Miso Soup for the Otaku SoulSummer Adventures: Summer jobs and getaways for teens and college studentsYoung and Broke: Student JobsJapan

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.

Convenience food

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, though—all 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 coin later.

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.

Cooking Onsite

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.

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Miso Soup for the Otaku SoulSummer Adventures: Summer jobs and getaways for teens and college studentsYoung and Broke: Student JobsJapan