Easy to follow and easy to obtain ingredients—both good starts for a backcountry cookbook! Be aware, you want to have a food dehydrator if you plan on buying this book. Many of the recipes call for dehyrdrating your food and home preparation, so be prepared for this before purchasing this book. But if you do have one and don’t mind a little extra work, this is a great choice. The recipes are tasty and nutritious and lightweight. The book is even available in Amazon’s Kindle Edition.
I must admit a weakness for Huevos Rancheros, and the author has found a way to my heart through my stomach by including a recipe for it in this wonderful backcountry cookbook! Variety and flavors are well represented, and if you own a food dehydrator (one of my prized possessions!) and are willing to put in a little extra time and effort at home, you can create some mouth-watering, lightweight meals. And the meals will make you the camp star! And the author has added a new book for vegetarians and vegans that includes many recipes that are gluten-free called Another Fork in the Trail.
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Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling
I have been dehydrating my own backcountry meals for years now. I even take my favorite canned chili and dehydrate it and vacuum pack it. It really hits the spot on the trail! Alan Kesselheim’s book describes many similar methods you can use: making a meal in advance to dehydrate for the trail; dehydrating single ingredients for combining later; and precooking ingredients like spagetti and beans at home and then dehydrating them so they cook faster in the field. His book provides important drying times for different foods as well as their nutritional content and the time required for rehydrating. I highly recommend this book for those wanting to lighten their load and try some dehydrating of their own. And the price of the book is just a little more than the cost of one commercial backpacker’s meal!
Simple Foods for the Pack: More than 200 All-Natural, Trail-Tested Recipes
Claudia Axcell, Diana Cooke, & Vikki Kinmont
This is the newly updated version of the great cookbook which covers 180 trail-tested all-natural recipes, some of which can be prepared in a single pot—less work and cleanup! Lots of recipes for bars and cookies and other munchies are also included in this wonderful book. Also included is information on the newest equipment. And if you or a hiking partner is a fisherman (for fishing regulations in Grand Canyon), there are even recipes for cooking fresh trout! Bon A Petit!
The Hungry Hiker’s Book of Good Cooking
A fabulous find – and now in a new edition! I was introduced to this book by one my Grand Canyon Field Institute participants and am very, very pleased to share it with you. This is the first book I’ve ever seen that is geared solely to backpackers! This book guides you from the very beginning in choosing your dishes and stove through home drying techniques and packing your food and then ends with the finest cookbook I’ve seen to date. To say I’m enthusiastic would be a major understatement! Ms. McHugh discusses cooking over a stove versus fire, gives you various methods for drying food (and even includes plans for building your own dryer!), and provides an amazing list of foods perfect for drying and their drying times. There are many recipes that require nothing fancier than the items you can find in any grocery store. A must for the hungry backpacker’s library!
From a happy hiker:
“I bought the Hungry Hikers Book of Good Cooking, and it was absolutely instrumental in our addressing the food weight issue. We returned to Hermits Rest with only our back-up meal of couscous and a half cup of trail mix! Loved the biscuits, dumplings, and Pasta Carbonara-wonderful!”
The Well-Fed Backpacker
June Fleming offers some nice recipes for shorter trips. She tends to use cans of meat and some heavier items that make for heavier packs. That’s fine if you are in pretty good shape, are on a short trip and have a light pack otherwise. But if you are going for several days, I would use her ideas and substitute for some of the heavier items. The book was last updated in 1986 so food choices have improved since the book was printed. The book is good to use for guidelines and then substituting the newer lightweight items available today in place of the cans she’s got listed in her recipes.