[Sca-cooks] Food for camping

Volker Bach carlton_bach at yahoo.de
Fri Jul 31 13:23:45 PDT 2009

--- brooke white <traumspindel at googlemail.com> schrieb am Fr, 31.7.2009:

> Von: brooke white <traumspindel at googlemail.com>
> Betreff: [Sca-cooks] Food for camping
> An: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
> Datum: Freitag, 31. Juli 2009, 21:15
> I am so glad that this list didn't
> freeze up wioth everybody being off to
> pennsic. I was wondering If you could help me out with some
> suggestions for
> (acceptable) food for camping. We have only very limited
> cooling space, so I
> tend to bring fruit which doesn't perish too quickly, some
> nuts and salami,
> but this year we will be at an event for almost a week,
> probably sunny
> weather and our own tent. Lunch and Breakfast is provided,
> so what shhoudl I
> plan for the evenings without feast... I just wonder, if
> anybody has any
> suggestions. We don't own a (non electric) grill as such,
> but  we will have
> access to a tripods and a big pot, or even a charcoal fired
> grill. Or I
> oculd simply to bread and butter (the butter being the
> problem as I am not
> certain I can keep it cool enough long enough.Thanx for any
> help

I have never camped 'period' for that long, butI've had to deal with similar problems over long weekends, and there are at least peri-oid solutions. 

First off, you can do without fresh meat (if you can't shop onsite or nearby - buying fresh meat is period).  It's not even a terribly great sacrifice. 

Secondly, what do your diners expect? With a pot and a grill (and a pan, ideally) cou can give them excellent fare already. But if they are accustomed to the BBQ that frequently passes for period camp cookery, they are unlikely to be happy no matter what efforts you make. So check about that in advance.

Now, for some ideas:

- bring fresh meat on the first day and cook a surfeit, BBQ style or in a Dutch oven. Use leftover cooked meat on the second and third for soups, stews, cold cuts or fingerfood. Cooked meat keeps a few days at reasonable temperatures (if you don't have coolerspace, keep the bowl covered with a moistened towel if it gets hot. If it gets hot and humid, well, pray and taste with care, i guess.) 

- smoked sausage, smoked ham, bacon, air-dried meat of sausages (salami-style), eggs and dry cheeses are your friends for providing animal protein. If you can make your own, wet-salted meat also works nicely (keep it in a well-sealed container in iots brine and it should last safely for a week (theoretiocally for years, but 14 days is the most I ever pushed it and that was refrigerated). I don't think anyone sells salt meat in brine, though.

If your people will go along with it, get some stockfish (bacalao) or other dry-salted or pickled fish (NW Europe does a lovely, if post-period, line in vinegar-pickled herring). 

- Pasta, rice, flour, grains, dried fruit and vegetables don't mind being unrefrigerated. Base your meals on them. 

- Fresh eggs keep unrefrigerated for a week or more (much more). Get them close to the start of the event and keep them in the shade. 

- Milk power is cheating, but it works. 

- whole cabbages, root vegetables, apples, pears, quinces, onions, squashes but also - with some attention and a bit of water - cucumbers, zucchini, button mushrooms, leeks, spring onions, chives, and if you must (shudder) tomatoes will keep unrefrigerated. Forgo (or use dried)= any easily damaged fruit and veg. 

- get real bread loaves. They keep better than sliced and packaged and taste better to boot. If you can (I keep failing at it), bake your own in camp. The equipment needed is trivial (an upended bowl), but the skill is distinctly nontrivial. Or maybe I'm just bad at it. 

- salt your butter. Spice it, too, if you want. Better yet, be prepared to substitute olive oil. Dipping crust bread into spicy olive oil is a lovely snack. Oh, and pickled olives.

- get your eaters away from the meat-and-three-veg paradigm. Make them happy to eat what there is.  

Some recipe ideas I have been successful with in campfire cooking:

- onion soup with bacon and bread sops. Seriously, seriously good. Thicken with breadcrumbs or cracked wheat in chillier temperatures. A bit of saffron, a dash of white wine vinegar and you can turn it into a culinary event. 

- slow-cooked smoked ham cubes with dried apricots and dill. Thicken with breadcrumbs, rice or wheat. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. 

- Pre-prepare some milli fanti - fine breadcrumbs, flour and egg worked into tiny granules and dried. Throw into boiling broth to make a hearty instant porridge. 

- Scramble eggs with thin-sliced onion and fry. 

- Lentils cooked with a bit of meat (or sausage) until they are soft, noodles thrown into the pot to take up the remaining water.

- Onions and salami slices fried together with mushrooms, then bound with egg and served with bread.

- Pears and onions slow-cooked together with a touch of salt and pepper. I am serious. 

- Cucumber sliced with vinegar and oil (or a touch of garum if you want)

- Fritters. They are fairly easy to prepare - eggs and flour keep, and you don't need milk if you don't have any. And they are hot, rich and can vary the flavour. Add diced bacon or sausage, shredded jerky, onions, herbs or cheese for savoury, sliced apples, pears, raisins, nuts, almonds, dried fruit or just sugar for sweet. PLain egg-and-flour fritters drizzled with honey or sprinkled with salt make a very satisfying side dish or dessert. Eggs, flour and parmesan cheese are delightful. Take care you pan doesn't catch fire, though. 

- Sauerkraut or cabbage with bacon and/or polony sausage, served with bread or fritters

- Dried meat soaked in water and cooked in apple juice. Yeah, it sounds crazy. Try it. 

- Onions fried in plenty of hiot fat and cooked with honey. 

- onion-bacon-mushroom shishkebab

- breadcrumb pancake. Make a doungh with eggs, breadcrumbs, milk if you have it (wine or juice is better for thinnning than water if you don't) and rasisins, fried in the pan and served sugared.

- soured curds or quark keep for a few days and make a great base for fritter dough, soup, and dumplings (grated cheese, curds and flour - they're done when they float to the surface). You can alsy dry curds and reconstitiute them by boiling them with leeks and various other ingredients into a tasty soup, but it looks kinda icky IMO. 

- Make some olive relish or epityrum. I am still trying to track down the throwaway reference to 'olives chopped with garlic' in one of the tacuina because that's good. Add a dash of good vinegar and oil.

- If you can't or don't want to do bread, serve dumplings (yeast dough boiled, maybe in a puddingcloth. Delicious when fresh. You can put prunes or dried apricots in the middle or add onions, bacon and cheese for savoury versions. Those are good with vegetable soups as a filler.

- Another baking avoidance behaviour is flatbread baked in a pan. If it comes out right, it's crispy and good with thick soups and dips. 

- Fresh pasta with grated cheese (plenty of) and a vegetable relish. You can't go much wrong here. It's a lot of work, though.

Generally, if you cook dried, salted or smoked mweat you should plan on cooking it for a very long time. It can develop surprisingly mellow and round character if it is slowly stewed to softness. 

Anyways, that's a few ideas. NBot all of them are documented, but they all work and the undocumented ones aren't inherently implausible IMO. 



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