Outdoor Cooking

One thing that I find very interesting about camping is cooking. When I was younger, I went to Girl Scout day camp, and there was also one overnight event. For that evening, and sometimes for lunches, we would prepare our meals using a campfire, or some sort of contraption that we would build. One thing I remember making was an “outdoor stove”, using a coffee can and a tuna can. We would take the clean, empty tuna can and some cardboard. We would cut the cardboard into a long strip, and roll it kind of like a cinnamon roll, then put it in the tuna can. We’d take some melted wax and pour it over the cardboard. That was our fuel. We’d punch some holes and cut a square out of the top edge sides of the clean, empty coffee can, turn it upside down over the lit tuna can, and cook on the flat surface.

Of course, most of the time we’d use the campfire directly. I’ve whittled the end of sticks to hold food directly over the fire – and not just marshmallows. I remember once making bacon and eggs in a brown paper bag, which doesn’t always work very well, and I don’t recommend it. We lined the bottom of the bag with the bacon, and then broke the eggs onto the bacon. After rolling the top down, we put a hole through the bag under the rolled part for a stick to hold it. The trick is to get the bacon and eggs to cook without catching the bag on fire!

After the flames die down, the glowing embers can be used for a variety of foods. We’ve made foil packets, which are very convenient. Some of my favorite things to put in foil packets are sliced potatoes and onions. I also remember cutting oranges in half and hollowing the halves out, and using the hollowed peels to cook cupcakes. Most people have tried s’mores, but have you ever tried banana boats? Take a ripe banana, and peel back one section of the peel. Cut half way through the banana lengthwise, and stuff chocolate chips and mini marshmallows into the middle of the banana. Replace the section of peel, and wrap the entire thing in foil. Heat in campfire coals until the marshmallows and chocolate chips melt. Delicious!

I’m sure there are ways to cook these things in our homes, but there’s something special about cooking outside. It’s challenging, rustic, and can even be romantic!