LARP and SCA Camping Tips
Food is one of the essential things that can make or break a weekend.
Spoiled food can ruin your whole weekend, and a good meal around
a fire can be the key event of the weekend. Missing meals, or eating
junk can leave you feeling run-down, achy and tired, less able to
enjoy yourself. This doesn't mean you have to spend the weekend
over a fire, though advance preparation can increase the quality
and diversity of your options. Food is also one of the best things
to band together with other folks for. Cooking for four takes only
slightly less time than cooking for one, and food is often cheaper
in bulk. Dining together can also help create esprit de corps, and
can be a good role playing tool as well as creature comfort.
You can walk into a grocery store and pick up everything you need
for the weekend.
Summer sausage, cheese, bread, grapes, carrots, celery, cucumbers.
Pickles, olives. Fruit (apples, oranges, plums), cookies, juice
boxes (cliche, but no refrigeration required). If you like milk
in your coffee, milk comes in little boxes, too, and requires no
refrigeration until you open it. Don't forget the sweets: Cookies
and dried fruit make nice desserts or small treats to nibble throughout
the day. Chocolate is great, but melts easily. It is perhaps worth
noting that tootsie rolls are reasonably chocolatey and don't melt.
Don't forget about coffee or tea if you drink it every day. Caffeine
is a harsh mistress.
Unsliced loaves of bread are popular. If you are trying to save
a little money I will point out that most grocery stores have unsliced
Italian loaves in with the bread aisle, that are significantly less
expensive than the "peasant loaves" in the bakery section.
The bread should be well wrapped, thoughall of these kinds
of loaves will go stale in the course of a couple of days.
Most of the prepared foods, especially the meat will have lots
of salt. Salt is good, when you are active in the heat, but be sure
to balance it well with lots of fruit and veggies. A weekend of
pepperoni and cheese may seem simple, but if you skimp on bread
and veggies, you may find yourself paying in very uncomfortable
Food You Can Make in Advance
There a number of things you can do in advance, from very simple,
to slightly complex.
The simplest snack you can put together, are vegetables. Cherry
tomatoes, sliced carrots, bell peppers, celery, and cucumbers are
good on their own, and can be incorporated into simple cooked dishes.
You can add a step and make "insta-pickles" out of cucumbers
or carrots by adding vinegar and spices to the cucumbers and putting
them in a ziplock bag. They are ready to go, and don't need refrigeration.
(recipe to follow). Of course, the convenience food par excellence
is beef jerky. there a re a lot of them on the market, but they
can be pricey, and have a lot of added crap. Beef jerky is relatively
inexpensive to make, and is good to munch as is, and can be used
to make a fine stew. If you make it, you can make it as you like,
as spicy or simple as you please.
Dessert can be a fine unexpected decadent pleasure to share, and
both Shortcake and biscotti are simple to make, sturdy enough to
pack and carry, and simple to make.
You can cook over an open fire, it is great ot have a fire to sit
around, and the technique gives the more more savor somehow, but
it takes at least twice as long. It's harder work, you need firewood,
and it takes some practice to do well, and it may be prohibited
due to drought or other conditions. It is well worth the while to
learn to do, but for quick and simple meals, there are a number
of gas camp stoves that can be used to cook for groups of up to
about 6. They pack efficiently, and set up quickly and easily.
Cooking and Cleanliness
Make sure your hands are clean before you cook and before you eat.
If it smells off, do not eat it. Some foods may spoil, even if
kept in a cooler. Don't take a chance. Vegetables, meat and starch
all have ways in which they can make you ill, if improperly handled.
Clean up directly after cooking, and if there are leftovers, give
em away, or toss them. Make sure garbage is properly (and immediately
disposed of. When you arrive onsite, the organizers will be happy
to clue you in on what this entails. Bring garbage bags.
The safest thing to do is eat off paper plates. Drinking mugs can
be rinsed, but consider leaving plates and such at home if there
are no or minimal washing facilities. Organizers will know well
in advance and be able to keep you informed, and there are reliable
disposable plates, and even bowls for hot soup on the market.
· Drink >