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Gourmet fare outdoors: A Fork in the Trail cookbook

Gourmet fare outdoors: A Fork in the Trail cookbook
Gourmet fare outdoors: A Fork in the Trail cookbookTamar Alexia Fleishman, Esq.

No matter what kind of diet you may be on, everything goes out the window when you're camping, hiking, canoeing. Being in the great outdoors really sharpens your appetite! Yet, there are lots of restrictions on what's practical to cook over a campfire. It's limited by perishable food, weight, containers. You really can't have it all. That's why I was interested in and happy to be hosted to experience A Fork in the Trail and its sister companion -- the vegetarian version -- Another Fork in the Trail, by Laurie Ann March.

I knew I would appreciate the books when she asserted that she doesn't like the standard outdoor store offerings, not solely as a money-saving device, but rather, because all of those foods taste the same. An outdoorswoman with a palate! I agree: the stores sell 100 versions of chili with cumin and faux "Indian" food . . . nasty. I'm also glad that the tone of her books isn't "Eat to live, not live to eat.

Each book has sensible ideas on what to take as to equipment.

Ethnic food-wise, you'll find everything from Polish to African cuisine, along with American classics. I myself go for savories more (tastebud and out of health necessity), so the extensive chapter on baked desserts is lost on me. Too easy to take a pack of cookies. The same goes for the baking the dog treats: my dog is content with leftovers on camping trips and we're gonna keep it that way. But, you might dig creating live-fire cooked everything!

I was also relieved to see that the vegetarian edition is not filled with fake Tofurky meat substitutes. I think those are full of chemicals to make tofu taste like meat -- but really, they taste like salt. I'm so against them, I even once asked a famous rabbi what he thought of the fake foods! Instead, there are groovy recipes for black cherry-apple fruit leather, ceviche without fish, cheesy mushroom pancakes.