Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.
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andy
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by andy » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:34 pm

Worked:

BBQ Chicken, grilled fish, steak
Veggie omelets made with sauteed mushroom, onion, tomato, and cheese, with liquid egg white (easy and delicious but pan clean-up takes a while)
Lecso (a Hungarian dish similar to spanish rice but using quinoa and turkey sausage) - delicious!
Quinoa
Fresh tomatoes (really versatile - place on sandwiches for lunch, omelets for breakfast, spanish rice, etc.)
Coffee (but I should give up on instant and use a drip)
Cold cuts for lunch with pickle spears
Greek yogurts
Cereal with banana and cold milk
Fridge full of Gatorade
Block ice on the bottom of the cooler, cubed ice on top

Partly worked:
Canned veggies heated in a pot (so-so)
Real plates, cups, and flatware (nice to eat from but have to be washed, disposable would be easier)

Didn't work:
Ice cream treats stored in dry ice (total loss - melted after 3 days)
Some fruits stored in my cooler (got yucky)
Bagels bought at Save Mart in Reno (terrible!)

If this seems like a lot of work, the omelets seriously take about 10 minutes total including cutting and sauteed the veggies. My kitchen consisted of a 1-burner-1-grill propane stove and a handful of $1 and $2 implements from Walmart. I can make coffee faster than going to Center Camp Cafe. A few items, like the BBQ chicken, might take 20 minutes but I really enjoy making and eating a delicious meal out there - I made grilled mushrooms with my steak - again, it's really, really quick at altitude on a propane camp stove. Water boils in a bit over a minute.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Sunbeam56 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:00 am

What worked:
Steaming hot bacon tamales served to beautiful people!
Using face paint to draw on any body part.
Cooking dinner for campmates. Especially steak, ribs, gumbo, salmon.

What didnt work:
Kitchen orientation. Guests were standing in the sun, heat source was in the wind and in the way.
Boiling water. In the wind a cup of coffee was a 20 minute project.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by chuckularone » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:44 am

How could I forget about the gumbo! Amazing, awesome, fantabulous gumbo!
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Savannah » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:31 am

Sunbeam56 wrote:What worked:
Steaming hot bacon tamales served to beautiful people!
Using face paint to draw on any body part.
Cooking dinner for campmates. Especially steak, ribs, gumbo, salmon.

What didnt work:
Kitchen orientation. Guests were standing in the sun, heat source was in the wind and in the way.
Boiling water. In the wind a cup of coffee was a 20 minute project.
I was served very hard spaghetti way back in the day by a guy who didn't realize that Time Means Nothing on the playa . . . only Tenderness. :lol:

Aye--boiling anything long enough is difficult, and takes forever.

(I ate the spaghetti anyway).
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by asr9754 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:39 am

Worked:
Tom-ka soup mix, + noodles, prepped with a can of coconut water (w/ pulp) and some fresh veggies. A+++++++++!!
Eng muffins w/ Nutella. Warm them up on the dash of the car as needed.
Emergency pizza (Pizza slices in a tupperware in the cooler).
Pedialyte before bed, dear god I can't believe we give this to children. Magic.
Canned dolmas from Trader J
Saving condiment packets all year and using them up at Bman. Mayo, relish, hot sauce, mustard, soy sauce, wasabi, parmesan cheese, all of them got used up and made the meals feel more special.
Wet-wipes with freshwater sprayer to rinse dishes. No waste-water!

Didn't work:
Bag of oranges--got moldy quick. Need to open the bag up and let them breathe.
Hard-boiled eggs after day 5. Eat them early in the week or they get stinky.
Campmates draining bacon grease into trash bin.
Peeling boiled eggs while walking around camp. Moopy shells everywhere.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by AntiM » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:08 pm

We brought tamales from the tamale guy who comes by the house on Fridays, frozen and vac sealed. Topped with cheese then heated up in our little oven. A nice treat.

Made fewer sweet rolls and cookies than usual.

Larry's sodium special, "natural select" hot dogs on chicken chili, topped with cheese and biscuits.

