Bear's Cookbook: Cooking Made Easy - I Could Use Your Help.

Discussion in 'Camp Cooking & Dutch Ovens' started by Bear, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    For the challenged and less than enthusiastic chef.

    Howdy America!

    I’m reaching out to you with an assignment, if you’re up for the challenge. Actually, it is more like a call for help. Five days ago, Jenn and I were discussing menus and discovered that both of us had been entertaining the idea of starting a new thread on the forum in hopes the feedback would expand our options. As the result of her encouragement, I’m going to set before you a challenge with some strict criteria---mine, not hers---for participation. The restrictions on ingredients are not intended to turn people away, but to save them time and energy. No sense in adding recipes if there are ingredients in place that I won’t consume.

    My challenge in life: I don’t like food in general. Period. I get very little satisfaction from a well prepared meal. I eat for subsistence and not for enjoyment. If the body could do without it, I wouldn’t eat the one meal a day I take in now.

    Now let’s move on to the criteria for participation.

    Criteria #1: No meal can take longer to prepare than it does to eat. Cooking times that are too grand will never see the light of day in my kitchen again. Meals do not include leftovers. I cook for one and rarely for two.

    Kitchen is equipped with tools for backpacking---not experienced chefs. The one exception is a cast iron skillet; otherwise food is cooked in stainless steel cups, not pots and pans. I can certainly expand the tool collection in the kitchen if the recipe is worth it.

    Criteria #2: No meal, including prep time, can take longer than preparing egg salad, which includes: eggs, mayo, mustard, pepper and salt.

    The time it takes for water to boil is 3-4 minutes depending on elevation. The time it takes eggs to become hard boiled is roughly 8-10 minutes depending on elevation. The time it takes to mix the ingredients is roughly 3-5 minutes depending on the day. For a combined total of: 14-19 minutes.

    Criteria #3: Clean-up cannot take longer than prep and cooking time combined.

    If the time restraints are not adhered to in #1, #2 & #3, odds are good you’re wasting your time in sharing a recipe and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I’m looking to honor skilled culinary chefs by actually putting their recipes to the test and thus expanding my horizons in the process. Maybe through your help someday the time restraints will disappear because the kitchen will have become a source of enjoyment. My fingers are crossed.

    Criteria #4: It is preferred that the ingredients be organic. Yes, the health benefits are wonderful, but I’m more interested in the fact that I’ll know what I am eating, at least in theory. Food manufacturers use layman terms in the list of ingredients for the organic products they produce.

    I ask that NONE of the following be included in the recipes (in alphabetical order): beans, foil dinners, meatloaf, peas, roast beast (beef), salmon, stews, or tuna. No additives, food coloring, nitrates, nitrites, or (other manmade) preservatives.

    Criteria #5: Most importantly you’ve prepared a meal using the recipe you’re going to share. So it is tried and true.

    So, are you up for the challenge? I hope so, because I would really like to expand my horizons in the kitchen. And I think it can be accomplished with a little help from you.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    Jenn likes this.
  2. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Hi Bear, I'm a bit of a foodie myself. I spend a good bit of time planning, executing and enjoying meals for and with my family. It is a time to bond and discuss the day's events and a fine meal facilitates this. However, if I were only eating for sustenance and not the pleasure I would consume an adult formula such as Ensure or the like. It contains the nutrients and vitamins one needs to maintain homeostasis. I'd recommend trying to take in about 1800-2000 calories daily (unless you are doing heavy exercise in which you'll need to increase caloric intake) which would be about 5 1/2-6 standard servings of "Ensure Enlive" per day . You could buy it in powder form and reconstitute it with water as needed. Each serving is about $1.29. The powdered form would save weight and space. You could also titrate the amount of powder so that you could have just 3 larger servings per day and get all the nourishment you'd need and avoid having to go through the process so often. I'm not sure it would be good health-wise to try to condense it all to just one meal daily.

    You could easily carry a whole month of food in one of the bays in the back of the teardrop. You wouldn't need to worry about heating or refrigeration of food - just enough water to mix with the formula. I think you could achieve the whole process of scooping the powder, mixing with water and consuming the meal in the time it would take to just boil the water for the egg salad. They even have 3 flavors for Ensure Enlive - chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. You could have a separate flavor for each meal of the day! If you must have organic, there are several sources for this but it appears to be several times more expensive. I hope this helps. Ben H
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    Jenn likes this.
  3. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    Ben, I envy the time you have to eat with others. To me that is the best part of any day when you can break bread with others. As a wanderer, though, it is one of those moments I truly miss.

    I appreciate the great extent that you went to in providing the information above. It is clearly out of compassion that you shared it and you have no idea how much that means to me. I am going to look into Ensure to learn more about it.

