a place so awesome that I could be eating moldy pepperoni and still be happy. After hiking and encountering a huge herd of bighorn sheep and their babies, my aunt laid a cloth with hangar steak (marinated in her secret teriyaki stuff), thinly sliced, cold sesame noodles sprinkled with scallions, a huge salad, and wine. We stuffed ourselves and then took a swim just as the sun went down over the lake.

Boyfriend wasn't complaining about THAT one.

I want to go back there right now. :sad:

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I am hiking and not car camping, I usually take salami, bread, nuts, oranges, dry pasta, garlic, EVOO, baggies of herbs, a hard cheese, among others. All of its is fairly lightweight, durable and does not require refrigeration.

Car camping is different story all together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My one real camping trip (7 days in Wind River, Wyoming), we packed all this freeze dried pasta crap in foil. The day before we left, I ran to a little sporting goods store on 23rd street and a bought a $20 dollar folding fishing rod and $20 worth of plastic worms and lures. The first evening, we set up camp and I went to the lake. On my very first cast, I pulled in a 5 pound brown trout. These two guys were fly fishing about 5 minutes away and when they saw me reeling in my fish they ran over to ask what type of fly I was using. One of the guys had flown in from Rome to do fly-fishing, but they hadn't caught anything. When they saw the long, pink worm sticking out of the fish's mouth, they nearly cried. I offered them the fish, explaining that I was a New Yorker and forgot my mother's recipe for gefilte fish. (The Italian guy was named Finzi, he laughed.) They showed me how to clean the trout, and whilst they were doing so, my girlfriend caught another trout, which we gave to them.

Fresh trout good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In high school, I spent a month doing a NOLS program in the Wind River Range. I was feisty back then, and being from Charleston, SC and dragged along many flyfishing excursions with my father, not interested in flyfishing. On the 30th day when we rejoined our leaders after 20 days alone, I didn't join the group for a flyfishing lesson--I found a natural bath-- a spot in the stream where it was shaped like a bath and took one. I then sunbathed on top of a rock--it was a fantastic experience.

We had basically run out of our rations--NOLS had excellent food, but we had little leftover besides grapenuts: a bit of butter and cornmeal. I retunred from my nap and found that one of my tentmates had caught 2 little brooktrout. We used one of the leftover plastic bags to coat the fish in the meal and butter--NOLS heads the "Leave No Trace Behind" program so we packed all of our trash out. After eating the fish, I went to go fill up the water tank as I was in charge of breakfast--what little there would be. When I returned, my 2 tentmates told me they had saved the last bits for me. I eagerly scarfed it up--I can still remember the slight vinegar taste. They thought this was hilarious...."Nerissa, you just ate the tail and fins!"

When I hike-I like to bring along oranges and chocolate-- I suppose its because that is what my father packed when he took us hiking as children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It has been my experience that it's always a good plan to go backpacking with someone who likes good food, enjoys cooking, has kids to feed—and is controlling. In this case it’s one of my best backpacking buddies. At the beginning, everyone in the group would be responsible for one day of meals but as the years have worn on this friend has taken over organizing meal duties—and he’s damn good at it. I know we had a thread about trail food at some point previously but because I can’t find it and I seem to have no memory cells, bear with me if you’ve heard this one before. The first day on the trail always includes some fresh veggies—like tomatoes—because they haven’t been crushed in our packs yet. Bean burritos with freeze dried beans (they’re really good--from the grocery store), salsa, cheese, etc. A really satisfying meal when you’re just starting out on the trail--gone by lunch on the first day--and lightens the pack load by a few pounds (depending upon the size of the group). Probably my favorite of his meals is his pasta with pesto, parmesan and pine nuts, usually served midway through the trip. At this point on the trek the pesto container has been crushed and olive oil is leaking into the Ziplock bag--adds flavor I'm sure. This is also when we usually bust out the wine reserve.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably my favorite of his meals is his pasta with pesto, parmesan and pine nuts, usually served midway through the trip.

This reminds me of one of my fave trail pasta dishes. (It does require heat). Saute a mess of chopped garlic in butter or olive oil. Add sliced black olives, small jar of diced pimentoes, chopped walnuts or pecans. Toss with pasta and lots of parmesan. Of course, this can be embellished with whatever you have. Quick and satisfying.

Lobster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back when I was more of a happy camper than I am today, I found a pretty great cookbook written especially for hikers, campers and canoeists. The recipes were probably too hardcore for the casual or day hiker, but since every ounce counts to a back-country hiker, dried food was always better than whole foods.

One of the staple ingredients in some of their recipes was dried ground beef. It certainly will never be confused with a good strip steak, but it's lightweight and keeps practically forever on the shelf. I ended up relying on a batch I made some time before when I was holed up in my house in the great blizzard of '96 for a week.

In these times of stockpiling emergency rations, it might not be a bad idea to revisit the recipe. Or maybe it's just an interesting experiment in food preservation.

Basic Dried Ground Beef Mix

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ c finely chopped onion
  • ground pepper
  • 1/4 t. rosemary
  • 1 ½ packets instant beef boullion
  • ¼ t. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 t salt

Brown the beef with the garlic and onion. Drain as much of the fat out of the pan as possible. (Its important to remove all of the fat, as the fat will go rancid over time.) Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat.

