Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Let's go on Vacation! Part 2: The Menu

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures of any of this part of the trip, mostly because I was busy cooking and, then, eating the food. It just didn't occur to me to tell someone to grab the camera and take any pictures, especially since I'm generally the guy taking the pictures. Maybe next time though.

What to eat on a vacation is always a big deal. Okay, so it may not really be that big a deal to most people. Most people eat out all of the time anyway, so eating out while on vacation is rather expected. However, we don't eat out all that often. We don't even eat out once a week. Even counting pizza, I don't think we eat out more than a couple of times a month. Of course, camping isn't exactly about eating out, but we also didn't want to spend a week eating cheap, crappy hot dogs and stuff. Besides, hot dogs cost more than, well, all but the expensive cuts of steak.

Don't believe me? Go check it out. Generally speaking, at least at Safeway, hot dogs run about $5.00/pound. In my mind, that's freaking insane. Chicken doesn't cost that much. Pork almost never costs more than that, and, just this week, I got some really nice New York strip steaks for $4.99/pound. Why would I even consider paying that kind of price for hot dogs when I can buy steak instead. By the way, lunch meat is the same way (even bologna), which I can (kind of) understand but not really. It just goes to show what we're willing to pay for convenience.

I suppose my family is not very convenient. Actually, I know this to be true.

In the end, camping food ended up being very much like home food. That was the decision, at any rate. But let me put this into context: this was a camping trip with the in-laws (my wife's father and step-mother), and  they were rather difficult to pin down about how the whole eating thing was going to happen. Let me put this into more context: for years, they have taken my kids camping once or twice a year. When they go camping, they've always done the typical thing: eat lots of hot dogs and s'mores; they weren't really prepared for how we were planning to eat, and, I think, because we (my wife and I (really just me)) aren't into the whole camping thing, they figured we wouldn't know what to do when we got up there. However, having a stove, a real stove, to cook on is one of the reasons I wanted a cabin. A stove and a bed, see. So they brought lots of hot dogs. And bacon. And marshmallows.

We brought real food.

Needless to say, they ended up eating with us for most meals. Most means all of the dinners and about half of the breakfasts (we didn't really "do" lunch (there was never any need, because breakfast was so big and good no one would be hungry until around 4-5:00 anyway)).

 By this point, I bet you're wondering what, exactly, we had for our dinners. Well, let me tell you!
Tuesday: rib eye steak, salad, bread
Wednesday: pork fajitas w/ sauce that we made, homemade ice cream (pineapple coconut)
Thursday: spaghetti, garlic bread (there was supposed to be salad, but, um, the refrigerator kind of froze it, so there wasn't much left worth eating (I did give it my best shot, though, but I just couldn't do it))
Friday: grilled salmon, salmon mac (mac 'n' cheese with salmon mixed in), kale chips (one of my favorite things! (it's something I make from fresh kale, not something we buy)) [and my father-in-law provided grilled chicken]
Saturday: hamburgers (I make the best hamburgers. Seriously. We kind of can't go out for burgers anymore because of it.), homemade buns (and my wife makes the best hamburger buns (we also make pretty much all of our own bread (except sourdough)), yam fries

Those were our evening meals. The in-laws were astounded. They decided that camping is better the way I do it. And it was nice to be cooking for people that appreciated my cooking (as opposed to complaining about it (as my kids do (because they still think sugar and carbs are the best things in the world))).

In no particular order, the breakfasts were
ham and cheese grits (the in-laws had never had grits before, so this was a new experience and, unless they were lying (and I'm pretty sure they weren't), they really liked them -- grits, good grits, are not the easiest thing in the world to make)
blueberry pancakes (homemade with fresh blueberries, of course (my wife doesn't like pancakes, but she loved these))
biscuits and sausage gravy (my favoritist breakfast in the world! (when it's done right))
French toast (my kids' favoritist breakfast and made with homemade bread (it's awesome))
All of these were accompanied by scrambled eggs and bacon (except the French toast, which just had bacon, because it's already covered in eggs). The last morning was just scrambled eggs and bacon as we were trying to take as little back with us as possible. We succeeded in eating all bacon, but we had to tote eggs home again.

All of that and there were 'smores basically every night. That made my daughter, especially, extremely happy.

So there you go... who wants to go camping with me next year?


  1. Sounds like you all are eating pretty well. I know what you're saying about the hot dogs and lunch meat. It's cheaper to get $5 foot longs at Subway than to buy the ingredients to make your own.

    We're on vacation, but not camping. Been eating in a lot of restaurants. Tonight my son-in-law is supposed to be fixing spaghetti at home.

    With the meals you're fixing I'll gladly stop by the campsite for dinner, but I'm afraid I'd want to go back to my hotel to sleep at night.

    Wrote By Rote

  2. Well, I'd go. Great menu for the week. I'm a big fan of food, and aside from the Sam and Mac - I'd probably put most of what you mentioned in any top 10 list of cook at home food.

  3. Lee: Well, we rented a cabin, so there were real beds and stuff. It was nice.

    Michael: It was!

    Rusty: Have you ever had salmon mac? Hmm... Food is good.

    And, um, wow... what happened to my comments this week?

  4. Just reading about the food made me hungry. Whats for dinner? Just kidding. We haven't been camping for many years and when we did, there were at times a total of 12 ppl crazy- who always seemed to disappear at the worst times, like cooking and cleaning up the camp site. :/

  5. Well, I'll come by for s'mores every night...

  6. GG: Well, last night we had steak fajitas. Yum...
    Isn't it amazing how people vanish when it's time to do the clean up.

    M.J.: Bah, the s'mores were my least favorite part.