Campfire Cooking

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Halfmoon Creek, Colorado

Halfmoon Creek, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A chilly morning, a warm campfire, and a cup of percolated coffee … these are a few of my favorite things. If they are yours, as well, the upcoming holiday weekend is the ideal time to get out and enjoy a camping adventure!

In addition to the hiking, the boating, the wildlife viewing, and the picture taking, the food plays a key role in any good camping trip. Food tastes better when it is prepared outdoors over an open fire, so use that advantage and take some chances with your menu.

What you cook depends a lot on what type of camping you’ll be doing. If, for example, you’ve decided to head into the spectacular Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota for a canoeing adventure, you’ll want quick, easy foods that are easy to prepare over an open fire. If you plan on camping on a lake and doing a lot of fishing, many of your recipes will (hopefully!) be fish-based.

Perhaps you are headed into the mountains for some backpacking. (If I lived in Seattle or Portland, I might attempt a backpacking trip through Mt. Rainier National Park … it is such a stunning location.) Cooking out while backpacking requires using ingredients that have been dried or dehydrated – it also means not being able to carry a lot of cooking gear. This is minimalistic cooking, but you can still enjoy some great recipes. After a day of hiking, you’ll probably be tired, so make sure your menu items are simple and fast.

Then there’s my style of camping: a large camper with all the amenities, in a state park that offers water and electrical hookups so I can use my stove and microwave … while browsing the Internet on my laptop … while listening to my kids playing video games in their bunk beds. Here, you can get creative. Even if you decide to try tent camping at a state park, driving in means you can load up everything you need and have it easily accessible. So go ahead – make that fire-roasted pizza on the grill.

If you prefer to camp out in your apartment this weekend, you can still make the campfire staple s’mores! Just top graham crackers with mini marshmallows and put them in the toaster oven under the broiler. Let them get golden and bubbly, and then take them out and top the marshmallows with a piece of a chocolate bar. Place another graham cracker on top. The heat from the marshmallows will melt the chocolate, and you’ll have a gooey treat to enjoy while watching the National Geographic Channel.