Spread the mixture in a thin layer onto a foil lined cookie sheet and dry in a 140° oven with the door propped open until the mixture is crumbly... about 6 hours. After drying, spread mix on paper towels to wick off whatever grease may remain. Put in a tightly sealed container or zip lock, and store in a cool, dry place, preferably in the fridge.

To reconstitute, add 1¾ cups water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Dried Tomato Sauce / Tomato Leather

  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 6-ounce cans of tomato past
  • 1 t salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 t chopped parsley
  • black pepper to taste
  • small pinch of basil
  • small pinch of oregano

Saute the onion and the garlic together in the oil until they are soft and golden. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Spray a cookie sheet with a nonstick spray, and spread the mixture out in as thin a layer as possible, using 2 pans if necessary. Dry the sauce in an oven at 140° for about 6 hours with the door propped open. Do not overdry or the reconstituted sauce will taste burned. Roll the sauce up like a fruit leather and put it into a plastic bag.

To reconstitute, add triple the amount of water to the dried sauce, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Makes about 1 cup of sauce, enough to feed 4-6 people with pasta.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I love this thread! Thanks for starting it. My husband hates to camp and I love it, so I've been training our 10-year-old son to be my trail buddy.

We just got back from a two-night car-camp with his Scout troop. On the second night, the whole troop always does chicken hobo packets (packing my own stash of hot sauce makes it slightly more bearable :biggrin: ). On the first night, when I get to do our own meal, I try to do something more enjoyable. This time I took a frozen bag of my own Bolognese sauce, heated it on the Coleman and served it over good-quality toasted buns for a Sloppy Joe. Toasting buns takes a lot less fuel than trying to cook pasta.

I also specialize in camp breakfasts -- this time, we did pancakes, cooked apples and Canadian bacon. Other times, I've caramelized banana slices in a skillet on the Coleman and poured pancake batter over them.

Unfortunately, the Scouts have a solid rule that no one can take alcohol. Too bad -- a little nip by the fire would make the S'more smears on my jacket easier to take.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

So next week, I'm going camping for three days in one of our beautiful provincial parks. I'm going with a friend of mine who doesn't cook. We did this last year and the deal was I'd cook, she'd clean up. Last year I took some rib eye steaks that I marinaded, some of my famous (or infamous) peanut burgers, and of course bacon and eggs for breakfast. Marshmallows for toasting were requisite. We ate out the third night.

What are your favourite foods to take camping?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know how much access to fire and equipment you have, we usually work with a backpackers little campstove and the campsite fireplace -- 2-3 pots or pans at once. I'm assuming you're not backpacking.

After a day of serious hiking or other outdoor grunge, we like to put some black beans over a low fire with whatever flavoring you feel like hauling along ...onion, cumin, garlic, wine, sugar. Then, on the other fire, make up some rustic quesadillas -- grated cheese between two tortillas, fried like a pancake in the oil until the cheese melts out and gets crunchy. Jarred or homemade salsa isn't bad either, and you can put the beans in a bowl, the quartered quesadilla on the beans and the salsa on top and eat the whole thing with a spoon and your fingers.

It's about half-way between authentic and Chi-Chi's, or maybe half-way between steak and peanut burgers, but something about beans and tortillas and woodsmoke just works.

Best dinner ever was when my son caught crawfish in the creek next to the campsite, and we made crawfish pasta for dinner.

Also, you can make great garlic bread by chopping garlic into hot butter over the fire, and toasting bread in it like French toast (Italian toast?) until brown.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to take:

Marinated in a zip-lock "protein of choice" cubes for wooden skewers/kebabs. Sometimes its beef, sometimes chicken, sometimes lamb. Occasionally I do swordfish.

Big containers of dipping things like hummus, baba ghanoush and pita bread that can be grilled to order

Good stuff to make over-the-fire omelets for breakfast. My personal best while camping once was a shitake mushroom and brie omelet that came out startlingly good for not having a real stove. :smile:

Good sausages for grilling.

Homemade trail mix with lots of dried fruit and nuts, shredded coconut, etc.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds great and the the weather should be perfect. Algonquin?

If there is some place around that sells good local fish and there usually is, we try have at least one dinner built around that. It's also part of the pleasure to forage at markets for local strawberries etc.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like to take:

Marinated in a zip-lock "protein of choice" cubes for wooden skewers/kebabs.  Sometimes its beef, sometimes chicken, sometimes lamb.  Occasionally I do swordfish.

Big containers of dipping things like hummus, baba ghanoush and pita bread that can be grilled to order

Good stuff to make over-the-fire omelets for breakfast.  My personal best while camping once was a shitake mushroom and brie omelet that came out startlingly good for not having a real stove.  :smile:

Katie -- I like your definition of roughing it.

One great think I found camping in Oregon: even the stores that specialize in fishing licenses and canned goods usually have a decent selection of cheap, tasty Oregon wines.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

seal some cut veggies(zuchini, squash, red onions, mushrooms) in a aluminum foil pouch with a few butter pats, S&P and fresh herbs.

Toss it near or slightly on the fire for about 10 to 15 min.

Poke a few holes in the top towards the end of the cooking in order to evaporate some of the steaming liquid from the veggies so you don't have a watery mess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...