by Jerry DuPree
There are times when a meal needs to be quick to prepare and to clean up. On our upcoming trip planned for the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the Overland stage route, there will be few opportunities for stops for restaurant meals or time to prepare and clean up, and there are no fast food drive throughs. In fact the manager of the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce told me they don’t want any McDonalds style restaurants or “big box” stores.
The alternative will be to pack and bring our own lunch and snacks. I remember one guy on a hunting trip who packed some sandwiches and wrapped them in waxed paper and put them in my ice chest. It was a big surprise to him when he opened the ice chest and found a bunch of soggy sandwiches. He said he put them on top of the ice. He didn’t plan on the movement of the truck may have dislodged and rearranged his lunch. He could have used zip lock plastic bags rather than throw out his provisions when we are out hunting late at night. There was no store were open and anything that may have been was hours away. I had a Subway sandwich nicely packed water tight in a zip lock plastic bag (and I didn’t share it with him).
Our son is in the Army Reserve and each time there is a field drill they are issued MREs, Meals Ready to Eat. There are always extras and at times the military has to replace them after a certain date, although they can be stored almost indefinitely. We have MREs in our emergency supplies we have prepared for “The Big One” which we expect at some point in the future. On our desert adventures or for weekend hunting trips we occasionally enjoy an MRE picnic. Most of them are very good and very filling. Some of them contain a heating pouch that you fill with water and there is a chemical reaction that heats the meal. There are various sources for purchasing MREs that can be found on line.
When there is time to do a little cooking, we buy Great Start breakfasts that come in varieties of eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles, etc. We remove them from the box and the container and heat them in a teflon frying pan and then put them in the same bowl they came out of and enjoy a hot breakfast on a camping trip. Lately we have been getting Jimmy Dean breakfast bowls. They have eggs, potatoes, steak, ham, or sausage. Heat them in a teflon pan which is easy to clean up, put them back in their container and it’s a very good breakfast. Teflon pans are easy to clean up. Heat up some water, add a little bit of soap, wipe them out with a paper towel, rinse, dry, and put it away. We keep little bottles of shampoo from hotels and use them as dish soap. It only takes a few drops.
There are various canned foods that make a nice meal, such as Campbell’s chunky soups. Beef stew is another one. There are also an unlimited amount of snack food such as crackers, chips, cookies, nuts, dip, string cheese, protein bars, etc.
As long as conditions allow, a bag of pre made salad is good on a trip. They can be mixed with salsa and cheese dip, ham, canned pinto beans, and tortilla chips for a great taco salad.
Tortillas are always great because a burrito is anything rolled up in a tortilla. Ham or roast beef, cheese, salsa, and bean dip makes a quick and easy meal. Oh yeah, bring trash bags. ~ Jerry