Food Glorious Food!

Sandra Smith says Over the years I’ve seen some amazing meals being cooked up on the hut bench with aromas to tease your taste buds, but at the other end of the scale there is the odd disaster.

A book worth having

I have recently been given a wonderful book called “Backcountry Cooking“. It’s full of interesting and tasty recipes for trampers and campers.

Most of the dishes have some preparation that is done at home and then you finish off the assembly and cooking at the camp.

I’m going to make good use of this book as it’s always been an issue for me as to what to take on a 4-5 day tramp.

Tramping food has changed

Back in the days when I first started tramping we had TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein.

It was a dry product which looked small squares of cardboard. You put it into liquid and it softened up and in fact tasted like cardboard but it did fill a hole.

Today we have all kinds of dried meals to choose from with names like Asian Chicken, Shepherd’s Pie, Bolognaise – all of which sound appealing but somehow don’t quite come up to expectation.

We all need the luxuries!

We all have our favourite thing to take tramping.

 For me, I can forego the evening glass of wine when I’m on a tramp but I really can’t go without a good coffee in the morning.

I bought (at some expense, I might say) a small lightweight coffee plunger which does make good coffee so while my friends are tucking into their porridge (eeew!) and telling me I won’t last the day.

I enjoy my coffee with some digestive biscuits and cheese. A morning tea snack of a sugar laden health (?) bar and some scroggin keeps me going until lunch time.

Lunch… one of the best I’ve seen on a trip was on the Heaphy when a couple of guys made up their lunch in the hut each morning.

Out came a huge whole salami (from which they sliced off what they needed) and large bag of grated cheese. This was all rolled up into a wrap which looked so delicious. I coveted that wrap every day while I ate my tin of tuna!

Over the years I’ve seen some amazing meals being cooked up on the hut bench with aromas to tease your taste buds, but at the other end of the scale there is the odd disaster.

Brian wasn’t a great cook!

Out of Brian’s league!

Many years ago my late husband Brian, (yes, the founder of Hikerswool) went hunting in the Tararua Ranges with a friend. Brian had many talents but I’m afraid to say that cooking was not one of them.

He took some rice with him on this trip and on their last night he announced that he was going to make Fried Rice. He duly threw the rice into the pan with some butter and waited for it to cook. Hmm…

After some time the rice was still as hard as when it went into the pan. His friend had a tin of stew which he had started to heat up and Brian said maybe he should put the rice into the stew – that would fix it. Well, of course it didn’t and they had to eat the stew with the hard grains of rice in it.

Fortunately, his friend did not hold the ruined meal against him – for too long.

Not flash on pumpkin soup either!

Brian Tonks

Like I said – cooking was not Brian’s forte and I remember one day after he had retired and I was still working he volunteered to make some Pumpkin Soup. I left him my handwritten recipe.

Later in the afternoon I had a phone call from Brian asking how long it took for the onion to soften. I said not long – only a few minutes.

He said “but it’s just rolling around in the pan – it’s going to take forever”. 

I nearly fell of my chair laughing. The recipe did not say to chop the onion up, he said – how was he to know?

Well, that’s true, I guess.

However, in spite of all of this Brian has given us the best thing ever – Hikerswool. Worth a dud meal any time!





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