Cooking for campers can be a challenging task especially if the group is large. Still, someone has to be in charge of planning, preparing and serving the meals, as well as the unpopular task of cleanup. To facilitate an efficient and sanitary camp kitchen, a set of strict guidelines can be a great aid. This applies to those out on the trail as well as a camp set up in just one outdoor location.
Before the trip or camp session begins, one person should be designated as the one in charge of all cooking activities. The larger the group, the more important this becomes. With one individual accountable for all cooking activities, a hierarchy is established where the rules (or law) concerning food preparation can be properly enforced. Also of note is that the head cook needs to take on all responsibility for the quality, safety and sanitation of the food preparation and meals. In this manner, a safe dining experience can be enjoyed by all.
Whether in a permanent outdoor location or out on the trail, camp cooking has many limitations as to what food items can be used to prepare daily meals. However, with freeze-dried, dehydrated and powdered forms of such common items as eggs, beans, hot cereal and fruit juice, a tasty and nutritional diet should be possible for all campers.
Meal planning should be the responsibility of one person, who must undertake the important tasks of selecting, purchasing, transporting and preserving the food during the camp stay. Any variations in the menu should only be allowed in case of pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes.
One of the premier responsibilities of the head cook is to define the cooking area, and one of the best ways of doing this is by setting up a tarp to distinctly define the mess area. This part of the camp is then designated as being off-limits until the meal is ready to be served. The actual cooking area should be located just outside the tarp or have ventilation that goes around the temporary shelter.
The head cook will need an energetic crew to assist him in the task of preparing the meal. The crew should be small and everyone involved needs to know the cook is in charge. This chain of command is essential to preparing a meal that can be enjoyed by the whole group.
Another important aspect of camp cooking is the cleanup process. This is a task where the head cook should take direct responsibility to ensure the job is done properly. He should have at his disposal a small crew responsible for washing and sanitizing all cooking utensils and pots and pans in a hot solution of water, even if it means melting snow to obtain the hot water. The cleanup crew should be different from group who does the cooking.
Article Written By Henri Bauholz
Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.