Want to learn the essentials of family cooking on the campground? Today we are super excited to feature a guest blog post by Claire Gallant of The Bite Sized Kitchen here in Halifax. The mission of Bite Sized kitchen is to bring kids into the kitchen and help them learn all aspects of making food from scratch. Claire frequently blogs about cooking with children using whole ingredients, hands-on methods, and beautiful presentation. We are huge fans of Claire over here at Faire Child, and we hope you enjoy this blog post following them along on their trip to Kejimikujik!
Will you go camping this summer? Here in Nova Scotia we have so many beautiful wilderness areas, many of them ideal for camping. Kejimikujik National Park is one such place, and last week our family braved the chilly evening temps and drove down to stay the night. We booked a cabin, so we were fairly cozy.
Cooking and eating outdoors is absolutely my favourite part of camping. We planned a fire-friendly menu - mainly meat and vegetables - simple dishes that are easy to prepare in cast-iron. We also brought a propane stove, which we used to make delicious pancakes in the morning.
Cooking using whole ingredients is a central principle of Bite-Sized Kitchen, and it's how I operate in my lessons and workshops, as well as at home during family dinner and when packing school lunches. It's easy to cook outside using whole ingredients, since they require only simple cooking. For lunch we made frankfurter-style pork hot dogs, and dinner was hanger steaks, potatoes, mushrooms sauteed in butter and tomato salad. Both of the meats we bought at Getaway Farm Butcher shop, a great place for quality meat. Hanger steaks are a very, very flavourful cut of meat, and they did well on the fire; I cooked them rare to medium rare.
The kids loved helping out with the cooking. Frying food over a fire is exciting and gratifying, especially when you've just helped build the fire. It's so basic, too: you can see the flame, and that's what cooks the food - it's more concrete and direct than the concept of an electric stove. And of course, one big excitement when camping is the treat of roasted marshmallows.
Waking up the next morning to cook breakfast is such a joy - particularly when you've already prepped your pancake recipe. I adapted a recipe from Brooke Bass’ inspiring travel and food blog Chocolate and Marrow, and Brooke generously allowed me to share the recipe here, with you. She suggests bringing three jars of ingredients to shake up and mix together at your campsite: flour mixture, egg yolks and buttermilk, and egg whites. They were SO good. Kids can help shake the ingredients together, and pour and flip the pancakes on the pan (with supervision, of course).
It’s a good idea to pack ingredients by meal, so you only need to unpack what's required for the meal you're cooking. I recommend bringing more than one container for compost, and don’t forget oven mitts! A few essentials I would never camp-cook without include
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Cast-iron pan of at least 9"
- Cloth napkins
- Tea towels
- Wooden spoons
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil and butter are critical to almost everything you'll cook over a fire.
- Lemons are a great idea too - that way you have all you'll need for a salad dressing.
I hope you and your family have a chance to sleep and cook outdoors this summer. Happy Trails!