The Great Outdoors


Way back when I was a Scoutmaster, the boys in my troop came up with a unique idea of going camping with no pots, pans, skillets, or cooking utensils other than a knife and a roll or two of heavy duty aluminum foil. I had to admit that I was stunned with their suggestion after I had told them to come up with some ideas for a ‘different’ kind of campout.
I tried to teach them that camp cooking does not have to resemble cooking at home. Camping out is supposed to be fun and nobody likes to do more home chores when on a campout. It’s a ‘let’s have some fun’ time not a repeat of what goes on at home in the kitchen time like doing dishes, scrubbing pots and pans, and kitchen cleanup.
I had expected them to say, “Let’s eat off paper plates and not have to do dishes,” or “Let’s try some one-pot cooking,” or even “Let’s grill all our food instead of using skillets and pots.” I never expected them to do away with cooking utensils completely on a long weekend campout, but that’s exactly what they proposed and did.
They asked me what I thought of the idea of cooking everything in aluminum foil for the entire weekend. I said, “Go for it.” They then started looking for books on cooking in aluminum foil and oddly enough there were some on the bookshelf in my den. My sons found them and I couldn’t think of where I acquired them until my wife reminded me that they were in the box of books that my mother-in-law had sent to me when she and her husband broke up housekeeping and moved into an apartment. I hadn’t noticed them; I just stacked them on my bookshelf and didn’t even read the titles, saving that for a rainy day.
One book is titled Carefree Cooking With Aluminum Foil and it was put out by Reynolds Wrap and the copyright is 1975; it’s 128 pages long. Another one, Creative Cooking With Aluminum Foil by Eleanor Lynch and sponsored by Reynolds Wrap with a copyright date of 1967 and it’s 193 pages long. I also have several small booklets Outdoor Tips, Outdoor Cooking The Easy Way, and Hot Tips for Outdoor Living by Joseph D. Bates, Jr. that feature Alcoa Aluminum foil and one last booklet Outdoor Cooking with Reynolds Wrap put out by Reynolds Metals Company that was written in 1950. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know that they used aluminum foil in 1950. If I had I’m sure my own Boy Scout camping trips would have been a lot different.
I can’t tell you what all they cooked that weekend but my sons said that the main dinner meal consisted of HoBo dinners and they were good and they made plenty to go around. I should have eaten with the boys.
I guess the general gist of the books is that you can cook anything in aluminum foil and they give you several tips and lots of recipes to make your campout cooking successful. Now that you have the titles of the books, you might want to check with the Allen County Public Library and see what they have.
Here at home I do ‘some’ cooking in aluminum foil like roasts and chicken breasts in the oven. I like to smear a can of undiluted condensed cream of mushroom soup over the thawed (or frozen) roast, sprinkle on an envelope of onion soup mix, wrap the meat up in heavy duty aluminum foil, and bake on a cookie sheet (to catch the drippings) at 250 degrees until done. By the way, cream of chicken or cream of celery can be substituted for the mushroom soup. If you can smell it cooking it’s very close to being done. At 250 degrees it will take a while to cook especially if you put the meat in the oven while it’s still frozen. Leave yourself plenty of time and don’t worry; it won’t burn even if you leave it in the oven a while longer.

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Ray McCune

He has lived in Waynedale for over 45 years. He has taken to his lifelong dream of being a full time Outdoor Freelance Writer and author. Ray has authored one book and has written Kampfire Kookin' as well as other outdoors articles for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer