Enjoying the wilderness naturally entails sacrificing some of the comforts of home. Cooking, in particular, can be problematic once you step outside your kitchen; but don't worry. Eating in the backcountry (or front country rustic campsites) doesn't have to be scant or unsatisfying. With a simple camping stove and a water source, you can keep your body nourished and your taste buds happy.
Pasta and Oatmeal
The two great cliches of backcountry gourmet are pasta and oatmeal. But despite their simplicity (actually because of it), these dishes make excellent meals for hikers. The complex carbohydrates in oats and the wheat in pasta refuel muscles for energy and recovery. Throw some dried berries in with your oatmeal to liven it up, or dress your pasta with pesto and a dash of olive oil instead of dried cheese sauce.
Instant breakfast drinks, hot cocoa, hydration liquids and coffee can liven up mealtimes with minimal effort. In addition, these drinks all contain energy and nutrients your body needs to get through a long day on the trail. Try coffee and a breakfast drink in the morning, then add a powdered hydration mix to your water bottle at lunch. Finish your day with a comforting cup of hot chocolate around a fire.
Dried Fruit and Gorp
Another great staple of backcountry cooking is dried fruit. Berries, apples, mangoes and other tasty fruits add an explosion of flavor to any meal, and the energy they provide can get you through a tough climb or long trek. Or try mixing dried fruit with nuts, granola and chocolate candies for the traditional gorp trail mix.