The "Glamping Gourmet"! Creating the perfect camp kitchen!

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Glamping is camping done fabulously. After you have spent the time creating a great living and sleeping space, it’s time to focus on the kitchen!  In order to create your gourmet camping meals you have the have the right gear.  It isn’t as hard as it sounds either.  Today there are so many options available that are perfect for cooking outdoors. Cooking outdoors can be fun if you are prepared and organized.   Today, I’ll explore the basics of creating the ultimate camp kitchen!

An All Inclusive Option

A Camp Kitchen Kit is a portable (it folds flat) space that holds everything you need to prepare your meals. Depending on your budget they can be very elaborate. The basic camp kitchens hold space for your camping stove, a prep area; sink area and storage underneath (for spices and other cooking supplies).  The more elaborate ones even come with space to hang your pots and pans! Prices start at about $60.  This is a great option for people like me who want to travel with the least amount of equipment. It folds flat which makes it easy to travel with and all the components are there!

If you choose not to purchase a camp kitchen kit, you can create your own with some basic essentials!

 

 

The Essentials:

Folding Tables:  These are essential in any camp kitchen. They function as your work space to prep food and store items.   Many of these are made to be portable and fold and store flat with handles for easy transport.  They also come in a variety of sizes depending on your needs.

Camp Sink & Cleaning Supplies:  It is imperative to keep a clean camp kitchen.  You can purchase collapsible basins to wash and dry your dishes. Bring a dish rack for the folding table to allow your items to dry.  I love the collapsible basins because it makes it easy to pack and keeps the amount of bulky items to a minimum! Don’t forget your cleaning supplies!!  A camp kitchen should have dish soap, towels, sponge, disinfectant wipes and paper towels!  Helpful tip:  if you purchase a portable solar shower bag , you can hang it over your dishwashing area with a lantern hook.  That way you will have warm water whenever you need it!

Pots & Pans:  You have to have something to cook on right?  You have two real options when looking for camp cookware.  Cast Iron Cookware and lightweight camp cookware sets.   Cast Iron cookware is a favorite for camping enthusiasts.  Cast iron is extremely durable and allows you to cook directly on coals or grills.   It holds heat really well and distributes it very evenly. It’s also non-stick so you don’t need any additional sprays and is easy to clean.  The drawback to using cast iron cookware is the weight. It’s heavy. However if you want to do a lot of cooking on the grill, I highly recommend it but only recommend getting a skillet and a Dutch oven. That’s really all you need for a quick weekend camping trip.

If you prefer to travel light or do not plan on using a grill, you can opt for a camp cookware set.  These sets typically nest together and are perfect to travel with.   You can use them on your camp stove to cook and boil water if you need it.   The only drawback to these items is you cannot use them on grills. They burn easily over an open flame.  Most kit’s range from $20 to $70 depending on how many pots and pans you like.   Helpful tip: Use both, I picked up a cast iron skillet and a camp cookware set because I’ll be using both a camping stove and a grill. You want to have options when outdoor cooking. If it rains, you can still create great meals on your camping stove!

Camping Stove and Portable grill:   Depending on what you plan to cook, you may choose a grill or camp stove.   Camping stoves are great for cooking meals quickly or boiling water.   Most people love a 2 burner camp stove. These work with small propane tanks that you can find anywhere.   Fry bacon, make pancakes! A camping stove is just a portable version of the stove you have at home.

For those grill enthusiasts there are plenty of options!  Charcoal and propane grills are now very easy to transport. Some fold flat while others are just small enough to put on a table!  Ideally you want to have a grill that packs up easily and is easy to use.  Don’t forget your charcoal, lighter fluid, matches and grilling tools!

Dinnerware and Utensils:   Remember you are glamping!  Gone are the days of your basic “mess kit”.   Glampers take their dinnerware to a new level.  Glampers create beautiful dining areas with acrylic or even porcelain dinnerware. Glampers want something beyond paper and plastic!  Wine Glasses and other acrylic drinkware replace red cups!  After all, you are creating gourmet meals. Why would you want to eat on a paper plate and plastic utensils? Not to mention, it’s more ecologically friendly anyway!

Food Prep & Storage:   While I highly recommend planning your meals ahead, there will be moments where you have to prepare items on the campsite.  Make sure you keep the basics in your kitchen.  A Cutting board, a good knife, can opener, matches, cooking utensils, cooking spray, foil, zip lock bags, and potholders are a must when prepping your meals.  Also bring some Tupperware containers to store any leftovers and plenty of trash bags.   Keeping your camp area clean is imperative to keep bugs and pesky critters away!   

Cooler:  This is the most important item for your kitchen since you will be storing your food in these for the weekend.  The key to keeping your food safe is to pack it correctly and cool it properly. Tip:  Chill the cooler before you pack it.  A Cold cooler will keep ice longer.  Add a few bags of ice to your cooler and allow it to cool a day or two before you leave.   Empty the cooler of the old ice and pack your cooler as normal. A Cold cooler keeps your ice longer.

Pack your items in layers, with heavier items such as beverages on the bottom and more fragile items such as eggs on the top.  I highly suggest taking all food out of its original packaging and putting it in Ziploc bags or Tupperware.  Helpful tip: if you have greens veggies, wrap them in paper towels before putting them in Ziploc bags! It helps them stay crisp longer.  Make sure you keep your cooler organized; it helps when you know where everything is.   When not in use, keep the cooler fully closed so less cold air will leak out. 

Let’s Cook!

Camp cooking is a part of the camping experience.  However, when glamping, your meals are much more than hot dogs on a stick, dehydrated food or a can of beans prepared over an open flame. Glampers are gourmet chefs in the outdoors.  They truly take camp cooking and dining to the next level.  It isn’t as hard or difficult as it seems. The key to creating 5-star meals is proper planning! Planning ahead makes your outdoor cooking experience a breeze.   Create a menu with meals you love and prep as much as you can before you leave. 

I’ve put together a few meals that I think are worthy of a glamping trip!  The majority of them do not require more than 30 minutes of prep time!  Download my free E-Book today full of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert that will please any glampers palette!

As always, I hope you enjoyed the last article in our Glamping 101 series!  Just a few more days until we gather in Idlewild, MI for a weekend full of good music, great food and new memories!  Make sure you follow me on social media as I will have live coverage all weekend long and stay tuned to the blog for 2 upcoming interviews that you don’t’ want to miss!

See you in Idlewild!

Black Widow

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Black Widow

D.Sanders, a Chicago native, is a devoted mother, blogger and writer who is passionate about her family, friends, women's rights, living authentically and telling her story.   She is also a spoken word recording artist under the name, Black Widow. She has been writing and blogging for over 15 years providing commentary and expressing thought on life, love and relationships. Her artistry can be heard on two house music singles, “Rough”, and “Gruv Me” released by Grammy Nominated Producer and CEO of T’s Box Records & T’s Crates, Terry Hunter under the production of Mike Dunn and Dee Jay Alicia. . Both singles reached #1 on Traxsource’s Afrohouse and charted top ten overall as well reaching the top ten in their year of release.  She splits her time blogging about the Chicago Dance Music Scene on www.blkwidowmusic.com and on her book’s website, www.thesumofmanythings.com.  She is excited about her debut book, The Sum of Many Things, scheduled for release in June 2017.   She wears many hats but refuses to be placed in a box.  She believes that women are "The Sum of Many Things".  Embracing all of her roles as a woman, she firmly believes in breaking free of preconceived notions of womanhood.   She believes it is her mission to define her own life experience, femininity and sexuality and not have it defined by society.  She openly shares her story with hopes that women understand their worth, power and place in this world.