The key piece of any menu is undoubtedly the entree. When you are camping out, you want something as simple as possible, preferably something you can cook yourself over a fire The old campground standby is, of course, the hot dog, and with good reason: there are few things more delicious than a slightly charred frankfurter with a healthy coat of mustard and relish when you are cracking open some drinks to enjoy with your friends. It is worth nothing, however, that while it may seem more romantic to use that stick you found on the hiking trail, it is much more sanitary to use a metal prong made for just this purpose and available at most camping supplies stores.
Another classic is the Foil Dinner, a concoction of ground beef, butter, carrots, onions potatoes, and spices cooking in a tinfoil packet placed among the hot coals of a fire. Although you would not think so of something so simple, the foil dinner is both hearty and delicious, especially the juices from the the veggies mix with the meat and the indescribable, perhaps smokey taste you get from cooking it directly in the coals. Remember, though, that you need to be careful about wrapping the food up before putting it in the coals – while a slight hint of charcoal will add to the flavor of the meat, you do not want to end up putting a piece of meat half-covered in ash in your mouth because you let the tinfoil tear. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes to heat, after which you should open the package and let it cool for a few minutes, taking care to grasp the foil with something to protect your hand.
If you want something without meat, you could always try the Camper’s Pizza, a pizza-like sandwich made with adding pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and peperoni. These ingredients are added to two slices of buttered bread and cooked on a pie tin left to heat on burning coals. The Camper’s Pizza is a little quicker to make than the Foil Dinner, taking about 15 or 20 minutes on the hot pie tin. When its done, you will have a tasty meal or snack to enjoy around the campfire – and in fact, if this is your first time trying the Camper’s Pizza, you may want to try it again at home when your not camping.
There are myriad choices for side dishes as well. Since they usually do not include meat, you can bring many of your favorite sides from the dinner table to the campfire without any problems. Two particularly appetizing choices are baked potatoes and corn on the cob, both of which can be cooked in tinfoil without many problems.
For dessert, there is really only one acceptable choice: ‘Smores, that nostalgia-evoking treat made from a single roast marshmallow sandwiched between to graham crackers and a piece of chocolate. Indeed, any good camper would firmly rebuke you if you tried to make any other dessert over a campfire. However, if you do not want to go to all the trouble of making ‘Smores, regular roasted marshmallows are still acceptable. You should have at least one ‘Smore though – it is not really camping without at least one.
These are just a few suggestions – really, you can make whatever you like as long as you can cook it over a campfire. The most important thing about camping food is that it helps you enjoy yourself as much as possible. As long as your food is setting you along that path, you cannot go wrong.