Gourmet Camp Cooking
We’ve covered the fun that can be had with camp cooking and using your Dutch oven along with some other camp cooking essentials. We’ve outlined the memories that are created with camp cooking and the delicious meals that a good camp cook can deliver. But wait – there’s more! Camp cooking doesn’t have to be only about the Dutch oven or tin foil meals. In fact, camp cooking can be just as (if not more) luxurious than cooking on the grill at home! Many of us love the rustic approach to camp cooking and think of “gourmet camp cooking” as an oxymoron much like “affordable housing” and “bland spice”. There are some, though, that simply want as many creature comforts as possible even when camp cooking. This article is for both sides of the discussion. Those that like gourmet camp cooking will read about some great ways to establish a gourmet camp kitchen and partake in gourmet camp cooking. Those that don’t much care for gourmet camp cooking may just get a laugh, or, they may want to start thinking about their next opportunity to become a gourmet camp cook!
A gourmet camp cook has to have a gourmet camp kitchen. As with all of our outdoor cooking, it all starts with the equipment. The perfect way to set up your gourmet camp kitchen is to first obtain a stainless steel gourmet kitchen! This single piece of equipment is the quintessential piece needed to allow yourself to even start thinking about being called a gourmet camp cook. This has a full food prep area, cutting boards, sinks, and storage racks. You can start outfitting your gourmet camp kitchen with one of these for around $200.00.
After setting up your gourmet camp kitchen, you’ll need some gourmet cookware, eating utensils and cooking tools. The cookware set should ideally be stainless steel and should have at least three pieces. You’re utensils and tools should include at least a five piece matching tool set, a full set of stainless steel eating utensils (service for a minimum of six including forks, spoons and knives) and an eight piece knife set. Looking at the costs for these items, you should plan to invest about $50.00 for the cookware (keep in mind, this is still camp cookware), $200.00 for the eating utensils and $150.00 for the knife set. If you really want to impress, plan on packing and bringing out a fancy cheese tray prior to eating!
This is gourmet camp cooking so we need to look at the finer details. This includes dinnerware and gadgets. Dinnerware is pretty self-explanatory but keep in mind that gourmet camp dinnerware does not mean that food is served on Styrofoam instead of paper plates! Plan on a full set of dinnerware/stoneware that includes a mug, soup bowl, salad plate and dinner plate for each person which will cost around $200.00. The attention to gadgets shouldn’t be overlooked. Along with the food, this is what leaves impressions! You’ll want to look into portable coffee makers, multipurpose stoves (which includes energy producing stoves and “wrap stoves”), rotisseries and other things that are normally not seen at a camp site. Although some of these may seem excessive, they do invoke a certain “What would I do without this!?!?” after being used!
Last, but not least, is the food! We have our gourmet camp kitchen set up with all of our gourmet accessories and tools but now we need to serve gourmet camp food! As mentioned before, keep in mind that this is still camping so plan appropriately. With that said, you don’t necessarily need to figure out the best way to serve gourmet marshmallows at every meal! Think about what is gourmet for you and what your family and friends may think of when they hear gourmet. Very good cuts of meat, homemade smoked salmon, artisanal cheeses, any type of food cooked with black truffles and some very fresh and very rich desserts all would deliver a gourmet camp meal. You could also add a little caviar to a meal which in itself turns anything into “gourmet”!
Although you may have read this scratching your head thinking why would anyone want to focus on gourmet camp cooking, I truly believe that it is an example of “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. I think we have all said to ourselves “I wish I had a fully operational sink” when camp cooking – well, the fact of the matter is that the gourmet camp cook has one and uses it regularly! What would you add to this list to create your perfect gourmet camp kitchen?
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