This guest post comes from our contributor FP Naomi!
Dani Kaminski (pictured below) and I met freshman year of college. We instantly bonded over horses and fashion, and then later came to find out we had a shared love for the outdoors and a passion for cooking. There have been several camping trips since. Dani is the best non-professionally-trained cook I know, and her skills continue to shine over the open fire. She’s made me many a delicious meal over hot coals, and along the way, I’ve learned a few pointers. I thought you all might enjoy the useful tips as well, so here it is: a quick interview with Dani Kaminski, Cooking Over an Open Fire. Have plans to go camping this summer? Listen up!
What utensils/cooking supplies should everyone have in their camping supply?
A cast iron skillet is a must. You can cook just about anything in it, and you only need to wipe it clean with a damp cloth to clean it. If you prefer finger foods, I suggest some bamboo skewers, because you can make a kabob out of just about anything. Don’t forget a sharp knife!
What tips can you offer for those cooking over an open fire as far as technique and what to watch out for?
A common campfire cooking mistake is to try to cook over open flame. Try to rake hot red coals to the area you would like to cook over. They are as hot as the flame and will deliver a much more consistent cooking temperature, without charring your food.
What are the best ways to store food when camping?
Try to bring foods that don’t perish easily, so that you don’t have to worry about storing them over ice. A cooler or large plastic container with an airtight seal will keep fruits and veggies fresh and will keep bugs and other animals out. Always lock it up at night in a car or your tent/cabin so that the forest’s other furry inhabitants don’t decide to make it their midnight snack!
Can you go through how you keep food clean and what you do to clean up after preparing a meal in the woods?
Rinse all your food with water before cooking, just as you would at home. You can dispose of food scraps in the woods, but make sure it’s away from your campsite so that you don’t attract animals. I have a set of enameled metal camping plates and utensils that is easily washed and dried, but if you aren’t a frequent camper, paper plates and bamboo utensils can just be tossed in the campfire to minimize waste.
What are your favorite camping meals/recipes?
Breakfast: Bacon on the campfire is incredible, but be VERY careful about flare-ups from dripping grease. I love cooking egg and potato hash in a cast iron skillet over the fire, because it picks up just enough of that wonderful smoky flavor. And charred peppers and onions make a great addition.
Lunch: If you can, catch your lunch! There is nothing fresher than a just-caught fish over an open fire. A little salt is all you need to bring out really amazing natural flavor. One of my favorite camping snacks is grilled pineapple, which goes well with just about any protein. The sugars caramelize over the fire and it’s sweet and smoky.
Dinner: Chili, beans, something warm and hearty. Soak corn on the cob in its husk for an hour or so in water, and husks won’t catch on fire. You can grill them directly over the fire and impart a wonderful earthy flavor into otherwise basic corn on the cob.
What is your favorite part about meals in the woods?
Whenever I eat outside, even if I am having a campfire in my own backyard, I feel more in touch with what I am eating. When camping, you often don’t have a hundred kitchen utensils, cooking vessels, spices, and other helpful items at hand, and you can really appreciate the natural goodness in the food you’re eating with very simple preparation. It’s a much simpler and more honest relationship with your food.
Visit Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot.