There is BBQ’ing on your back patio and then there is cooking outdoors…which, in my mind, usually involves being far removed from your kitchen and all the usual implements & appliances that we rely upon (ie. stoves, fridges, spice cupboards, every gadget that resides in that kitchen drawer…c’mon, you know which drawer I mean.)
Although I don’t want to do it everyday, I welcome the challenge of cooking al fresco. Whether camping or canoeing, one valuable tip I learned from a friend recently is to pack a medium sized tupperware container with all those small but necessary items: small squeeze bottles of olive oil & vinegar, salt & pepper, spices (one of those 7-day vitamin sorters is a great way to store your spices), 5 or 6 big pieces of aluminum foil folded up, tubes of tomato & pesto sauce, a few small ziploc bags, etc.
About 20 years ago, I spent six months travelling overland across Africa with twenty other adventurous souls. Teams of two were responsible for preparing dinner, breakfast and lunch for everyone else every ten days. Keep in mind that the expectation was a three course dinner (starter, main and pudding), almost all of the cooking was done over a wood fire and unless you wanted to rely on the awful dehydrated food in the “pantry”, your ingredients were limited to what was available in the local market that day. It was an amazing lesson in how to be creative and adaptable in an outdoor “kitchen” – even if it was in the middle of the jungle, the Sahara or the Serengeti 🙂
And I continue to refine my approach with every outdoor cooking experience. What I learned on the canoeing trip last weekend: the folded down top of the camping stove makes a great counter to work on (see this post’s picture); plastic camping wine glasses (with screw-on stems) are essential; you can never have enough ziploc bags (bring small, medium and large sizes); and camping soap works wonders for both your body & your dishes. Also, don’t forget paper towels!
Is there anything I have missed?