During the weekdays, I make my morning coffee in my travel mug so I can take it with me on my way to work. On the weekends, I have a favorite coffee mug that I use. You know the kind. It’s a little over-sized. The handle fits perfectly in my hand. It’s so comfortable. It has one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters on it. I always hand wash it, not because it needs to be, but so it’s ready for the next time I need it. It’s my go-to mug and everyone in the household knows that it’s Mommy’s mug.
Last Sunday, I was in the kitchen making my coffee and I went to the cupboard to get my mug and it wasn’t there, and, honest to God, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Snap! I can’t have coffee!”
And then it occurred to me to look in the dishwasher and, sure enough, it had been accidently loaded into the dishwasher. Coffee was saved. All was right in the world.
We are Such Creatures of Habit
When we’re planning our camp menus, how many times do we rule out certain dishes because we won’t have that go-to appliance in our camp kitchen?
Oh, I can’t make that, I won’t have an oven? I can’t make that, I won’t have a microwave? I can’t make that, I won’t have a food processor? And so on until, finally, all we’re left with is the same old, same old.
Where’s the fun in that?!
Kick those habits. Get outside your comfort zone. Think outside the box.
Don’t be limited by your home cooking habits! Just about anything you can make in your home kitchen, can be made in your camp kitchen. You might have to get a little creative. You might have to use a little elbow grease instead of using that food processor. You might have to use more traditional methods. But the finished dish will taste just as good, maybe even better.
Foods can be chopped by hand. I find there is something almost zen like when I’m cutting up vegetables, fruits or meats. Have a good board, a sharp knife, maybe some music, and get into a groove.
Butter can be cubed and then cut into flour using a pastry cutter or a fork or two knives. Recently, I started freezing my butter and then grating it. Wow! Wish I had learned that trick 30 years ago!
Instead of using a microwave, vegetables can be steamed or grilled or wrapped in foil and placed on coals or near the fire. Drizzle on a little olive oil and some seasonings and cook until tender.
Anything you would bake in your oven at home, you can bake in a Dutch oven or a box oven so don’t dismiss casseroles, muffins, biscuits, etc. And nothing beats a warm, fresh from the “oven” muffin.
Take Stock of Your Resources
What do you have in your camp kitchen? You probably have a propane stove with a couple of burners. Do you have a griddle/grill? Do you have any Dutch ovens? Just adding one Dutch oven will open a world of culinary possibilities. Can’t afford a Dutch oven right now? You could build a box oven for pennies.
For instructions on how to build a box oven, please see my blog post: “DIY: How to Build a Box Oven.”
You also can make foil wraps. You probably have more options than you realize.
So, when planning your camp menu, just think about what you want to eat and then figure out how you could make it in your camp kitchen. It’s easier than you think. And it will taste that much better!
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