Camp Food – Lassen Nat’l Park

Hat Creek landscape
Hat Creek Landscape
Cinder Cone Trail Panorama
Cinder Cone Trail
Cinder Cone Top Panorama
Cinder Cone Top
Mill Creek Falls
Mill Creek Falls
Manzanita Lake
Manzanita Lake

I just returned from a wonderful week of camping and hiking at Lassen Nat’l Park. Those who have traveled with me before know that I like to camp with gourmet foods and experiment in the “outdoor kitchen.” And those who are annoyed with my tenacity for packing such foods, are quick to enjoy it when all is said and done.

The wilderness poses a great challenge for cooking — mainly due to the inability to foresee weather/unpredictable circumstances and control heat. However, I embrace the challenge each time I camp. Last year I went to Lassen and built my first fire. From then, it’s been about trying some new and unfamiliar technique. For instance, we used a chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal to cook most of our food. We also cooked directly over a small wood fire for our marinated salmon, eggplant, and zucchini. I will say, it is not easy — but once everything is finished cooking it is such a nice reward. After taking my Microbio class this past semester, I’m not sure I can go anywhere without my food thermometer! It’s so nice to take the guess work out of trying to figure out whether a food is cooked long enough.

In any case, I like to bring mostly healthy and tasty food when hiking and camping.  I’ve looked far and wide on the Internet and books for camp meals inspiration, but they end up being disappointing. The recipes end up being too salty, sugary, or extremely fatty, so I just put together what I thought I might like to eat. The OCD/past-life-auditor in me likes to build spreadsheets of information — so below is a taste of our camp food for the week; however, not shown is Saturday’s breakfast (hodgepodge of leftover hot dogs, mushrooms, leeks, bell pepper, and steak), desserts (homemade chocolate chip cookies), and drinks (white wine sangria that we infused with farmer’s market fruits, local beers, water, and nuun hydration tablets).

Lassen Menu

We followed the meal plan with minor variations. Like Monday night, it rained and poured on us and I couldn’t get a fire going so luckily I had a Mountain House breakfast skillet bag that I whipped out, poured some hot water in, and slapped the contents in three tortillas for quick “breakfast burritos.” It was warm and tasty. Consensus for favorite meals and drinks:  salmon dinner with grilled veggies, steak and potatoes, both hot and cold breakfasts, Mediterranean wrap, and white wine sangria. My most surprising addition was the salad — which I’ll be adding as a staple going forward.

Below are a few food related photos from our trip. I’ve also slipped in a few fungi and mushroom since they are technically food — and interesting to look at. 🙂

White wine sangria - pineapple, kumquats, white nectarine Rosemary and butter bath for steak Leeks, red onion, green bell pepper, and button mushrooms Jelly Fungi - witches' butter Steak and potatoes Spinach and romaine salad Rounded Sierran Puffball Salmon, brown rice, eggplant, and zucchini Sierran Puffball Bacon Burgers and salad Breakfast greek yogurt parfait Beef patties

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