Surprisingly, Gogurts. And Laughing Cow cheese wedges on granola bars.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Jovankat » Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:43 pm

Worked
- Hot sealing pre cooked meals in take away containers, freezing them and then reheating for dinner. We ate things like beef stew, pesto turkey, spaghetti, and beef stroganoff for dinner with minimum on playa effort.
- Mountain House freeze dried meals for when we needed a real meal but couldn't be bothered to do more than boil water. These were great for dinner when we first arrived on playa and hadn't quite set up yet and when we'd been out all night and needed sustenance NOW when we got back to camp at sunrise.
- Freeze dried ice cream. I don't know if it was because we'd been out all night and I'd been hungry since about 2 am but this was AMAZING.
- Chocolate pudding, a cup of diced peaches and chia seeds for breakfast. It looked disgusting but it tasted great.
- Juice boxes of iced tea. So good.
- Boiling hot dogs, chopping and frying onions and having a selection of condiments (apparently, I missed this because of the meet and greet)
- Shelf stable breakfast protein shakes, American Boyfriend had one most mornings.

Didn't work
-American Boyfriend and I cooking 7 meals for 36 people in the last week before we left for the desert. Well it did work, quite well, and everyone was very appreciative, but it took waaay too much effort.
- The instant just add water Kraft mac n cheese cups that are supposed to go in the microwave. No just adding boiling water and letting them stand for the 3 minutes does not work the same as putting them in the microwave. Worst mac n cheese EVAR!
- Not thinking ahead and making sure the things needed to make dinner upon arrival were easy to get to and didn't require us to unpack most of the truck before we could eat.
- The judgment of whoever chopped the onions on how many were needed. We had left overs that were put in a ziplock bag in the cooler. They made the cooler stink. In future being a little more conservative on how many onions should be cut would be cool and I think all chopped onions should be cooked because the cooked stuff stinks lees whether it ends up in the cooler or the trash.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by PBT » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:49 pm

I tired to keep a mixture of "real" food that I pre-cooked and vacuum sealed, along with some "I am going nowhere near that camp stove and need sustinence. now."

What worked:
4 chicken breasts (two lemon pepper, two texmex spiced) baked, sliced, and sealed into individual vacuum sealed bags
Penne with Bolognese, Pre-cooked the pasta 75% of the way, tossed in oil and Vac-sealed, made bolognese, sealed and froze. Boiled both bags in a pot until warm.
Bean and Rice burritos- used the chicken breast, canned refried beans, precooked yellow rice, added some salsa, sour cream, and pre-shredded and frozen cheddar/jack
Clif Bars
Beef Jerkey
Sliced Salami
String Cheese
Quesadillas
Eggs/Bacon/Hashbrowns (preshredded and blanched, then frozen)
Cold Brewed coffee!!! I made a gallon of cold-brew, added simple syrup and half&half, and drank that all week. Kept in one of the coolers, it was perfect every morning- no ice needed.
Honey Roasted Peanuts that I added some extra sea-salt to

What didn't work:
The plastic tubs of ANYTHING in the cooler. The sour cream and the parmesan cheese both ended up full of water :shock: next time they go into ziplocks!
Didn't touch any of the canned soup, except for one can after we got there and I was exhausted from driving all night.
Didn't touch the tortilla chips/Potato chips, except one night that I was drunk after the Naked Bike Ride and shame ate in my tent. :oops:

Next year:
More breakfast-y things- I was oddly almost always the first one awake in camp, and it was the most likely time I'd be in the mood to actually cook something.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:45 pm

Made some chili, started with fresh sauteed garlic and onions...THAT worked, the smell and taste was amazing. Pre-chopping them would work even better.

Canned Vege-burger is actually not bad. With spices, it's hard to tell the difference from cooked ground beef. I don't normally go for vegetarian substitutes, but it was a great alternative to raw meat.

While stuck in the mud on Gate Road on Monday, we were almost done with the whole thing around 1pm. Wait a minute...haven't had a real meal in two days. Dug into the trailer and pulled out a folding table, camp stove, and our food bins. Sizzled some canned chicken breast chunks, added a package of Japanese prepared apple curry and some cooked rice. Toasted some pita bread and served together...that was amazing and gave us the energy to keep going.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by xdwingdx » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:36 pm

Worked:
Zip Locking everything in the cooler. you cannot trust packaging.

Also, we made a bunch of fettuccine alfredo at home. Keeping the pasta noodles somewhat firm. then we just scooped some onto a hot pan and we had delicious cheesy pasta. will certainly do it again...

