Eating Well When You Camp

About a dozen blogs ago I wrote an article on canning cookies. Well, having just returned from a weekend camping trip today, the issues of camp food, convenience, sanitation and comfort are all uppermost in my mind.

The trip was a success. A comfortable, convenient, yummy, success. We ate six meals on site, plus yummy snacks, and no one spent a huge amount of time in the kitchen. How? Planning! Let’s look at what we had and then discuss why we had it.

Friday lunch was chicken salad, cold cuts and cheese, homemade and store bought cookies, and plenty of drinks.

Friday dinner was a simple barbeque: burgers with all the fixings, an industrial sized container of purchased potato salad from a discount store and a big sheet cake (birthday) for one of our members. And of course lots of cookies and drinks.

Saturday Breakfast was pancakes, with syrup and butter, bacon, omelets, granola and yogurt, and of course birthday cake, and drinks.

Saturday lunch was more chicken salad, cookies, and drinks.

Saturday dinner was pulled pork BBQ in sauce, with rolls, cookies, and cake and drinks.

Sunday breakfast was pancakes, granola and yogurt, muffins, the last of the birthday cake, and drinks.

Now, I admit that I had absolutely nothing to do with the production of most this food. It was made by two other families, that volunteered to take care of me at the event so that I could do my job there. I supplemented what they provided with a few items of my own. But the techniques are ones that I use all the time when I am doing the cooking.

So, analyzing what we ate. The chicken salad was mine. I cooked the chicken, made the salad at home, boxed it up in waterproof containers and tossed it in the cooler with lots of ice. The salad is made with diced apples, walnuts, chopped Craisins, mayonnaise, sour cream, and chopped chicken. I always make sure that the chicken is handled VERY carefully, cooked well, chilled immediately and only made into salad once it is cold. The cold boxes of chicken salad go in a pile of ice. The waterproof containers ensure that it will be salad and not “soup”. Ice from a cooler is often NOT clean so it is very important to keep the melted ice water out of all food items. When you buy containers for use in your cooler make sure that they say “waterproof”. Most normal containers will leak. Sterilite makes a set of containers with snap top lids that ARE waterproof and come in a large number of sizes. Always be sure that your boxes are properly maintained – no cracks, damaged seals, etc.

Snap Top

Let’s talk about drinks for a minute. You will see me mention that over and over. I live in Arizona. Drinking lots of fluid is an important part of staying healthy. My most important drink is water. I will also carry lemonade, iced tea, V-8, fruit juice, and occasionally a soda. Yes, I carry alcoholic beverages, but I don’t even count them as part of my regular intake because some of them can actually help you become dehydrated. I almost never go any distance from camp without a bottle of water, and yes I do the same thing in Pennsylvania or Mississippi, too. Camping is thirsty work.

Next time: Why the BBQ on Friday Night?