THE CAMPOUT COOK­BOOK

In­spired Recipes for Cook­ing Around the Fire and Un­der the Stars

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight -

Marnie Hanel, Jen Steven­son, Ar­ti­san (MAY) Hard­cover $19.95 (224pp), 978-1-57965-799-4

The im­por­tant mes­sage un­der­pin­ning Marnie Hanel and Jen Steven­son’s oth­er­wise play­ful The Campout Cook­book is tucked at the end: “On a small scale, we think the best thing you can do for the en­vi­ron­ment is to bring your friends out­side.” The authors’ en­thu­si­asm for feast­ing around a well-made camp­fire shines in their de­tailed in­struc­tions for as­sem­bling the right cook­ing gear, recipes, and un­plugged en­ter­tain­ments.

The prin­ci­pal fo­cus is on car camp­ing, as most plans and recipes in­volve cast-iron cook­ware, a well-stocked camp kitchen, and one or two cool­ers. This re­ally ex­pands camp­fire meals from the stan­dard crowd pleasers, though multiple vari­a­tions of gorp, bug juice, and an out­stand­ingly re­fined recipe for s’mores with home­made marsh­mal­lows are still there.

Whim­si­cal color il­lus­tra­tions add ex­tra vis­ual punch to the zippy mag­a­zine-style lay­out. The cook­book is punc­tu­ated with flow charts, ma­tri­ces, and in­ser­tions of help­ful camp­ing ad­vice, in­clud­ing ninety-nine ways to use a Ther­mos, skinny-dip­ping tips, how to spot com­mon poi­sonous plants, and a primer on con­stel­la­tions.

The recipes are still the stars of this book, how­ever. There are spe­cial chap­ters on break­fasts, trail snacks for ev­ery­one from kids to dogs, some in­ven­tive sides and sal­ads (Gar­licky Grilled Ar­ti­chokes! Foil Pack­ets of Apri­cots, Honey, Rose­mary, and El­der­flower Liqueur!), desserts, and “For­ti­fi­ca­tions.” The lat­ter cov­ers es­sen­tial camp­fire party li­ba­tions from cold to hot.

How de­light­ful it would be to cook your way through these pages, feast­ing your eyes on moun­tain vis­tas while your belly sa­vors home­made salmon jerky and a steam­ing mug of Peanut But­ter Hot Cho­co­late (“will give you a head start on your win­ter coat”). Mouth­wa­ter­ing recipes aside, Hanel and Steven­son write with flair and cre­ativ­ity, and their prose trans­lates into ac­tion plans for some re­ally fan­tas­tic out­door sleep­over par­ties.

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