There Are Some Food Experiences You Can Only Discover While Camping.
For many people, all you have to do to try something new is walk downtown and find a trendy restaurant. There are a lot of new cafes and bistros touting some kind of fusion or deconstruction of typical foods in the search for new experiences in eating. It’s all part of a noble pursuit to take mundane western culinary traditions and make them new and inspiring by creating new forms that are unnecessarily complicated and confusing to eat. But there are some food experiences you can’t find in the city. You have to go out into the wilderness where the marrow of life resides to find some of the most intriguing food experiences. Here are five easy recipes for you to follow when you’re roughing it in the great outdoors.
Trail Mix Cradled in Sweaty, Bruised Hands
A well composed mixture of nuts, fruits, and candies is always a good idea to take on hikes. It provides a great source of protein, sodium, and sugar for quick boosts of energy when you need it most. But the best way to eat trail mix can only be accomplished during the lost hike, the kind where you have literally lost yourself in the woods and scrambled up steep hills you don’t remember seeing on the map and pushed through miles of brush with more thorns than leaves. When you can feel the sweat finding every single cut you’ve accumulated over the last ten hours, every breath feels like a new misery, and you’re ready to collapse on the ground and let the wolves find your remains, that’s when it’s time to pull out the bag of trail mix you prepared the before the hike and really taste the hard, dry composition to its fullest.
Pairs well with: Crying.
Poison Oak Spice
It’s entirely possible this common leaf could add some interesting flavor to your day. Try putting a pot of water over the fire to boil then crumple some poison oak leaves into it to make “Spicy Oak” tea. This will have an aftertaste with a bit of a kick, but it could actually be something moderately close to pleasant once you get used to it. The subsequent itching inside your mouth and closing up of your throat are also part of the experience.
Pairs well with: Ibuprofen and a visit to the hospital.
There’s a little survival trick people sometimes use to stave off hunger and thirst. When they start feeling parched and are trying to ration their water they suck on rocks. This doesn’t really do anything for you physiologically except for maybe keep your mouth busy so you don’t think so much about how miserable your life is. What these keen survivalists don’t always tell you, though, is that rocks have a rich flavor pallet. In the early morning when you aren’t quite ready for a full morning meal, a few stones off the river shore can be a great pick-me-up for your tongue. There’s just something about a mouthful of rocks that gets your mind going.
Pairs well with: Dunking your head in the river and screaming.
It doesn’t get much more rustic or deconstructed than a plume of smoke in your face. Most campers try to avoid this misunderstood outdoor treat because of claims that smoke is carcinogenic, but with the right wood it can turn any bland fire-roasted meal into a lively, breathless activity. There are a lot of subtle differences among burning trees, and it can take some experimentation to find the kind that matches your pallet, but a good place to start is with a slow burning oak log, then work your way up to damp pine.
Pairs well with: A cigar, smoked ironically.
Acorns are technically a nut, so you should be able to do nut things with them, right? Scour the nearby area for fallen acorns until you have a handful then grind them up, preferably with the mossiest rock you can find. Once the acorns look like something a squirrel would vomit, put it in a mason jar and call it acorn butter, then slap it on a piece of bark and when you get back home you can tell everyone they have to try tree toast. You’re welcome.
Pairs well with: Coarse coffee grounds chewed raw.