Monday, July 03, 2006

The Leave No Crumbs Camping Cookbook - Rick Greenspan & Hal Kahn

The Basics: The Leave No Crumbs Camping Cookbook: 150 Delightful, Delicious, and Darn-Near Foolproof Recipes from Two Top Wilderness Chefs, Rick Greenspan and Hal Kahn, 2004, 232 pages, paperback

How I found it: It was recommended to me by a MEC employee at a member seminar on back-country cooking.

What's it about?: This book is both a recipe book and a book about how to be a chef in the back country. It will give you ideas and recipes to help you move beyond pre-packaged freeze-dried cardboard tasting backpackers food or the standard spaghetti with pesto. The book draws heavily on the use of a dehydrator and lots of at-home prep, which will appeal to the ultra-liters but also has some recipes for canoe-trippers or car-campers willing to carry more and spend more time cooking.

Did I like it?: I loved this book. I got a copy from the library but I loved it so much that I have ordered my own from Chapters. The recipes all seemed yummy (unlike a lot of the more traditional backpacking cooking books where the recipes seem too healthy - I don't want brown rice in the backcountry - I want restaurant-type food!). As well there were lots of ethnic dishes to tempt me including recipes for backcountry sushi (it involves dehydrating and rehydrating the fillings), pad thai, Chinese dumplings, matzo balls and chala bread you bake in your camping pot. The book is also hilarious! The two guys who wrote it have an awesome sense of humour and I actually laughed aloud at some of their tips and jokes. (I do have to offer a slight disclaimer though: I haven't actually cooked anything from this book yet - haven't had time. But from reading over the ingredient lists and instructions, it looks pretty foolproof and mighty tasty. I promise to come back and edit this review if the recipes suck but I really doubt I'll have to.)

Will you like it?: If you backpack and own a dehydrator you will be in heaven with this book. Even if you don't own a dehydrator you will still be excited to own this book. Anyone who is serious about eating something tasty at the end of a long day on the trail should own this book as it will help you avoid the pasta and pasta and more pasta backpackers rut. (Did I stress how much I love this book?)

But don't take my word for it: Reader reviewers on loved it, an article from Stanford Magazine (where Greenspan is an alumnus).

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