To me, Yo-to-Go Smoothies and Horizon choc milk steri-paks are indispensible. Same with oatmeal and hot cocoa mix: they come in paper envelopes so MOOP isn't much of an issue with those as with the steri-paks.
I bring meat, Antarctic winter-frozen, but I endeavour to bring as much lean, boneless as I can. Meat this year will be turkey legs, SAUSAGE IS THE NEW BACON!, and maybe steak and some chicken for quesadillas. Brought some Omaha Steaks last year and they were wonderful. I've done the elaborate camp kitchen deal in the past and it's out of my blood now, so my camp kitchen is pared down, lean, mean, and still kicks ass.
We've had good results with potatoes in the past but their prep tends to create greywater, so I'm opting out of that as a starch and bringing apples, rice and couscous for my complex carbs this year. We've also had excellent results with peaches, honeydew melon (the ORG minions are wrong, melons do indeed get eaten out there), strawberries, grapes, peppers and oranges. Yes, bring oranges. They are wonderful and you can use the peels to give your shelter a nice orange potpourri scent, or to rub on your feet to cut the Playa.
You can also do that with limes. A cool lime wedge rubbed on your poor Playa-dusted soles and tootsies during Sunstorm in your shade pavilion is next to heavenly. Bring a bag of limes for cocktails, and another for your feet and face. Citrus zest mixed into your pancake batter is a nice zingy touch.
Omelettes are very good. You can put anything in them.
Cheese is another favourite. Quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches of your own (Bianca's is dearly missed), over salads, over chili, on grillburgers, in an omelette. If you want to deal with the greywater and make pasta, parmesan is de rigeur and it keeps nicely. Melted brie with apple slices and crackers is a wonderful munchly treat for those up-late-chatting-with-campmates-and/or-neighbours sessions.
Pizza can be grilled! Did you know that? And grilled pizza is very good.
Tortillas â€” IMO, shouldn't be bought, bring the flour and water and butter and make them fresh. Thirty minutes from ingredients measured to being digested and they can be used as plates and/or utensils. No cleanup.
If you get your grill hot enough, like flames licking up the sides from underneath, you can even make naan, the Indian flatbread made with yoghurt. It takes a little longer than tortillas because it's yeasted, but boy is it a hit.
Coleman makes ovens that sit on top of their burners so you can do hearth loaf bread if you have one of those. Tip: go to Home Depot, get a small field tile (6") and place that on the oven's rack. Let it heat up along with the oven and load your bread on the tile, chased with a squirt of DRINKING water for steam. Et le voilÃ â€” steam-baked, oven-sprung breadbowl.
I'm mostly concentrating on soup and oatmeal for my dinners and breakfasts this year. I got a slow cooker so I'm making one or two batches of soup a month and freezing them in Ziplocs.
It sounds awful but I like frogmore stew. No frog meat in it, don't know why it's called that, but it's serious yummy. Cut-up sausage, shrimp and corn. I like to spice it up with red peppers, but then again I'm a big peppers fan.
Perennial kitchen equipment:
â€¢ Gas stove, of course. Make sure it works before packing it, give it a test run. That works fine for up to five people, but if you have more you should probably spring the $100 for one of those big standup propane cookers with the iron grilles.
â€¢ Wok, naturally,
â€¢ Turkey deep fryer. Can be used to fry a turkey, or filled with soup, stew or chili if you're feeding twenty or more people. Can also be used for pasta if you want to deal with 3 gallons of salty, dusty greywater after dinner.
â€¢ Dutch oven, of whatever size.
â€¢ Cutting board for meat,
â€¢ Cutting board for onions/garlic,
â€¢ Cutting board for everything else,
â€¢ Bowls, preferably plastic or copper if you have them. They recently found out that copper does a better job of killing microbes than stainless steel surfaces so scramble your eggs in a copper bowl and saw goodbye to salmonella,
â€¢ Chef's knife, pasta server, spatula, tongs, carving knife, bench scraper,
Last year I found a wonderful piece of equipment at the Sportsman's Guide, they called it a tri-level dutch oven but it's really a combination hibachi and potbellied stove. Did most of my dinners on that. It's a little bit of a learning curve because it's a basic implement, but the results rocked.
Okay, I have a candlelight vigil to get ready for, I'm going to stop here before I go off!