Campfire Cooking

There is nothing quite like a campfire. We have all experienced the mesmerizing powers of the deep orange flames flickering and dancing before us. We have probably all had a burnt sausage and a slightly over-toasted (chargrilled?) marshmallow. However regardless of the accuracy of our campfire culinary endeavors, cooking and eating with friends around a campfire is always an experience to be treasured.

My own memories of campfire cooking are numerous.

I remember going tramping up the Matukituki valley toward the Rob Roy glacier with my parents and my three brothers when we were quite young, my dad carrying the all-important backpack with the lunch supplies. As a little extra motivation, Dad had organized for Billy T to join us at the clearing by the river. I couldn’t believe my luck, Billy T was practically a national hero in the 80’s and my dad, had somehow managed to get him to meet us out in the middle of nowhere for lunch! We arrived at the clearing and my dad lit a fire and unpacked our picnic. We cooked our sausages on sharpened green sticks and Dad filled the billy with crystal clear glacial water before throwing in a handful of tea leaves and setting it down in the embers to brew. When the pot began to steam dad announced ‘billy tea is ready’ and we realized that the only comedian present was Dad.

I was also a Girl Guide, proud as punch of my extensive collection of badges which certified my expertise in many important life skill areas such as bird watching, knitting, knotting and of course, cooking. Guide Camps were the best. A gaggle of girls and a fire, what could be more fun?

The thing about a campfire is that you can have one almost anywhere and in theory you can find everything you need to build one in the wilderness. At this point I should mention that I have never had much luck with the stick rubbing technique, so as a general rule I recommend carrying a box of matches with you to guarantee success. I have cooked on campfires on the beach in Mexico, in the desert in Utah and even in my own back yard and every time it has been wonderful and you are guaranteed to have the deeply embedded smell of campfire in your clothes the next day to remind you of how good it was.

Practice makes perfect, there are many ways to build a fire and many ways to cook on it. Hemmingway once said in has classic essay ‘camping out’, it is all right to talk about roughing it in the woods. But the real woodsman is the man who can be really comfortable in the bush.

This month we have put our heads together to bring you the very best bush tucker which will herein be referred to as ‘campfire cuisine’. Using these great recipes will ensure you go straight to comfortable woodsman status and master of campfire cuisine.