“Summertime, and the livin' is easy” or at least it should be. One of the things that make it easy for some of us is the fact that we can cook outdoors, and cooking outdoors is mostly done by the men. There are some new books this summer to get the men inspired at home, at the cottage or at the campground. Ted Reader is a very popular cook and author, and his new book Gastro Grilling takes the BBQ from good to great. As Ted Reader says, “what’s old is new again” and along with other serious grill guys he has re-discovered the charcoal BBQ. The same old ones our Dads used a generation ago, they worked then and they still work now. I am very happy to no longer have propane tanks around my home or cottage and having the men doing the cooking makes my summer living easy as can be. When I was growing up, or camping with young children, and cooking on a campfire we made meals of hot dogs and baked beans, burgers and corn, maybe fried some eggs, but that was about as inventive as we got. These days campers are far more sophisticated and there are several new books with great gourmet recipes. Campfire Cuisine by Robin Donovan even gives checklists for planning your trip, suggests supplies and shopping lists so that you don’t find yourself missing an essential ingredient when you are far, far from the grocery store. F is for flexibility, I know, but missing the prosciutto, the goat cheese, or the figs for the Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, and Fig Sandwiches would be a real shame. That recipe alone is almost enough to get me looking for the sleeping bag. Kevin Callan has done more than his share of camp cooking. He is the author of a whole library of books about canoeing and camping in this part of Ontario and across the country. This summer he has his own cookbook The New Trailside Cookbook. Again we have information about shopping, but because this cook travels by canoe he also has advice about packing, bear proofing, and food and water safety, as well as the wild foods you might find or catch along the way. The recipes are mouthwatering and the menus sublime. Maybe we can just pretend we’re camping, and go out to the rocks for a campfire meal, but return and sleep in the cottage instead of on the ground. Local outfitter and guide Wendy Grater is another outdoorsy sort of person who has camped, canoed, and kayaked all over the world. Her book Camp Cooking in the Wild, first published in 2007, has been re-issued. This is the Black Feather Guide to Eating Well in the Great Outdoors, with mouth-watering meals these camp cooking experts have been perfecting for over 40 years. Here are the best of the best recipes you’ll find on the trail, with detailed chapters on menu planning, packing, and cooking equipment.
We’ve come to expect a lot more than baked beans and hot dogs on the campfire. You’ll be the one making your fellow campers very happy indeed with any of these recipes. It is the being out there that matters and with these cookbooks to drool over as you plan you know you’ll be eating well no matter how strenuous or lazy your day.