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by voiceinthedarkness » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:48 pm

Freeze and vacuum seal everything - prepared foods, bread, buns, everything. Keep ice in 1 gallon ziploc bags until sufficient space for cut one-gallon jugs (From water supply). Save ice melt for showers, use ziploc ice for drinks. Five coolers, 12 days in the dust, less than a quart of melt in the bottom of all coolers combined. One cooler was the meat locker, one was the veggie locker, one for bread, the other two for everything else. Consolidate as food is consumed, dump in beer. Follow the meal plan (When you find it, that is), gift hearty meals to anyone who comes by. Dehydrated hashbrowns from Costco - most excellent. Pre-cook bacon, sausage, brats, breakfast burritos, everything possible.
BBQ grill turned out to be one of the best investments, as it doubled as an oven for baking things like biscuits and was outstanding for heating every prepared meal I made. Worked most excellent for the 15 pounds of prime rib Drew brought over, too.
Cook everything possible on/in foil, clean-up = crumbling it and dumping in the recycle bin. Serve on paper plates with wooden flatware, clean up = dumping it in the burn bag. The only regular clean up was cooking/serving utensils, the pot to boil water for tortellini/ravioli, and the frying pan for eggs and hashbrowns in the morning.
Divide up total meals into smaller portions (Suitable for 2-3 people) so if everybody doesn't want to get up at the same time, they can still cook/eat. Cuts frustration down immeasurably.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Drawingablank » Mon Sep 15, 2014 7:20 pm

voiceinthedarkness wrote:Freeze and vacuum seal everything - prepared foods, bread, buns, everything. Keep ice in 1 gallon ziploc bags until sufficient space for cut one-gallon jugs (From water supply). Save ice melt for showers, use ziploc ice for drinks. Five coolers, 12 days in the dust, less than a quart of melt in the bottom of all coolers combined. One cooler was the meat locker, one was the veggie locker, one for bread, the other two for everything else. Consolidate as food is consumed, dump in beer. Follow the meal plan (When you find it, that is), gift hearty meals to anyone who comes by. Dehydrated hashbrowns from Costco - most excellent. Pre-cook bacon, sausage, brats, breakfast burritos, everything possible.
BBQ grill turned out to be one of the best investments, as it doubled as an oven for baking things like biscuits and was outstanding for heating every prepared meal I made. Worked most excellent for the 15 pounds of prime rib Drew brought over, too.
Cook everything possible on/in foil, clean-up = crumbling it and dumping in the recycle bin. Serve on paper plates with wooden flatware, clean up = dumping it in the burn bag. The only regular clean up was cooking/serving utensils, the pot to boil water for tortellini/ravioli, and the frying pan for eggs and hashbrowns in the morning.
Divide up total meals into smaller portions (Suitable for 2-3 people) so if everybody doesn't want to get up at the same time, they can still cook/eat. Cuts frustration down immeasurably.
I have to say this worked extremely well - in fact I never even got around to opening any of the food I brought aside from pickles thanks to VITD. Of course it sorta requires that you are driving as the logistics of flying in with so much vacu sealed food would be nearly impossible.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by voiceinthedarkness » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:56 am

Thanks, BrandX, aka Drawing a Blank. It was my pleasure.

One other minor thing that had major usefulness - design core meals as vegetarian, meat on the side. Several vegetarians were elated they could eat my meals without the slutty, shameless pleasure that is bacon.

Pity them for they know not what they do.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Dr. Pyro » Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:04 am

voiceinthedarkness wrote: the slutty, shameless pleasure that is bacon.
I for one happen to be a big fan of slutty, shameless pleasures.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:11 pm

Takes one to know one???
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Zealous » Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:17 pm

What worked: 1-pot meals! chili, ramen, stroganoff, curries (some with a pot of rice on the side) were a fantastic way to feed 30 hungry campmates at once. Ingredients could be bought in bulk and nothing but the meat and some veggies needed refrigeration.

What didn't: grilled cheese, bacon (without a proper griddle), other such individually portioned meals - due to our camp size, meals took forever to serve when sandwiches could only be grilled 3 at a time.

Jovankat, next time shove a couple slices of bread in with those chopped onions in the ziploc bag - they'll absorb all the onion smell and keep the rest of your cooler odor-free!

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Sic Pup » Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:47 pm

This year I pared things down a bit, my stay was shorter (5 days) and my appetite greatly diminished from past trips.

For some reason I had little desire for the 6 eggs I brought. I had one breakfast of scrambled egg, cheddar and bacon wrap and I literally had to force myself to finish it, That was also the only tortilla I ate. Even the bacon didn't have the appeal this year. I eliminated the pasta totally. I ended up giving away a couple of omelets and some quesadillas on my last day. I also never cracked open the Cheese-in-a-can, the meat in the packet, three beers of the six pack nor the three bottles of wine I brought. The fried rice that I so enjoyed last time really was crappy, the chicken was grizzly and frankly without the soy and/or amino acid it pretty much sucked.

