There is a joy to cooking in the backcountry. The cold in the morning before the water boils. The silent hiss of the Whisperlite stove. The imperfect pancake that is perfect in its own backcountry way. The basic knowledge that all you eat, you carried with you, and the meal was well deserved.
I have loved cooking all my life. From my earliest moments, I learned so many critical lessons about life gathered with others, preparing the next meal. Learning these life lessons also made me passionate about food and the joy of cooking.
Today, you will find many of the same phrases we have all grown up with passed around the Wilderness Adventures kitchen:
‘A watched pot never boils.’
‘Too many cooks in the kitchen.’
‘A knuckle for your rice.’
‘Bagels are beautiful for backpacking.’
We are excited to see that same passion for food on all of our Wilderness Adventures trips! Not only can our students learn how to make a shopping list and prepare a meal: cutting vegetables correctly and adding the perfect amount of spice, but our groups also then sit and eat ‘family style.’ They share the stories of the day and the meal at hand in some of the greatest dining locations in the world.
So much of the Wilderness Adventures experience is about trying new things and creating a beautiful end result. This is true for our meals, too. There are times we are pushed outside of our comfort zone to try new things and these are the times where growth happens. Whether it be taking a hook out of a fish you just caught, hiking that last 100 yards up the mountain, searching for the perfect campsite when you are tired after a long day of backpacking, or trying pesto for the first time… These are the experiences that help us grow.
For a fan favorite among our students, check out the following recipe:
Pesto Pasta with Sausage and Green Peas
2 lbs Pasta (penne)
¼ – 1/3 cup pesto sauces
1 small bag frozen peas
1 package of sausage (spicy or Italian)
parmesan cheese, salt and pepper
Directions: Boil pasta according to the box. In a separate pan sauté sausage and onion until fully cooked. Add pesto and peas to pan, and continue to cook for 2 minutes. When pasta is cooked, drain but reserve a little pasta water. Add pasta to pan and mix together. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. *Optional add red pepper flakes (not too many!)
As we say on the trail:
‘Life’s a garden-dig in!’
By, Catherine Holland