eating well in the woods 12

eating well in the woods

For those of you a little camping-shy, it may seem like the woods are a pretty difficult place to get a good meal. Even if you camp pretty often, you may be used to getting some hot dogs and pre-made s’mores bundles at the weird grocery store on your way in. But for me, good food and being surrounded by nature are two of my favorite things, and are both made better when done at the same time.

The first time I really “had” to cook was in the woods. As a camp counselor in Pennsylvania, we were responsible for cooking most breakfasts over the fire for our little tent groups. It doesn’t sound like much, but I’m willing to bet that you’d have a hard time finding better french toast or pancakes than some of those griddles produced in the guys’ camping area. Sometimes we’d even gather together and cook a mass breakfast together, dividing up the tasks of a sausage-egg-muffin sandwich between groups of spatula-wielding counselor men. Meanwhile all the hungry children would get bored of our ridiculousness, eat some froot loops, and wander off into the woods.

The point is, I love cooking in the woods, and our camping trip this weekend gave us the excuse to do a lot of it. I’m talking about “car camping”, where you can bring your own stuff in a big cooler, not necessarily backwoods backpacking. It’s possible to have amazing meals out of a backpack, but the secret that any real explorer knows is that any food tastes like the best thing you’ve ever eaten, when you’ve carried it ten miles up a mountain before eating it.

Anyway, I wanted to share some photos of our adventures cooking in the forest. We actually planned ahead for all of our meals, and tried to find a few that didn’t require much prep. For the rest, we brought our trusty 12-inch cast iron skillet. Take a look at our amazing meals; there’s nothing better than good food in the woods.

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

I challenge you to find better french toast than this in the world.


eating well in the woods

Enjoyed with a little fruit syrup, the recipe for which is on this site somewhere.

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

eating well in the woods

Again– try to find a better way to eat eggs, than “in a basket” over a fire. You can’t.

12 thoughts on “eating well in the woods

  1. Pingback: Eating Well in the Woods | Camping Tips

  2. Reply GG from Quieting Life Jul 31, 2012 9:23 pm

    My husband always made eggs for my stepkids that way (he calls them ‘toads in a hole’ [the eggs, not the kids]) with the best part being the round bread hole fried to a crisp in butter (for dunking in the runny yolks, of course). Yum.

    I love cooking for ‘car camping’ (because I love car camping!). One of my favorites is Campfire Choucroute – as fancy or lowbrow as you like. Cook some onions in butter in a big frypan, then add a mess of sauerkraut (homemade, if you gots) and some beer or white wine, then nestle in some sausages or even (lowbrow version) hotdogs and some small peeled potatoes and let it all bubble and cook until everything’s tender and fragrant and delicious. The beauty is that you can use canned sauerkraut and potatoes if you have to. Mustard is a nice addition for serving, though not mandatory.

  3. Reply Abby VanTuil Aug 1, 2012 11:57 am

    Todd (and Rachel) – thanks for the inspirations. Ben and I are dog sitting next weekend at our neighbors lake house and I imagine we will be doing a lot of fireside cooking. The french toast looks scrumptious!!

  4. Reply Aimee @ Simple Bites Aug 6, 2012 2:39 pm

    Love the multiple uses for the cast iron pan here. A better camping tool there never was.

    Looks scrumptious!

  5. Reply Lisa Aug 9, 2012 5:43 pm

    Todd, we’re just back from our annual interior canoe trip (including our kids, aged 9 and 11. Thanks to an outback oven and our own dehydrator, we ate fabulously well (your avocado picture made me smile because we had one with us, too!). What I was very jealous about was the fire under your pan. We were under a total burn ban, but were able to plan for that. Luckily, it’s been lifted, as we were not looking forward to an upcoming car camping adventure without fire, or even charcoal.

    • Reply Todd Aug 9, 2012 9:59 pm

      Bummer about the fire ban! Fires are such an iconic part of trips, I’d be sad without them. Obviously you probably couldn’t lug a giant cast iron pan out there either, but I was surprised my little backpacking stove kept the big pan hot for the quesadillas. Where was your trip?

  6. Reply Lisa Aug 10, 2012 11:07 am

    Interior of Algonquin Park in Ontario. First trip with 2 canoes (boys are getting bigger!). One of those “hearts and faith” places for me and my family.

    • Reply Todd Aug 10, 2012 12:51 pm

      I did a camping trip there a few years ago, and it was right when the leaves were changing. Honestly one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I’ve ever been, and it made me want to come back and do some canoeing deeper in.

  7. Reply LadyJayPee May 17, 2013 9:48 pm

    Where is the recipe for that delicious-looking taco?/fajita pictured above? I NEED it! :)

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