That leads me to my one big mistake, last time I had condiments, packets of soy sauce from Chinese take-out, catsup I picked up along the road trip and packets of butter from the casino buffet. I completely forgot about them and paid for it. I even forgot to pick up the hot sauce in Savemart.

Again my staples were cheeses(and crackers), peanut butter(and crackers), and mashed potatoes (no crackers). That was supplemented with a one off of crusty roast beef hash (canned), chili no beans, and tuna.

Again, I picked up the cheeses at WF because I've yet to find another source in Reno, I like sharp and tangy and the aged Italian provolone, the reserve robusta gouda and the Seaside cheddar all provided variations of dancing on my taste buds. I never tired of them. PB and crackers were my go to breakfast, although one morning I had Parmesan mashed potatoes that were great. This time I did the mashed with simply boiled water, didn't miss the milk I had last trip.

The one thing I found myself craving was sweets, I had the fireball and a 4 pack of butterscotch pudding that were good while they lasted but I craved the iced chocolate I usually treat myself to at the end of the week as well as the chocolate pudding.

My food cooler (5 day?) did just great with the block I bought at Savemart on Sunday, supplemented with another block from Arcadia on Wednesday.

Again I had too much water.

I'm seriously thinking of flying next year, doing away with the two large coolers and just going with a small cooler for the few things I prefer cold (neither the cheese nor puddings "need" refrigeration). I'm just not sure I trust BE yet.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Ratty » Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:32 am

Sicpup, Skippys chocolate PB was a great desert/meal on vanilla wafers. No refrigeration necessary and ready when you are.
Pkgs of pepperoni from the dollar store, cans of sardines and aerosol cheez was also an easy meal.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by TT120 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:15 am

My appetite went screwy this year and all I wanted to eat was cold food like sandwiches and sardines and kippered snacks with crackers. Last year I craved hot food. Luckily, I live close enough that I was able to bring a wide variety of food and could look in my food bin and choose what I wanted to eat. I ended up bringing way too much food but it worked out well for me.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by littleflower » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:44 pm

A few things worked very well for this non-playa cook this year:

I love fresh veggies. just before I left Friday I raided my garden of kale and cucumbers and carrots and such, put them in a small, tight-lidded plastic tub, and added a little jar with a few tablespoons of vinegar sprinkled with baking soda, with cheesecloth on top rubber-banded on top. I am no chemist but that reaction apparently lets off a gas that helps keep the veggies fresh .... and it worked pretty well, as I was still eating the kale after 1 week. tomatoes were just kept outside, they ripened during the week so I always had them, which was great. I also brought some burrata cheese and basil oil, to make a caprese .... yum!

pies .... I pre-made the crusts, froze them in the pie-pans, and put them on dry-ice for the trip, then into a friend's freezer on playa. I pre-made cherry filling, and made apple filling there, as it doesn't need to be pre-cooked. both came out great! I hope to make more next year.

apples, cheese, crackers, hard-boiled eggs, granola, cooked and frozen meats, cooked and frozen quinoa all worked.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by dragonpilot » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:03 pm

All this talk of good food on the playa...I dunno...kinda like Turn Key Camps...If you're not subsisting on granola bars and plain water all week, you're not getting the full-on Burning Man experience.

*goes back to grilling tri tips and lobster tips....after pouring a glass of Pinot Noir*
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by spacetime » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:34 pm

Topping this because the thread contains good info on food packing for first timers.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by danibel » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:45 pm

I just reread this whole thread looking for ideas. Thanks all! My camp usually makes dinners till Saturday but since we are such a small crew this year, it's every one for themselves. I don't want to be stuck eating granola bars and cheerios all week. Going to focus on quick and easy, snack foods. Maybe one big meal a day.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Sic Pup » Wed Sep 09, 2015 6:04 pm

Continuing the bell curve, this year I deliberately pared down in an effort to limit the amount of crap I lug from one end of the country to the other (solo camper). I left behind the camping stove, the pots and pans, and, inadvertently, the utensils which led me to use my pocketknife (and when that broke, -the knife on my multi-tool). When the light bulb went on on my long trip I had the foresight to pick up a few plastic spoons along the way. After the vehicle was packed, and seeing how much room I had I threw in one of the two coolers I usually bring.

