Can It!

Camping food typically evokes images of hot dogs, beans, and s’mores smothered in campfire smoke and char. And although I’ll admit I do like a little smoke and char now and again, I’m afraid the camping menu is in need of a expansion. So along my merry camping way, I have discovered that you can indeed bring a little Jean-Georges to your Johnnycakes. Aside from delicious crêpes with Camembert, I’ve found these tasty treats to be perfect camping companions. (Just don’t forget your can opener.)

Sally Sells Sealed Seashells

I usually like my seafood by the seaside, but with these delicacies, the best of the sea can come to me, from Yosemite to The Mojave. The mussels in marinade are plump with just a touch of tang; the octopus in oil needs only a dash of pepper; and the cockles in brine will leave the salt of the sea on your lips.

The Big Atún

I would certainly be remiss if I did not include the famous Spanish canned tuna, but be forewarned that it could break the bank (not to mention that it will forever ruin any memories of Mom’s tuna salad). You may have to forego a hotel room to afford this treat, but it’s worth the splurge.

If you are seeking a somewhat less expensive, more campfire-quality fare, go for canned smoked trout in oil. Layer the trout on slices of avocado and some plain ‘ol crackers. You’ll soon have yourself a cocktail party around the campfire.

Canned Cuisine

A French colleague of my husband’s once catered to his craving of cassoulet by surprising him with cassoulet in a can. Yes that’s right, it’s a one-can meal. One wintery night, we opened it up, poured it in a pan, and popped it in the oven. The beans were creamy, the duck small, but sufficiently rich in taste, and the Toulouse sausages surprisingly good. (Kudos to the French for bringing the entire range of canned cuisine up a notch). Though this is by no means a replacement for traditional cassoulet, it certainly elevates franks and beans. Just make room in your pack for a Bordeaux.

It’s Just Wine In a Box!

Speaking of which…what will you wash it all down with? In the past, boxed wines have been pretty limited, especially in terms of quality, but there are, in fact, more choices for the mobile oenophile these days. Owing to innovation (and clever marketing), we now have a variety of wines and a variety of packages to stuff in our duffle. Add a cabernet in a pouch, an award-winning boxed Bordeaux (for that cassoulet), or a canned cuvée blanc to your camping gear list.

So light a fire, crack open a can, and toast to dining off the grid.