Camping Meal Memories

Example deal from
Example deal from

I check every day and a lot of time they have deals for dehydrated meals — the kind you might take camping or have in your pantry to prepare for a disaster. My brain always says “yuck” but something else in me says “yum.” A couple of years ago, visiting the family lake house in Wisconsin, I saw a container of dehydrated beef stroganoff and had a strong desire to make it, but it was there for my nephew to make in case of an emergency, not for me to make because I wondered what it tasted like. Besides, I told myself, it probably was disgusting.

Jack and "Cinder"
The cook, not cooking

Why, then, does part of me that want to eat dehydrated food? Not because I am a wilderness camper. Not because I like disgusting things, but because I have a memory of loving the food that Jack Burgoyne made for us in 1976 when I accompanied his family on a “caravan holiday” in Scotland. Normally his wife, Pat, cooked but when on vacation — at least that one– Jack made dinners and they were, as far as I recall, always from a freeze-dried packet. And, to me, they were delicious.

So that’s why I always stop and ponder buying a bucket of freeze dried lasagne or curry or Jamaican jerk rice with chicken from or consider making freeze dried beef stroganoff on trips to the lake house — memories of a long-ago trip to Loch Sween and a week in a mobile home on the grounds of an ancient castle and meals made by a kind and good and funny and wonderful man who left this world too soon.

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