For many of us, it’s picnic and camping season once again, so we are taking a look at dining and cooking outdoors!
DINING AL FRESCO
To most North Americans, dining al fresco means dining outside in temperate weather. Spring and summer are seasons when many enjoy dining outdoors in their backyards or on restaurant patios. In Italy, however, this expression simply means to keep something cold (i.e keep the cheese al fresco).
While dining outside can be a wonderful way to enjoy beautiful weather and outside surroundings, the cons include pests like mosquitos and fighting with the elements of nature, such as wind. It’s all great fun until napkins and tablecloths start blowing away. It can also be more work to create ambiance in an outdoor setting, depending on what exists already.
To most North Americans, dining al fresco means dining outside in temperate weather.
Picnics are a fun way to enjoy the outdoors as a couple or as a family. It can be as simple as making sandwiches and buying fresh fruit and charcuterie items. While nature is beautiful, it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s common for flies and ants to ruin an otherwise perfectly nice picnic, especially if your snack selections include any sugary items. Lemonade is often the main culprit!
Hot dogs and marshmallows seem to be the go-tos when it comes to cooking over a campfire, but there are plenty of options that are better for you and still taste great.
If you’ll have access to a small grill and a cooler, corn on the cob is easy and requires only a couple of ingredients, while breakfast sandwiches taste great any time of the day. Pre-made potato and macaroni salads are other favourites since they’re easy to make and are a great side dish to have on hand. Other great make-ahead items include hamburger patties (we like adding diced onions to ours) and ground beef taco meat, perfect for loading onto taco shells.
Only have a campfire to prepare your dinner on? Don’t fret! Metal vegetable skewers, while they require quite a few ingredients, are filling and it’s hard to find anything tastier than blistered tomatoes. Foil potatoes are filling and take very little effort to prepare. If you prefer a sweeter treat, try sweet potatoes and marshmallows together. Remember, you’ll want to build a low-laying fire to cook on versus a teepee-shaped one, which is more suitable for sitting around telling ghost stories.
If you’ll have access to a small grill and a cooler, corn on the cob is easy and requires only a couple of ingredients.
As for practical items that will come in handy on your next camping adventure, aluminum foil is invaluable as it can act as both a cooking tool and a ‘plate,’ if need be. Small packets of ketchup, mustard and jams, along with salt and pepper, are a quick way to add flavour to your food and, if you can get your hands on bamboo skewers, it will save you from hunting for the perfect wooden sticks for cooking around the campsite. Lastly, it never hurts to bring along a lighter and a Swiss army knife.