A camping trip can only be a great camping trip if the food is great.
The best camping food can often be described as that which cooks between the stick and the flame.
So simple, and yet there is so much that can be done from that position.
I’m not going to take up space with any recipes here. Not only is there too little space and too many ideas I want to share, but I don’t think I could remember a recipe or have ever cooked the same thing twice.
The simple hot dog is a campfire classic. How could you improve on that? Well, I learned to make a bannock that I could cook on a stick one year. The epiphany moment was when I discovered that I could use a stick the same size as a hot dog. That dog slipped perfectly inside that cooked bannock, or better, I could cook the bannock right over the dog … kinda like a campfire corndog.
The marshmallow is another campfire classic. The debate over the best way to cook a marshmallow is ongoing, isn’t it? To cook slowly high over the fire and get a nice, soft puffed-up treat? or to stick that stick right into the heart of the flame and watch it burn like a torch?
My favourite: golden brown the bottom and side, no fire, I don’t want any charring on mine.
Have you ever pulled off a marshmallow that looks like a little cup? Another epiphany moment: it looks just like a shooter glass doesn’t it? Fill it with Bailey’s … Kahlua works, too, but rum or rye will eat through it faster than you can get it to your mouth.
Camp breakfast! Camp breakfast is a whole experience in itself.
Coffee at the campsite just tastes better somehow. No matter how you make it — cowboy, perc, individual cup filter, even campsite espresso maker — the campsite adds to that experience.
Hashbrowns from potatoes baked in the coals of last nights fire; bacon and eggs seasoned with campfire ash: no chef or greasy spoon cook can beat that breakfast.
I’ve baked country pizzas and burritos, but that was so long ago (before kids) that I’ll have to search out those instructions again.
Fresh fish — I almost left that part out — seem to be better at the fishing part than the catching part of that whole equation. Even in the Yukon, the fish are safe when my lines are in the water, but let’s keep that embarrassing little fact between you and me, eh?
Cooked fresh out of the water, off of your own line, it doesn’t matter how you cook it. That’s good fish.
My favourite campfire meal this year is a Paella. A Spanish dish of meat (usually including chorizo and seafood), vegetables (any really, but tomatoes for sure) and rice.
Really, as long as you cook stuff with rice, you’ve got a Paella as long as it’s all cooked up in one big shallow Paella pan.
My favourite part is that traditionally everyone just digs right into that pan to eat, so no plates to wash up.