In moving our office to a new part of the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, we have uncovered some really cool Outward Bound literature from the past. I now have, on my bookshelf, the Columbine Cookbook from the Colorado Outward Bound School (now known as Rocky Mountain Outward Bound School). I don’t know exactly when it was published, but it looks like it’s from the 70’s or 80’s. (There’s a clue below about when this was published, since this cookbook seems to suggest that women are still doing all the cooking!) In any case, I’m sure our outdoor instructors and students will still be cooking up some of these classics in the field this summer.
For our introduction to this series of posts, we will start with “Principles of the Gourmand,” straight from the pages of the Columbine Cookbook. Hope this helps get you off to a good start on your own summer outdoor adventures and cooking in backcountry!
Principles of the Gourmand
- Make an effort to simplify the number of ingredients and your dishes will be more palatable.
- When cooking, remember the basic principle of democracy, which is to maximize people’s freedom. Let others salt and pepper their individual portions.
- Take responsibility for the food you prepare. Have only one or two people working on a dish. (“Too many cooks…”)
- In the mountains it is easy not to cook food long enough. HAVE PATIENCE. It will taste better when cooked the proper amount of time.
- Be creative. Use the spice kit, try unusual combinations, build from scratch. GO FOR IT!!!
- Use a lid on the cooking pot. Food will cook faster, conserving both fuel and your patience.
- Always be willing to cook! If you want to have a good course, you need to eat well. Besides, someday soon women are going to stop cooking for men.
- Two things cannot be cured: burnt food and over-spiced food. So cook over low flames and add spices gradually.
Hope this gives you some fun ideas for your own cooking adventures in the backcountry. And, no matter when this cookbook was published, much of the advice still rings true and the recipes don’t get old! Stay tuned for more from our Columbine Cookbook series and our first recipe featured soon.