    Unless I'm mistake Mr. Ben, you have a degree in the health field. I'd be curious of your thoughts on 90 for Life that Youngevity sells. I'm not necessarily a fan of their selling technique but I do believe in the product. I've been taking if for over a year now and have seen a positive upswing in health. Between 90 for Life and Beyond Osteo-FX, I've been feeling better than I have for quite some time.

    Again, thank you, Ben, for the time and energy that you put in to share the info above. I will be looking into the product.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    Handben likes this.
  4. Randy

    Randy Ranger Donating Member

    I posted this before but I am going to do it again because these are so amazing and meet Bear's criteria. Add water, shake, cook (about a minute per side). To clean up rinse the pan and throw away the pouch. No mess, no fuss. 14 grams of protein per serving, perfectly appropriate for dinner. I like a little real butter and real maple syrup on mine. A couple of precooked turkey sausages are a good accompaniment (available in grocery stores)

    Best Backpacking Multigrain Buttermilk Hotcakes | Backpacker's Pantry
    Tour 931 likes this.
  5. Tour 931

    Tour 931 Junior Ranger

    The Coffee Chased Us Up: Monte Cristo Memories
    by Elof Norman

    This book has several recipes in it that you might like. Most are from flour, corn, or rice, with salt and bear fat added. They do not have any ingredient that makes them rise so they are quite hard and you must drink lots of water when you eat them. They are usually baked in a small cast iron pan.

    They require no mixing bowl as you just add enough salt and fat to cook them and not to make them soft. The final result is a food that has very little taste but is high in food value. It is a food that miners and surveyors used for a hundred years in the Northwest when they had to carry enough food for weeks.

    Most people can't eat them but I bet the Donner Party would have.

    Sorry I can't give you specific recipes which you asked for.
  6. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Hi Bear, You are correct about the health field. I'm a family doctor in Baltimore and treat teen agers through geriatric age (won't bore you with why I stopped seeing babies). My practice is all outpatient (no hospital or nursing homes). I will readily admit that the amount of formal nutrition education that most physicians get is embarrassingly inadequate for the task we have. Hospital nutritionists are way better trained than us with the minute details as to how to formulate the appropriate diet for an individual with specific health conditions (diabetes, malabsorption, food allergies, etc) who cannot take in food by mouth. That said, the issue comes up frequently and I do my best to sift through the available data to help my patients. I tried to look up the ingredients with 90 for Life but came up with just this:

    "Q: What are the ingredients in 90 for Life?
    A: The main ingredients in 90 for Life are different minerals, vitamins, Amino and Fatty Acids. Any information on other ingredients, such as herbs could be not be found."

    It's not really enough information on 90 for life to make an opinion. Ensure is just one of many adult formulas out there but it is one of the most commonly available and reasonably priced. I think you'll find it in most decent sized pharmacies but also your bigger grocery stores. It is the adult equivalent to infant formula which is in most of the bottles that you see mothers (mostly) feeding their babies when they are unable to breast feed. I typically recommend it for geriatric patients who are unable to maintain adequate weight through their routine meals. They usually will supplement 2 or so daily in addition to their other meals. However it could be the main source of nutrition as well. There are a lot of other options out there but the cost per day will go up considerably. Ben H
  7. Jenn

    Jenn Junior Ranger

    Handben: Ive never tried Ensure, but maybe I should. All those mixup chemical things just kind of make me gag before I even have it in the grocery cart. Your explanation helped.

    Bear: Thank you for starting this. We have had this discussion MANY times and Im interested in folks input. I will put up a longer post on this topic in a bit.

    931: I bet the Donnor Party would have been all over that cookbook. They would have been all over just having a bag of flour and a pot of bear fat.
  8. Bear

    Bear Ranger


    I'm intrigued. I don't recall ever seeing pancakes on the shelf where Backpacker's Pantry are sold. You've got my attention. Thank you.

    Thank you, Ben. I appreciate the info. I looked into Ensure at the local base commissary, yesterday. I'll be trying it out and will report back as to what I think. I appreciate the tip.


    It was long overdue and about time we started soliciting help from others and stopped talking about it amongst ourselves.
    Talking to me---about food---makes about as much sense as talking to the wall. I sure hope others will jump onboard here and provide more input.


    I'm thinking your entry is a reflection of your sense of humor. It has to be! Where in the world would I find bear fat? And why would I eat my brother? ;)


    Thank you one and all.

    Walk in Beauty,

    Jenn likes this.
  9. Tour 931

    Tour 931 Junior Ranger

    Bear fat (lard) is still available in most stores or can be substituted with vegetable oil. As bad as I've made it sound the actual meal isn't all that bad and I've made it before. No mixing bowls and no cleanup.
  10. Bear

    Bear Ranger

    931, I hope to meet your acquaintance someday and I hope you'll introduce me to this cook book of yours. ~BEAR

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