No one can deny that a very large part of camp life is the cooking, in fact, I think cooking on the fire is a highlight for a lot of campers, me included! It gives one the freedom to camp anywhere, not just where there is access to a plug point for the microwave, and a takeaway place or two.
Over years of camp cooking, I have found that there are a few items that just have to go with on a trip, even if it means I pack them at my feet and sit with my legs up on the seat for the whole journey.
Number one on that list is my range of cast iron cookware. The very basic amount we pack is the bread pot, the Dutch oven, a frying pan and a small ‘rice/veggie’ pot. My husband says this makes the caravan quite heavy, but the food is worth it. Along with the pots goes a dish of some sort to place the braaied meat in, which will also keep it warm.
Other essentials are a few sharp knives, and chopping boards. It is a good idea to keep separate boards for your meat and onions, and for your vegetables and bread. This prevents cross-contamination of flavours (at best) and germs (at worst!). Of course, the experienced camp-cook will probably master the art of ‘air-chopping’ – holding the item you are cutting in your hand and shaving chunks off into your bowl/pot, although this only works for vegetables and fruit! Most long-time moms know how to do this too. But if you do ‘air-chop’, please be careful!!!!!
You will also need a large mixing bowl or two in your camp kitchen. Some sort of measuring jug or cup is useful; I have one of those shaker jugs, which doubles up as a mixer for salad dressing or marinade when needed. One does also need some sort of serving dish or bowl, which one can use for a salad, or pudding.
A wire whisk is very useful, although a large fork will also do the trick. Don’t forget the braai tongs and a wooden spoon. Oh, and remember to pack the knives, forks, spoons and serving spoons.
Absolutely vital kitchen equipment includes a tin opener (one that works, trust me on this one, but then I have a life-long issue with tin-openers, as I always seem to break them), and a cork screw/bottle opener. I’m sure you have all at some stage wrestled with a wine bottle or tin can, trying to get to the contents without the right equipment to open it.
A selection of plastic containers in different sizes, for storing left-overs, or other odds and ends is useful. The disposable variety is light-weight and durable, and inexpensive enough not to break one’s heart if you need to chuck them out for some reason. I also keep a variety of different sized plastic bags for storage, the self-seal type is especially useful.
Of course, I will never travel without a pot for freshly brewed coffee! We have an old stainless steel tea-pot in our caravan to brew coffee – just pour through a fine tea strainer and you have a very passable cup of coffee (I kid you not). When we travelled around the UK, we bought a ‘brown betty’ tea pot and a tea strainer, just to make coffee (yes, my addiction is that bad).
Have I left anything out? Is there something you never travel without which would be a useful addition to this by no means comprehensive list? Do drop me a line and let me know!