The type of food cooked in the outdoors depends significantly on the purpose of the pursuit and the location of the outdoor cooking site. While someone at a public campground may be able to access a grocery store easily and be able to prepare a great many varied dishes, someone else on an extended trip deep in the backcountry may need to improvise a little more to cook up a meal or depend upon dried meats, vegetables, and starches such as ramen, polenta, and dried potato flakes. Those who savor the whole outdoor adventure would also look forward to making use of wild vegetables and fruits, not to mention fish and game.
Camping food needs to be very high in fat and carbohydrates to provide energy for the camping activities. Hikers very often carry bars of chocolate, energy bars, and even sports drinks. Another necessary part of every hiker’s or camper’s equipment is water purification chemicals.
The most traditional method of cooking at the campsite is by the campfire. Food can be roasted (who among us has not enjoyed the hot dogs and smores roasted on the campfire), baking, grilling (also an extremely popular technique at the campsite), frying, boiling, and steaming.
Another commonly used technique is the baking of food in envelopes of aluminum foil. Entire meals can be cooked in this manner by placing the foil packets on or under the hot coals. Tree leaves such as the banana can also be used. These are environmentally friendly and do not ignite as they contain enough oil to resist the heat from the flames. In addition, they can add a special flavor to the food which the foil cannot.
Long distance truckers, automotive trailers, and rally drivers have been known to have cooked on accessible sections of the vehicle engine. Another novel way of cooking is using volcanic lava to cook food wrapped in foliage.
While outdoor cooking undoubtedly brings its share of excitement, it is important to follow some safety precautions so that the experience remains fun and does not become dangerous. Primarily, keep the cooking site away from the sleeping area. When camping in the wild, keep food away in places where the animals cannot get them.
Remember that the outdoors can be greatest adventure ever and some of the best memories of your life will probably be those related to the marvelous outdoor experience. So enjoy the bond with Nature, but give her the respect she deserves!