Nutritious Camp-Out Food
April 24, 2007 11:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me prepare a nutritious menu plan for someone who's going to a 5-day Burning Man type campout.

My boyfriend will be undergoing a gruelling test to earn his black belt in Kung Fu a few days after Flipside, Austin, TX's satellite burn. Any food we bring with us will need to withstand five days in the hot, hot, Texas sun.

If you were an elite-level athlete with nothing but a grill, a cooler (ice replenished daily) and a Coleman stove at your disposal, what would you eat ?
posted by freshwater_pr0n to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Tinned Meats (Premade Tuna Salad, Sardines in Mustard, Smoked Oysters, Chicken? I dunno, I don't eat chicken.)
Whole Wheat bread or crackers for meat accompaniment
Lotsa Cheese
Fajita or stir-fry veggies
Frozen shrimp or chicken for cooking in fajita/stir fry on day 1 or 2
Tortillas for quesadillas or fajitas
Canned black beans
Veggies for salads

...with new ice every day, you can really have just about anything, like milk or yogurt. Just remember that anything that can get soggy will get soggy, and ziploc with abandon. Frozen desserts that you just thaw to eat are a nce camping treat.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:03 AM on April 25, 2007

Response by poster: I should have mentioned that 1we'll be dealing with 100+ temperatures every day!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 12:20 AM on April 25, 2007

I don't have a lot of experience for this specific type of event, but I think getting sufficient calories to maintain his activity level will be important. Gruelling Kung-Fu test makes me think 3000 calorie days, give or take. In addition to AV's great suggestions, you might want to pack energy bars or something that's basically pure carbohydrates (cereals, pasta, etc.) for fuel.
posted by knave at 4:14 AM on April 25, 2007

To some extent, the right answer here depends on what his current diet is. Presumably he has his everyday diet tweaked to suit him, so you'd want to replicate that to the extent possible.

Just about the only thing you can't do on a campout is bake (and even then, I've seen camp-stove ovens...). So you've got a fair amount of flexibility. If you're contemplating dishes where you'd need 2 burners, you might invest in one of those two-burner camp stoves—they're not too expensive and very convenient.

Two of my favorite campout foods are pasta salad and falafel because you make them up in advance—the falafel should be kept cool, but doesn't even need a lot in the way of refrigeration. I've got a few kinds of pasta salad in my repertoire, one with canned tuna for protein. Oranges are good burner-fruit because they keep well and the rinds are innocuous. I also pack celery sticks, carrot sticks, and the like. Yogurt and cereal keep well. Couscous is a no-brainer carb when camping because it cooks very quickly, and is fairly versatile. (I know, I'm the most virtuous diner at a burn, right?)

If you're going to bring uncooked meat, freeze it in advance and pack it at the bottom of your cooler.

I have no idea what your boyfriend's eating habits are like, but I'd taper off on the red meat, very rich foods (in case there's a camp serving Eggs Benedict), or anything deep-fried a couple days before the black-belt test just to have the old system of tubes cleared out.

To keep your cooler, well, cooler, make sure it stays in the shade as much as possible. I'm planning on getting a small, cheap tent just to stow my stuff for Flipside. They do make these "five day" coolers—I don't believe they can make it five days without adding ice, but presumably they do have better insulation. Even with a regular cooler, you shouldn't have any food-safety problems if you re-stock with ice every day.

BTW: I'll be camped at Circle of Fire. Stop by and say Hi.
posted by adamrice at 7:07 AM on April 25, 2007

Flavored instant oatmeal is a great meal to have on hand for snacking on really hot camping adventures. Just add water, stir, and you don't have to cook. You won't want to cook in that weather. Quinoa is also good because hot water and time will do the trick. There are also these "just heat and eat" boxed Indian foods that are pretty good.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:12 AM on April 25, 2007

Since BF will be fairly active at one of these Burning Man things won't care about fine dining, I suggest MREs. They're fairly high-calorie, but your friend might want to think about a case of surplus MREs. (That's the first link I found when I googled "surplus mres" btw.)

Make sure to take along extra Tabasco sauce.
posted by pax digita at 7:38 AM on April 25, 2007

(The "just heat and eat" boxed Indian foods are the Tasty Bite brand ... I've had them at Burning Man and they're pretty decent.)
posted by lisa g at 8:19 AM on April 25, 2007

I'd check out what people have done at Burning Man
here and here
or check out the ePlaya bulletin boards. There's tons of discussion about recipes and meal planning there.

I always want salty snacks in the desert. With a cooler and a grill and a stove, you've got everything you need to make some great meals. No need to subsist on MREs. Make ahead and freeze some high protein chili or anything else!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:22 AM on April 25, 2007

Congratulations and best of luck to your boyfriend on his martial arts endeavors.

This is what my fiancee and I did for a long camping trip under similar conditions:

Make everything ahead of time, and freeze it in large tupperware containers. We made big batches of tortilla soup, mushroom chicken, red spicy veggie chili (I strongly recommend 'Yves Veggie Ground Round), white chili, and chick pea salad (write back if you want the recipe).

Make sure it's all good and frozen. Then throw it in the cooler. If you can, pick up some dry ice for the initial packing. It will last much longer, and won't flood the cooler. Don't keep your cooler in your car. Cover it in thick blankets or one of those reflective space blankets (shiny side OUT).

With some good flatbread crackers (I'm patial to Kavli), you've got yourself a pretty hearty meal.

Bring a few cans of pineapple and mandarin oranges. If you can get some fresh fruit and veggies on the trip there, so much the better. Plan on eating them early on.
posted by doctorcurly at 11:42 AM on April 25, 2007

Get a good cooler and keep it taped shut between meals. Store it in the shade covered with as many blankets as possible (you'll probably be bringing insulated sleeping bags, right?) With daily ice replenishment you can bring pretty much whatever you want.
posted by contraption at 11:56 AM on April 25, 2007

Instead of ice, freeze plastic bottles full of liquid (water, juice, etc). When they melt, you don't have a soggy mess and might even have a chilled beverage.

Electrolytes are going to be very important too....emergenC packets, and plenty of salt...really...lots of salt.
posted by hazel at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2007

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