Photo Courtesy Dominika Roseclay

The amount of fun I have on a vacation is directly related to how delicious the food is. So you can see why camping was for a long time unattractive to me: I wasn’t eager to spend my holiday eating re-hydrated mac ‘n’ cheese. But after living in the Pacific Northwest for years, I decided it was time. However, if my family and I were doing this, we weren’t going to be eating burnt hot dogs all weekend, that was for sure. After reading every single camping cookbook Multnomah County Library owns, these six cookbooks below are the best—perfect for everyone who wants to feast in the great outdoors, without sacrificing anything. 

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The Campout Cookbook, by local authors Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson, is my favorite of the bunch. The book itself is beautiful, with clever commentary and fun illustrations (but no actual photos of the prepared food, so be warned if that’s your jam). This one is for car campers, as many recipes rely on a dutch oven, cast iron skillet, and a packed cooler. Some recipes are challenging (hello, homemade strawberry marshmallows) and some are easy enough for the kids to prepare (skillet nachos, anyone?). If you only buy one book in the list, this is the one I would recommend. It’s dedicated to “survivalists with standards,” perfect for any local foodie who loves the great outdoors. 

Never camped before? I scored The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids from my local Buy Nothing group, and it was the perfect introduction for someone who thought “moleskin” was a notebook and had no idea what a charcoal chimney was. If that’s you, check it out!

Another great cookbook for the camping foodie, Dirty Gourmet ticks all the boxes. Are you backpacking? Lightweight recipes that can be lugged to the backcountry await. Car camping? Whip out that dutch oven for the sticky buns. Hiking for the day and want to eat well while you trek? There are plenty of amazing snacks and meals that you can eat straight from your backpack. 

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Think you can’t have craft cocktails in the wilderness? Think again. Emily Vikre of Vikre Distillery, located in Duluth, Minnesota, will walk you through every step in Camp Cocktails, no previous mixology skills required. 

Campfire Cuisine surprised me. With its very minimal illustrations and slight size, I admit it sat on my shelf a long time before I cracked it open. That’s when I realized I’d been missing Skillet Scones with Orange-Honey Butter and Chicken Skewers with Spicy Peanut Sauce and so many more. This one is a welcome addition to your campout library. 

Camp Sunset: A Modern Camper’s Guide to the Great Outdoors is both cookbook and instruction manual. This is another great guide for camping novices. It covers the basics of camping in different climates and includes packing lists so you don’t find yourself pitching a tent in the dark with no headlamp. 

Check out one or all of these fabulous books, and you’ll have everything you need to eat well in the wilderness. Happy camping! 

Meg Asby
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