Camp Cooking Lesson 1

Topic Progress:


Good eating is an important part of each day. That doesn’t mean just eat- ing a lot, or eating constantly by snacking. It means eating well- balanced meals, which give you the energy, and vitality to really enjoy be- ing in the outdoors. God has given us many foods to enjoy. But not all foods are equally good for us.

When planning daily menus for camp, or anytime, you should pick your foods from the “Food Guide Pyramid”. The Pyramid is based on the USDA’s

research of the foods we eat, what nutrients are in these foods, and how to make the best choices for you. Figure 1 shows the pieces of the pyramid.

The base of the Pyramid is food from grains like, breads, cereals, rice, and pasta. You need the most servings of these foods each day, 6 – 11 servings.

The second level of the Pyramid includes foods that come from plants, like vegetables and fruits. They supply vitamins, minerals, and important fiber. You should eat 3 – 5 servings of vegetables, and 2 – 4 servings of fruits per day.

The third level of the “Food Guide Pyramid” is two groups of foods that come mostly from ani- mals. These include; milk, yogurt, and cheese, in one group. And meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts, in the other group. These foods provide important proteins, calcium, iron, and zinc.

You should eat 2 – 3 servings of the dairy group, and 2 – 3 servings of the meat group, each day.

The small tip of the Pyramid represents foods most people should use sparingly, like fats, oils, and sweets. These foods provide your body with calories, but very little nutritionally. Foods in- cluded in this group are; salad dressings and oils, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft drinks, candies, and sweet desserts.


Most recipes use standard words or terms to describe different cooking methods. You should learn these terms, so you understand what is expected while following a recipe. For instance, you would not want to stew eggs for breakfast, or poach pancakes! There are many different ways to prepare your meals while camping or hiking. The method you use will depend upon your menu, equipment, and your taste! The following are some cooking terms;

BAKE:            To cook with dry and even heat.

BASTE:   To moisten the food while cooking.

BOIL:             To cook in water or other liquid, hot enough for bubbles to raise and break on the surface.

BRAISE:        To cook meat tender by browning in hot fat or grease, then cooking in a covered pan with added liquid.

BROIL:           To cook meat directly over an open fire. Also called grilling. DEEP FRY:               To cook by immersing in boiling or very hot oil or fat.

FRY:               To cook in a pan using a small amount of oil or fat.

MARINATE: To flavor and tenderize meat by covering with spices, vinegar, wine, oil, salad dressing, etc.

PAN-BROIL: To cook in a very hot pan, with little or no fat and oil, so food does not fry.

PAR-BOIL:             To boil until food is partly cooked.

POACH:         To cook in liquid, just below the boiling point.

ROAST:          To cook in hot air. An uncovered pan in an oven, or over hot coals

SCALD:                        To heat to just below the boiling point, then remove from heat.

SEAR:              To seal the surface of meat by cooking with intense heat.

SIMMER:       To cook in liquids, at a temp. just below the boiling point, for some time. SKEWER:      To pierce and place on a pointed stick.

STEAM:          Cook over boiling water in steam.

STEEP:           To extract a taste or value by soaking a plant or food in hot but not boiling water.

STEW:           To cook by searing, then simmering until tender.

TENDERIZE: To make meat easier to cook and/or chew, by pounding, or marinating until the tissues are softened.


But what do you do if you forget some of the cooking utensils. Your still hungry, and you still need to cook that meal! Well that’s when you look to some of the things God has provided for

us in nature, or use other materials you may have brought with you.

Green sticks, with the bark peeled off, can be used for a number of homemade cooking utensils.

A good example is tongs. To make tongs, cut a straight, finger sized green branch, and peel its bark. Bend the branch in the middle to form a “V”. Most green hardwoods will not break apart. These tongs should be strong enough to use for food, or for arranging wood or coals. Utensil’s can also be made from wire coat hangers. You can make tongs, long handled forks, pothooks, and pot supports.

The V-tool

What if you forgot the frying pan? If you have aluminum foil and some wire coat hangers, you can make a very useful frying pan. Just take a coat hanger, and pull it open, into a square. Wrap a double layer of foil around the wire square, bend the hook down for a handle, and you are all set to cook your meal. You can also make a fry pan with a green forked stick and aluminum foil!

A buddy burner, or tin can stove, can be very useful when the firewood is wet, or when you want a quick meal without having to start a fire. The buddy burner is easy to make and easy to carry! The stove part of the buddy burner is made of a juice size tin can. Use a can opener to remove the lid with the holes in it. Then use a triangle shaped can opener to cut several small vents in the side of the can, below the remaining lid. To make the burner part, of the buddy burner, use an empty tuna fish can. Cut strips of cardboard to fit into the tuna fish can, and just below the surface of the can. Now put a cardboard wick in the middle of the can, standing straight up. Pour melted wax into the tuna fish can, and over the cardboard. To use the buddy burner, light the burner part, and then put the stove part over the burner. You cook on the top lid of the stove can. This stove gets very hot, and you can easily burn yourself, and your food, so here are a few tips;

–Always use hot pads or gloves when handling the hot buddy burner!

–To regulate the heat better, cut a rectangle vent in the side of the can. If the stove gets too hot you can adjust the temperature by bending this vent up or down.

–Use aluminum foil on the top cooking surface, this keeps the surface clean and your food will not burn as easily.


Cooking with aluminum foil has several advantages, you can prepare your meals before you leave for your camp trip, and there is very little clean up. As we talked about earlier, you can make all kinds of utensils with aluminum foil. But you can also cook inside a folded up package of foil, which can be thrown right into hot coals, or placed on a fire grate. This hot dinner pack- age is a complete meal in a single serving size. Wrapped in a tightly sealed foil packet, the food is basted in a steam from it own juices. Since very little steam escapes from the foil packet, the food retains many essential vitamins and minerals. Aluminum foil is found in two types; all purpose, which requires a double thickness for cooking, and heavy duty, which can be used in a single thickness. When it’s mealtime, and the fire has burned down to coals, lay the foil package

on the coals. Then rake a few coals over the top of the package, or as the meal inside the pack- age cooks, flip the package over to make sure both sides are cooked thoroughly. In ten minutes or so, depending on the package size, the type of food inside the package, and the heat of the coals, your meal will be ready to eat.

Use a set of tongs to bring your foil packet out of the coals. Unwrap the package, and use the foil as a plate. Just think, no dishes or greasy pans to clean! Remember that aluminum foil does not burn, and must be disposed of with the tin cans and other un-burnable trash. Do not leave aluminum foil in your fire ring!

The following is an easy recipe for foil cooking. Give it a try!


Serves 1.

1 – hamburger patty

1 – small potato, sliced thin

1/4 cup – mixed vegetables

1 teaspoon – dry onion soup mix

1 teaspoon – butter or margarine 

2 – large squares of aluminum foil

Lay one square of foil on top of the other, and place both squares on a flat surface. Crumble the hamburger patty into small pieces, and place in the middle of the foil. Place the potatoes, and the vegetables on top of the ham-
burger. Sprinkle the onion soup mix over the food. Now mix all the materials, in the center of the foil, up. (This will help everything in the meal to cook evenly and thoroughly!) Place the teaspoon of butter in the middle of the mixture. (The butter or margarine is optional, but if used, the butter will help prevent your foil meal from burning.) Fold the package as shown in the pic- ture. Place the foil packet into the coals and cook for approximately 10 minutes.

Posted in .