Again my mainstay was cheese, again the cave-aged provolone, again the Catamount Hills, which I augmented with a tangy buttermilk blue (mmmm hit the spot) and a smoky gouda (which I broke the pocket knife on). In retrospect I ought not to have put back the Seaside cheddar before check-out as by Thursday I was rationing my meager larder to stretch it until Sunday.

I also had a box of crackers, an EZ cheese (note not listed with the "cheeses"), 4 individual rice puddings (really hit the spot for breakfast), 4 butterscotch puddings, 4 lemon puddings, a jar of peanut butter, a chocolate bar, a six pack of soda, a bag of chips, 2 apples, 2 pears and a lb of grapes. The cheese and fruit were great together along with the three buck chucks (even poetic license isn't enough for me to use the word "paired" .....he he). The awesome couple of birgin lovelies who I was fortunate to have as neighbors (again, I love setting up on a near empty stretch of street and seeing what neighbors move in - always a surprise and almost always a pleasant one) were so kind as to reward my efforts in helping them setup by leaving in my camp the plumpest, juiciest peach I've ever had in my life - it was the essence of peach and led to a most sensuous experience. Oh, I also had some edibles obtained at a pit stop in CO but that's sort of the antithesis of food. I also had a roast beef sandwich to nosh on for the painlessly short wait before gate at opening.

Come Sunday morning, after tear down, I was left with a sleeve of crackers some barely scrapeable peanut butter and (2) 2.5 gal of water (one of which one of my other neighbors must have thought they were doing me a favor by leaving it in my camp when they left - gee thanks), Because I didn't have the second cooler I didn't have the nearly untouched beer I traditionally would use to "put the drunk in DPW" and didn't see the point in giving them a sleeve of crackers and some water (more accurately, wasn't up for the abuse it might elicit).

So I barely eeked it out but I didn't want for anything and actually felt good about cutting it so close.

That said, I had to stop at Oasis 29 for the requisite Indian taco and because I only get west of Chicago but once a year these days drove into Sparks for an In-N-Out even though I was ultimately heading east.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by skippy3k » Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:38 am

In the throes of last minute of packing, I threw in some dehydrated food for whatever reason. We arrived on Saturday and immediately the winds hit us, causing us to take refuge crammed into the front of the cargo trailer, hungry and tired. We would basically have to unpack the entire trailer (including the art car we hauled from Colorado) in order to get to our kitchen stuff. That's when I realized I had the dehydrated meals. We fired up the JetBoil and had a delightful meal of spaghetti. A couple of dehydrated meals will always accompany me to future Burning Mans from now on.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:06 pm

We have the First Mate in our camp, so we eat better than most do back at home.
But still, my longtime absolute favorite playa food is top ramen with spaghetti sauce and hamburger in it.
You can precook it at home if you want.
Its what I crave out there, and it's fast easy and satisfying.
And if you bring a microwave (I think it's crazy not to!) it's super fast and easy to prep.
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Bemerritt » Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:20 pm

Pre-cooked, vacuum sealed chicken/carnitas mixed with curry sauce and frozen veggies from trader joes. Add in some 10 minute rice cooked in the jet boil and we were eating like kings.

Felt like cheating having a freezer and fridge out there, but it sure was worth it not having to deal with coolers of food. Solar panels kept it running all week.

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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 10, 2015 4:51 pm

I brought too much, as usual (even after paring back from last year). By example; brought 7 Tasty Bites packs, ate two. Made a giant vat of chili and fed our camp with spicy meaty goodness, and hoped that would empty my food stores to a manageable level. However, campmates repaid my efforts by also making giant meals to stuff me with fresh salads, salmon, bbq ribs, and chicken drumsticks. I did eat better last week than most default weeks. Made a respectable dent in the liquid stockpiles. Aeropress coffee was a good decision...bring Fireball next year to spice it up on the cold nights. Had a range of dry snacks and candies to take exploring, but the biggest hit was cheez-its (white cheddar).

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:00 pm

Oh - biggest new "What Worked" was a Keurig K-cup coffee maker!
That was awesome on the playa. Next time, there will be one on the Land Yacht too.
Hot coffee would have been priceless on those fucking cold nights.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

maladroit
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Re: Food/Drink: What worked - what didnt

Post by maladroit » Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:02 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Hot coffee would have been priceless on those fucking cold nights.
I had a thermos of good hot coffee on our art car and it was definitely priceless.

Some night when you're letting an apprentice seaman get some piloting experience, try adding Fireball :)

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