Marshmallows - check. Hot dogs - check. Chips - check. Beer - check. Bread - check. Snacks - check. Coleman stove - check. Sleeping bag - check. All things camping - check, check, check.
This week’s grocery list looks like something out of a ‘how to eat poorly’ reality show. Yup - we’re going camping for the weekend and with that it seems our typically healthy diet also goes on vacation. It’s not that we won’t be taking healthy options with us, it’s just that junk food tastes so much better out in the wild. When you say camping, I say, junk food, junk food, junk food! It’s just where my mind goes first.
For two days, we’ll eat and drink more than usual, enjoying it all with our kids, surrounded by God’s creation - soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. There’s nothing like it. For camping naysayers - LJ and Jane - you don’t know what you’re missing!
Back to the menu. I love lists. First making them and then crossing things off them when done. It feels like a real sense of accomplishment and motivates me to get things packed and ready to go. There’s a sense of pride in a job well-done and relief everything is organized pre-procrastination.
The camping food list is divided by pantry and cooler. Some staples we have, others I need to make a special shop for. I’m relieved to report most of the junk items required for camping are not normally in my pantry.
I can’t wait for home-made smores. Fun fact - you only need two ingredients for S'mores - marshmallows and Celebration cookies. Yes - those lovely rectangular biscuits with one side covered in chocolate. Easy peasy to roast a marshmallow and then put it between two cookies. Delicious. Yes I know there are pre-packaged S’more kits, but come on - we are roughing it. This year I’m excited to have maple marshmallows to toast over the open fire. I think they’re part of Canada’s 150 birthday celebrations. They smell delicious!
From exorbitant amounts of Food Networking watching, I know we will never again mention burnt hot dogs when camping. What the chef will be serving is a well charred delectable meat by-product with a side of crispy taters, otherwise known as chips. There will be no burnt food for us! It’s all in the way you spin it.
Camping is about the smell and taste of boiled coffee in the morning. Whether it’s so strong a spoon will stand up in it or conversely, a poor excuse for watery grounds, it’s delicious. Combine that with toast that takes forever to cook on the tin toaster over the Coleman stove and you’ve got the perfect breakfast. Don’t forget the peanut butter - a simple, yummy protein that’s easy to pack and serve while camping.
While camping may include some food items not usually served at home, it also includes a balance between eating and exercise. There’s hiking; swimming; biking; page turning - so many ways to burn off the extra calories. It’s the best combination of life and relaxation contributing to overall health and well-being.
There’s just something about food cooked over an open flame and served on the best melamine dishes bordered with a red and white checkered tablecloth. Waiting for the water to boil to do dishes; wearing slightly damp clothes; the smell of bug spray wafting through the air, playing games, laughing all seem to whet my appetite. Seems like eating is the main, never-ending activity when camping. Whatever is on the menu - it just tastes better eating in the great outdoors.
So I’ll do the camping shop; pack everything and great ready for an awesome outdoor adventure. It’s fun to plan for a mini vacation and I look forward to the yummy eats. There are so many distractions in the great outdoors that it’s easy to enjoy whatever we’re eating while taking it all in. No matter what’s on the menu, I know the best part of the weekend will be feasting on the love of family.
Pack the truck up - we’re outta here.
Nancy Revie is a Guelph author, motivational speaker, fitness instructor and entertainer. Visit Nancy at www.nancyrevie.com. Her column appears every other week.