It’s summer in Michigan, and you’re going camping. You’ve packed the tent, sleeping bags, and bug spray. Now comes the fun part. Planning what you're going to eat. Bon Appétit’s current issue has some tips, gear and recipe ideas for cooking while camping so you can sit back around the campfire and enjoy the outdoors.
For starters, don’t bring food that you wouldn't normally eat, said Alex Beggs, senior staff writer for Bon Appétit.
“I think bringing too much food is a good thing, of my many mistakes I’ve made, like forgetting to bring trash bags. I think a big one is if you walk into REI and you see an array of dehydrated mush foods and stuff that’s for serious backpackers and people who are going out of space, don’t get that, that is depressing, flavorless boring food,” she said.
After all you’re on vacation, so stock up on fancy cheese, bring trail mix (with M & Ms – don’t go for the healthy stuff), or try Bon Appétit’s trail mix cookie recipe packed with fruit, nuts, and yes, chocolate chips. You can eat well while camping and enjoy cooking over the fire, the key is to plan ahead, Beggs said.
“I get really excited about camping. And several days before I would be planning all the things I want to eat and kind of mapping out what I can do ahead. So even if you're just doing hot dogs while you're camping, I make sure to just chop up a ton of white onion the day before and have that ready to go. We have a recipe for green goddess tuna salad because you're like, what are you going to do for lunch?”
Foil packs are another way campers can enjoy a delicious meal on the fire. Plus, you minimize dishes.
“First, you must have heavy duty foil so your food will not tear open. So in the spring, because I work at Bon Appétit when I went camping, we did ramps on the bottom and then a piece of salmon on top and then butter that I had doctored up with other stuff. I think I put anchovies and herbs and red chili flakes in the butter. I made this ahead of time and then plop that on top of the salmon, wrap it all up. I sort of wrap it like a napkin swan and drop that on the side of the fire,” Beggs said.
It doesn’t need to be fancy. Go for sausage, peppers and onions, for example. Whatever combination you choose make sure the items inside will cook at the same time. And remember, you’re in Michigan so you can pick up fresh produce on the way to your location.
“On your drive to the campsite you're probably going to run into a farm stand where you can get corn on the cob and other good veggies. All of that stuff will get stuck on a skewer that you're going to have marshmallows on later, and grilled, and bring a sauce that can go with anything, that can kind of change it up from meal to meal,” Beggs said.
Campers, listen up, don’t stress the experience. Left over pizza or fried chicken are totally acceptable meals to take on your camping trip.
“It doesn't have to be this cooking event if you don't want it to be, or if you want to give yourself a break. That's an option. Don't forget it,” Beggs said.