There was a time, about a year ago, that I vowed we would eat well on our next family camping trip. My husband whispered in my ear of all the merits of camping foods from our youth...Kraft Dinner, Pro Stars or Alphabits cereal, and lunch meat. He talked of how convenient and easy the meals are to make (just add water!), and how it lessens the number of coolers we need to shuffle around and fill with ice every so often. Oh, and the kids would be happy with a treat for a change.
Despite his best efforts, I just can't bring myself to buying it, let alone making a meal with it. My rebuttals to he arguments went along the lines of, "Where are the vegetables? Do you know what is actually in that stuff? Isn't camping a treat in itself?"
But he does have a point. I would rather play at the beach or sit around the fire than cooking a gourmet meal over a Coleman stove. I would rather spend less time searching through the several coolers that travel with us trying to find what I'm looking for. I would rather go on a nature hike than stop at the camp store for more ice.
So out came The Complete Trail Food Cookbook. Yes, the promise of "just add water" appeals to me. As I flipped through the pages, it dawned on me that I in fact needed to have dehydrated many of the ingredients before assembling them together. Which would have made sense to do as we were harvesting last year. Which I now remember us vowing to do last year. And I find myself making the same vow now. No, I will not get tired of putting up food and will do just a wee bit more to have a fully stocked pantry of dehydrated fruits and veggies. Next year's camping will be awesome.
And as for this year? I just shrugged my shoulders and found a couple of things that we could make at home instead of buying from the store. Like syrup for making our own soda. And marshmallows. (Recipes from Alana Chernila's Homemade Pantry). Totally not that far off of Kraft Dinner or Prostars or Alphabits or lunch meat in terms of nutritional value. But I think we score stars for sharing a treat with the kids for a change.
Rhubarb ginger syrup - just add club soda...
The process of turning water, gelatin, and sugar into marshmallows...
Future happy camper!