This week brought
a brace of camping cookbooks, which I regarded with curiosity.
Though our family lives on 20 rustic acres, all my outdoor
cooking--whether on propane burner or kettle grill--takes place no
more than the requisite 10 feet away from the house. Every
dash back inside for a forgotten tool or ingredient counts as a
hassle. So how indeed, I wondered, do people with the camping
bug manage a decent hot meal?
Annie Bell's The
Camping Cookbook has a wide variety of upscale recipes that
just happen to be cooked outside, with one-pot meals, fish baked in
newspaper, duck hash (made with pâté), soigné-looking pork and lamb
roasts. Although practical tips occur throughout the book,
the main external clue that this is a camping book rather than a
beach entertaining/summer parties/grill book is the heavily
laminated, wipe-off cover.
On the other end of the spectrum is Mike Faverman and Pat Mac's
Ultimate Camp Cooking, whose motto seems to be "get it done any
way you can." From omelets in Ziploc bags to sloppy casseroles of
chicken and Ritz casseroles, this is minimum-effort. filling, and
occasionally unsightly food.
Either book, however, has got to be a step in the right
direction--i.e., away from cold trail mix and rehydrated foil
packets. You still have to schlep the cookstoves and fresh
ingredients though, unless, of course, you cook and camp in your
vegetable garden. Hey! now that's an idea.