You Can Camp? You Can Cook!

Every year my friend Sandy and I go camping at least once, sometimes twice, in Northern Lower Michigan. One of our favorite things to do is cook over the fire. We’re planning on going in early June so watch for my upcoming blog post about our trip in a couple months. You can also check out my post from last fall, “Fish Tacos Over a Fire,” for a recipe suggestion.

An article in The New York Times’ travel section inspired tonight’s blog post. It mentions ROW Adventures Culinary Whitewater Series, which focuses on Northwest regional fare cooked in a Dutch oven over a campfire. O.A.R.S., another adventure rafting company, brings a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef on its Wilderness Gourmet trip series. And Royal Tine Camp Cook School offers the reward of cooking in the refreshing mountain air of Montana’s outdoors. So if you’re not inclined to attempt a camping and cooking trip on your own, you can hook up with one of the above organizations to try it with a pro in the comfort of a group.

It just goes to show you that you can eat well even if you’re living in a tent for a few days. That’s the way Sandy and I approach our camping weekends. Why suffer with hot dogs and Spam? If you prefer happy food, you can always find a way to cook over a fire. The key is to organize your recipes and ingredients so that they overlap from day to day.

For example, when we camp in Northern Lower Michigan in early June, asparagus is usually in season so we’ll roast it over the fire for dinner. Then we’ll use the leftover in a frittata for breakfast the next day. It just takes a little planning before you go. And plenty of dry, aged firewood.

(I’ll share one little secret with you: One of my weaknesses is the traditional Jiffy Pop popped over the fire. There’s nothing like a little nostalgia on a camping trip and Jiffy Pop sure brings back memories. Plus, it’s an easy snack before bed when the only light in the campsite is the orange glow of the campfire.)


2 responses to “You Can Camp? You Can Cook!

  1. Kate Convissor


    Just checked your blog after sending my last email. I’ll sure check in for your campfire recipes. How much does the quality of the campfire matter? Do you need coals?


    • Hi Kate,

      For me, the campfire quality depends on the type of food: For slow-cooking, coals are a must. For brewing coffee and heating up a skillet for frittata, full flame. And for something like shrimp or roasted asparagus, a fair amount of flame is nice. The key is to make sure the fire is going well enough that it won’t go out while you’re in the midst of cooking. I’ve considered getting a camp stove at some point since it’s not always necessary to stoke up a fire for a small meal such as breakfast. Or, sometimes we just get bagels and coffee somewhere on the road to the wineries!

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