Food Friday: Stoves!

Pasta Stuff by Wendell Capili

Camping Stoves, part 1

When you go camping do you grill? Do you cook over a fire? Do you not cook at all? Or do you use a camp stove?

All of these options are great. Having a small stove with you, however, allows you to be more versatile in unexpected circumstances.


Why a Camp Stove?

Frankly, because they’re smaller than a lot of other options, and you can choose the type to go with the kind if fuel you want to carry.

A grill, of course, is usually large.

Having a fire for every meal can get annoying. Unless you have someone who prefers to stay at the site to monitor it, starting and dosing fires every day gets repetitive, and no one should get into a habit of always having one that they leave unattended.

Never cooking at all while you’re out in nature sounds good, but becomes a nightmare once you start staying out longer. Keeping that many supplies, or paying for that much preservative-laden premade stuff, is expensive and takes up space.


What Foods?

A box of orzo (or couscous or pasta bits) and a pouch of spices, however, can fit in any fanny pack. And they all expand to feed a lot more people than their size initially shows.

Need a protein? Throw in beans. Or cheese sticks (you can’t even imagine how long those individually wrapped cheese sticks last – even in the full sun of Arizona in August), which also melt fairly well. Bring some peanut butter crackers if you want to keep your protein separate.

Or, quite plainly: bring whatever you want. Keep it in sealed containers, avoid foods that need refrigeration, and you can make anything on a camp stove (yes, including pancakes and pizza).

Hate cooking? Bring cheese and bread. You can make sandwiches, or use the stove to make grilled cheese.

Really hate cooking? Bring soup pouches. Or those pasta pouches. Remember, anything that says it needs butter actually doesn’t. Use a little bit more water or a drop of vegetable or olive oil. If you’re worried something will taste bland, bring a small container or garlic powder or cumin, or whatever you fancy.

I purposely didn’t list corn oil. We already get too much of the stuff in everything we eat. I try not to add it to any of my foods. (Okay, and my sister just finished watching Season 7 of Supernatural – I had actually forgotten about the huge spoiler at the end of the sandwich episode).

Don’t forget your citrus. (Nothing spells scurvy like a broken bone and discolored eyes – and this is one thing I don’t have experience with. Yes!) While you need to have not had any citric acid for months for those to kick in, if you’re looking at living in a tent or long term camping, these are real concerns. Dehydrated fruits are nice for this, but you need to drink at least 6x more water than you’re used to in order to avoid gastrointestinal issues. Just bringing a bag of fruit, and buying another every time you’re back in civilization can be a good start.

And, hey, you’ve got a stove to cook them on! You can even add them to those pancakes I mentioned. I personally dislike cooked fruit; but I know I’m in the minority here – and I still like pies, go figure.


Still Worried?

Carry a multivitamin with you. I actually prefer those meant for older individuals since they have higher concentrations of things I don’t tend to eat (as I’ve mentioned, I’m basically a vegetarian whenever I’m out in the woods – it’s just easier, and half my family is anyway due to allergies).

 There are 8 vitamins and minerals all life on Earth regularly needs in order to survive. We tend to eat foods that have these, especially when we eat healthy. Those we miss tend to come in pill form.


My Personal Haul

When I camp, some of what I make sure to either eat right before I go or take with me are:

  • yogurt (only before)
  • pineapple
  • olives
  • cheesecake (long story, only before)
  • turkey or chicken (only before)
  • tuna (only before, plus 1 emergency packet)
  • pasta
  • cheese sticks
  • garlic salt
  • spaghetti sauce (great for pasta, potatoes, and pizza!)


And that’s just for a trip of at least 5 weeks. If I know I’m going to be out longer, I bring 2 packets of tuna and an extra container of olives, and force myself to eat them about halfway through the trip.

However, I’ve also been doing this my entire life, so I know what foods and vitamins I fall short on (I’m iodide deficient, so I grew up sucking on the metal buttons of my coats until we figured it out – some kids swipe sugar packets, I took the salt).

It can take time, and some trial and error, before you figure out what you need to bring with you versus what you normally like to eat.

For some people, it’s actually an easy way of forcing themselves away from sugar or caffeine, or other addictive foods. They keep themselves busy and don’t have access to it, so after 3 weeks it just goes away. As long as they ignore those first few urges back in civilization they can generally (not always) keep the desire down.


A warning if you are diabetic:

Follow your doctor and your family history. I cannot morally, ethically, or legally tell you to do anything besides what they tell you. I’m not going to be the cause of any hospital visits, or worse.

I just won’t.


So, this was going to be about camp stoves, right? Well, I guess it became Part 1!

What do you think the 8 things are for all life on Earth? Leave your ideas in the comments 🙂

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I'm (now) an Affiliate, who blogs about the materials, gear and supplies needed for living in a tent and long term camping: http://longtermcamping.siterubix.com I also enjoy reading and sci-fi in all its many forms.

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