Family Camping Cookout Article in Kids Ink Magazines

54JUN13-PK.inddYou can find my article on family camping cookouts in the current online and print editions of Peterborough Kids, Lakeridge Kids, and Northumberland Kids.

You can also read it right here.

Here’s a snippet from the piece:

Many of the magical memories of family camping trips occur during mealtime. Cooking around – and sometimes over – an open fire makes everything seem more like a wilderness adventure. Kids get to take part in ways they never would at home, roasting foods on sticks, helping to create makeshift kitchens, and even foraging for some of their own ingredients.

And then there is the food itself – oftentimes made up of treats that kids never get at home. From freshly caught fish and handpicked wild berries to fireside hot dogs and smores, camp food can be an exciting part of the whole outdoor experience.

“Food just tastes better when you are camping,” says adventurous mother of two, Alix. “The fresh air and activity make the whole family hungrier. And the smell of woodsmoke adds flavours that you can never recreate at home.”

Mealtime in the bush is also a time when the whole family comes together for a shared activity. While camping often provides sensory overload, breaking for a meal can peel back some of the distraction and offer up some quiet time – which all parents can appreciate. It is the perfect warm-up for after-lunch craft sessions, sing-a-longs, or even an evening “ghost” story.

And when the weather turns wet and keeps you stuck at your campsite, mealtime can truly be the high point of the day.

As a parent who regularly camps with her family, Alana’s favourite cookout memory is of a rainy-day family bonding moment.

“Instead of being miserable about being stuck around the campsite for the entire day, we decided to have fun and make a pretend cooking show,” she recalls. “Kyla and I hosted, and my husband, Kevin, videotaped the whole thing. It was a lot of goofing around, but it was also an opportunity to pass on some cooking tips – and outdoor cooking tips – to our daughter.”

8-year-old Kyla’s fondest rainy meal moment?

“I remember when we were making muffins and our cooking rack broke,” she laughs. “And we had to fix it with a fly swatter! Gross!”

Such is the joy of camping culinary experiences. These family cookouts are sure to offer both learning opportunities and memories to last a lifetime. Just don’t be surprised if some of the memories aren’t the ones you intended.

A special thanks to Alana Callan, Alix Taylor, Anna Russell, and Ray O’Flaherty for sharing their stories for this article.