Throw It In The Pot

Steven Robert Allen
2 min read
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I just stole a review copy of a book off our Food Editor’s desk. It’s called The Great American Camping Cookbook (Broadway Books, $17.95), and it’s hitting stands next week.

I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking in the wilderness over the years, and eaten a lot of meals mixed with campfire ash and mosquito carcasses. When I was a kid, and my mom cooked for us on our tiny one-burner pack stove, we ate fresh improvised meals often involving trout, rice and vegetables.

These days, though, I’ve given in to laziness. I typically buy those over-priced yuppie freeze-dried package meals they sell at REI and such places. They embarrass me, but they taste better than they used to, and they’re unbelievably convenient. Boil water. Pour water in bag. Stir. Eat. Couldn’t be simpler.

Paging through this book, I’m amazed at people’s ambition. It’s hard to imagine baking biscuits in the wild. It’s even harder to imagine making lentil soup with dumplings from scratch. And it’s certainly
impossible to imagine grinding whole coffee beans on a pack trip. (The authors actually suggest this!)

My mom used to do that kind of thing all the time, though. (Not the coffee grinding, of course. She’s not stupid.)

Maybe I’ll give a couple of these recipes a whirl this summer. I’m at least going to bring a box of Bisquick. Pancakes and battered fish sound good to me. And I might try my hand at baking some fresh corn pone. I’ll also take advantage of the book’s list of vegetables and other fresh foods that will keep up to a week without refrigeration. The authors’ advice on hard liquor is also worth following: Bring lots of it.

Can’t argue with that.
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