I’ve been asked what foods to take on camping trips and all I can answer is, “It depends.” It depends on a lot of things like the weather (rainy, sunny, windy, snowy), the time of year (spring, summer, fall, winter), and the likes and dislikes of those members of the group that are going to be eating the food, and last of all, who is the cook? Is he/she knowledgeable in outdoor cooking or is he/she a transplanted indoor cook that doesn’t know a charcoal briquet from a hamburger? Will the cooking be done outside over hot coals, or charcoal, on a camp stove, in a cabin, or in an RV?
Let me break it down for you. Let’s start with who is going. Let’s say it’s your immediate family (mom, dad, junior, sister). Let’s say it’s a weekend in the summer time (June or July). Last of all let’s say it’s sunny all weekend with just a slight breeze blowing. The first thing you do is make a list of the meals that will be prepared, how they will be prepared, and what supplies will be needed both for stocking the chuck box and for preparing the meals.
A typical weekend for my family would be Friday night supper, Saturday breakfast, Saturday lunch, Saturday supper, and Sunday breakfast. There are five meals to prepare for. We’ll break them down:
Chuck Box supplies:aluminum foil, paper towels, toilet paper, matches, cooking oil, butter, salt, pepper, catsup, hot sauce, garlic powder, syrup, peanut butter, jelly, instant coffee, hot cocoa packets, crackers, and sugar.
Friday night supper
we normally make a big pot of soup, chili, or a casserole to take with us and not have to rush around in the dark trying to set up camp and cook at the same time. This saves a lot of harsh words that seem to pop up on this occasion. Sometimes we just stop and eat at a fast-food restaurant on the way to the campground.
scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage links, fried potatoes/onions, toast, bananas, coffee, and hot cocoa. (Supplies – three eggs per person, two sausage links per person, one medium potato per person, one large onion for the group, two slices of bread per person. Beat all the eggs together and fry in a little cooking oil. In another skillet cook the diced potatoes and diced onion together. Heat the sausage links in aluminum foil over hot coals or brown in a separate skillet. Toast the bread by buttering the slices and browning them in a skillet. Serve up breakfast with butter and jelly. Have hot water for instant coffee or cocoa.
Cup-a-soup, crackers, PB & J sandwiches, apples, cookies, bug juice, and coffee. (Supplies – cup-a-soup packets [one or two per person plus hot water], peanut butter, jelly, bread (4 slices per person), 1 or 2 apples per person, 2 or more cookies per person, Kool-Aid, instant coffee and crackers.)
Hobo dinners, garlic toast, Ray’s special dessert (hamburger patty, 1/2 potato (sliced), spoonful of condensed mushroom soup, 1 slice of American cheese, 1 tomato slice, 1 spoonful of green beans, salt & pepper to taste, and double wrap in aluminum foil). If anyone is extra hungry then have them make two hobo dinners instead of doubling up on the ingredients for one. For garlic toast, I buy the kind that just needs to be warmed up in its aluminum foil wrapper. Oh, and what is Ray’s Special Dessert? It’s very simple; it’s a generous slice of pound cake with a dollop of cherry pie filling on top. Squirt some pressurized whipped cream on that and serve. It tastes like you spent all day preparing it.
Pancakes, bacon, butter, syrup, hot coffee, hot cocoa, canned fruit salad (Use complete pancake mix (just add water), cut package bacon in half for easier/quicker frying.) Set the syrup in a pan of hot water and warm it up – your family will appreciate this touch.
Use or modify menu to suit your family’s needs or wants. One family I know of likes to camp but doesn’t cook anything except s’mores on their campouts. They go out to eat at every meal. I say, “To each his own,” but they’re missing out on some of what I call adventures in cooking.