On all TrekAmerica camping trips, we use a “food kitty”: everyone, including the tour leader, chips in an equal amounts of money based on the length of the trip. The group is broken up into 3 or 4 smaller teams that take turns cooking, dish washing and tidying up the van. Every few days we days we stop at a supermarket and each team has to come up with a dinner plan and shop for ingredients.
Does the thought of planning and cooking a meal for 14 people freak you out? Don’t worry – we always manage to eat well, and the time spent cooking and eating together (and hopefully the meals themselves!) are often a trek highlight. The tour leader helps direct the group with ideas and advice, and many leaders are good cooks in their own right. You never know – you might end up with a chef on your team! I remember having a chef and a baker on a trip in Alaska. Camped within sight of a huge glacier, we ate a delicious chicken risotto, and then cooked a Swiss specialty over the fire. The baker, from Zurich, helped us make stockbrot, which is basically bread dough twisted around a stick and toasted over the fire. With honey and butter it was delicious!
I’ve enjoyed many amazing meals with my groups over the years. Any and every kind of barbeque, beautiful salads made from veggies bought at a local farmers market, fresh salmon baked on coals, beef and bean chili with cornbread, Swedish meatballs and a hundred different pasta dishes. . . even spaghetti Bolognese.
Meal time is also a chance for trekkers from around the world to share their culture with the rest of the group. Ever tried bulgogi and rice from Korea or bangers and mash from the UK? How about big, fluffy, American-style blueberry pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast? You may even learn how to say bon appetit in five different languages!
Sitting down to enjoy a good meal always brings us together, no matter where we’re from. So grab a plate, have a seat and get to know the person next to you. And for dessert, we’ll light a campfire and make some s’mores for dessert.
Let us know about any weird or wonderful culinary camp site dinners you’ve experienced on your trip.
My love of the outdoors comes from growing up hiking, fishing and camping in the Green Mountains of Vermont. My love of travel comes from a restless spirit and an insatiable curiosity to see what’s around the next corner. After high school in Australia, university in Europe and teaching jobs in Asia I landed a job at TrekAmerica: the best of both worlds! Now I spend part of the year road tripping this amazing country with Trek groups and part scouring the globe for the sweetest mangos and spiciest noodles. I also enjoy barbecuing, mountain biking, pickles, geology and drinking coffee.