Kookin’ On A Shoestring
If you’re going camping for the first time or the first time since you were a Girl/Boy Scout then you’ll want to do it as cheaply as possible until you get the hang of it; then you can go on and invest in some more sophisticated equipment and be more adventuresome, cooking wise.
Food: Keep the food simple. “The less you cook, the less you burn,” is a good motto. Take some food that you prepare at home before you go out into the wilds. This beats making mistakes in front of strangers.
Potatoes: Boil, bake, or microwaved ahead. They can be cubed and fried, made into mashed potatoes, potato salad, wrapped in aluminum foil and ‘baked’ and they can be eaten ‘as is’ without heating.
Eggs: Eggs boiled ahead of time can be used to make potato salad/egg salad, used as ‘boiled’ eggs, pickled eggs, deviled eggs, or sliced and made into egg sandwiches.
Bacon: Cook at home and serve as is, with eggs, in BL&T sandwiches, crumbled into an omelet, thrown into a bean pot for flavoring, or put on a salad.
Hobo Dinners: Can be made ahead of time and taken with you. Keep in cooler until dinnertime.
Utensils: Large spoon, spatula, carving/butcher knife, tongs, pliers, cutting board, dishpan, dishsoap, dishrag, dishtowel, a few wire coat hangers, potholders, and a water jug. Don’t forget a knife, fork, spoon, bowl, plate, and cup for each person or let them bring their own.
Large coffee pot: Used for heating water for dishes, instant coffee, tea, hot cocoa, cup-a-soup, and bouillon.
Skillet: I recommend a large cast iron skillet for over the coals cooking.
Large deep pot: Use for making chili, stew, soup, or as a boiling water, dip & rinse pot when doing dishes.
Something to cook on: Camp stove and fuel, charcoal grill and charcoal or wood for a fire (most campsites in state parks are equipped with a fire ring/grate). Cook over hot coals not over an open flame.
Seasonings & a few extras: Salt, pepper, lemon juice or lemon pepper (for fish), ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, onions (regular & green), white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, paprika, instant coffee, bouillon cubes, instant cocoa, tea bags, flour, corn meal, margarine, cooking oil, and hot sauce. (Take these items in masking tape marked Tupperware or other plastic containers in proportion to what you will actually be using for an overnighter or for a two-day weekend.)
THE OLD TRADITIONAL BOY SCOUT/GIRL SCOUT HOBO DINNER
(If I had but one recipe to give to someone starting out camping, it would be this one.)
1 hamburger patty, pork chop, or chicken part(s)
1 medium potato (sliced) 1 carrot (sliced)
1 medium onion (sliced) 1 thick slice of tomato
1 American cheese slice 1 tbsp. green beans
1 tbsp. condensed mushroom soup salt & pepper to taste
Tear off a 12”x24” piece of aluminum foil. Fold to make two 12” hinged squares. Lift the top piece of foil and fold back. Place ingredients in the middle of the bottom square of aluminum foil in the order they are given in the recipe.
Fold the top of the aluminum foil over the ingredients. Seal the sides by folding. Seal the end opposite the hinge last. Use heavy-duty foil or wrap the package in foil a second time for strength. Place package on grate over hot coals and move or turn often. It should be done in 30 to 45 minutes.
Extra hungry? Do not double up on the package contents; it will only take longer to cook and the foil has a tendency to tear. Make two packages instead. The cheese, tomato, and soup will combine in the package to make gravy. You might serve the ‘stew’ over a thick slice of bread, cornbread, or on a layer of crackers.
Try some shoestring kookin’ ‘round your next kampfire.
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