Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


November 2010 cover image Kiss Me!

Skill Builder: Camp Cooking with Kids

The whole family can help when it’s time to fix campfire fare.

By Bernadette Noll

One of my ongoing goals as a parent is presence — to the task at hand and the people I’m with. It’s hard sometimes — actually with four kids it’s hard a lot of the time — but I do what I can. I make a point of turning off the phone and the computer during certain times of the day. I try to keep some semblance of priority with the never-ending list of chores, tasks and responsibilities. And I try to remember, too, that while to-dos are many, childhood is fleeting.

The beauty of camping with kids is that presence is more easily attainable. All the things that are required in the care and feeding of kids in daily life are made simpler by the fact that when camping, the main activity (beyond breathing in the great outdoors) is care and feeding. There are no bills to be paid or e-mails to check or people to see.

If you’re lucky, you’ll end up in a park with no phone reception. If you’re smart, you’ll turn your phone off regardless of the reception. Sure, there are still some have-tos when camping. But when camping, the have-tos of daily life become the fun of outdoor living.

While sweeping the kitchen can be tedious, tidying camp can be fun. Washing the camp dishes is actually entertaining as opposed to filling and emptying the dishwasher. And if there’s laundry to be done, beating that shirt against a rock and hanging it on a tree is way more exciting than merely throwing it in the machine and hitting the power button. Most fun of all, perhaps, is the meal cooked around the campfire. Sure, there are hot dogs on a stick, but with a little creativity and some hot coals, you can make cooking with the kids amusing for everyone.

In the name of presence, I present a few kid-friendly campfire recipes the whole family can make together.


Orange Rind Biscuits

  •   2 cups of flour

  •   2 tsp. baking powder

  •   1 tsp. salt

You can mix these all together before the trip and transport it in a large jar. At the campsite stir in:

  •   5 Tbsp. butter (chop this in with a fork)

  •   1 cup of water or milk

  •   Also prepare 10 oranges by slicing them in half and gutting them (the kids can eat the insides of the oranges, saving the rinds for the biscuits)

Pour the biscuit dough into the gutted orange rind halves. Put the top on and wrap in aluminum foil. Stick in the coals and cook for about 15–20 minutes. The orange-infused biscuits are delicious for breakfast, lunch or dinner! (You can make this using muffin or cake mix as well.)


Banana Boats

We love s’mores just as much as the next camper. But honestly, I don’t really want to give my children handfuls of marshmallows every night at bedtime. I also don’t want to give up the ritual of a little post-dinner sweet treat cooked over the fire. These banana boats are easy and yummy, and could actually fall into the meal category, if you so desire — especially if all the campers are in need of a little afternoon pick-me-up.

  •   One banana for each person

  •   Peanut butter

  •   Chocolate bar

Slice a peeled banana open lengthwise and place it in a rectangle of foil. Fill the inside of the banana with peanut butter. Dot pieces of chocolate bar squares on top of the peanut butter. Wrap the whole thing up tight and stick it in the fire for just a few minutes. Open the foil, stir and enjoy!

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