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What's Cookin'?

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Hey, Camping Cooks!

Food is an essential part of everyday living and that doesn’t change when you’re camping out in the great outdoors! Like the history of summer camp itself, cookware history calls back to primitive roots that turned domestic. So, before there were pots and pans—much less stovetops or ovens—how did people cook their food? Let’s dive into the past to see how things got started!

Long before anyone ever heard of a place such as the kitchen, cooking was done outside the way it’s done when we’re out on a camping expedition: right over a good ol’ campfire. Boiling water was just as essential of a process back then as it is now. And some extremely resourceful minds realized that turtle shells were a perfect waterproof cooking pot.

Of course, while turtle shells got the job done just fine, turtles weren’t always handy. Stones, on the other hand, are plentiful. Instead, people would carve out from large stones to create big bowls that would become permanent fixtures in the hearths of early homesteads.

Stone worked well for cooking, but it took lots of time and work to fashion bowls out of rock. A much simpler option called pottery was on the rise. Pottery, made from the clay of the earth, was developed to create earthen cookware. Ceramic pots were easy to transport and much easier to fashion than its stone predecessor.

Ceramic cookware still had its drawbacks, though. It was a poor conductor of heat and would crack in too high of temperatures. This led to long cook times over a low degree of heat. Yet, this was the primary means of cooking until the 1600s when metalworking skills were developed and introduced to the kitchen scene of medieval days.

Though extremely heavy, cast-iron is hailed as one of the best materials to cook with (even today). It does not, however, lend itself well to the camp life. More modern developments in cookware have produced much more camp-friendly means of cooking materials.

The Bugaboo Mess Kit from GSI Outdoors, for instance—and available here at Everything Summer Camp—is made of non-stick coated aluminum for a lightweight, efficient means of cooking! Enjoy our modern means of cooking over an open fire and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John


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