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Best food to bring to Burning Man?

Don't know what kind of following there is here among those who attend burning man, but I'm heading there next week.

Last time I brought some food I might cook out on the playa, but I discovered that some projects just didn't go down out in the heat and sand.
First off, the appetite is generally depressed, and second, cooking conditions are tricky.
Basically I've got a little two-burner stove, a big pot and a little one.

Here's a little list of things that worked and did not last year.
But I'm curious if others have suggestions for foods that go great out in the dessert.

Best cooked items:
-- coffee !!
-- salmon rolls (made from smoked salmon, kept in an ice chest, nori, and those quick-boil packets of rice)
-- the occasional hot dog

Best snacks:
-- cans of pineaplle and mandarin oranges
-- nuts
-- beef jerky
-- dried fruit
-- japanese crackers
-- trio bars

Failures and/or didn't eat:
-- fish stew
-- tofu -- kept in the ice chest, intending to eat cold with soy/scallion/ginger, but never seemed appetizing out there.

Anybody have any nice suggestions?



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    1. re: SpiceJunkies

      Oh yes!
      At least 1.5 gallons per person per day.
      And we also bring lots of juices...

      1. Well, the obvious choice is to start with what worked for you before. Given the heat and the, ahem, "depressed appetite" phenomenon, you'll want to keep portions small, and food choices light. There are a lot of things you can do in advance of heading out there. If you have a cooler good enough to keep smoked salmon rolls okay, you can do pretty much anything and transport it.
        Bring your coffee and whatever you use in it.
        Make your salmon rolls and whatever other sashimi/sushi; same method as last year
        Hot dogs sound easy. Better, to me, would be good sausages that you pre-brown at home and transport in coldpacks in the cooler along w/ a ziploc of pre-sauteed sliced onion and bell pepper, with a bag of rolls, and jars of sport peppers and mustard in your drygoods. Aidell's makes outstanding sausages.
        A rice salad with garam masala, soaked raisins and toasted pine nuts, topped w/ chopped cilantro. Pre-make at home, ziploc it.
        A pasta salad, made with diced salami, pimientos, artichoke hearts, any diced steamed vegie you dig, good olives, cubes of mozzarella, Italian dressing, snipped basil. Again, pre-made.
        A mixture of melons, cubed, washed in lemon juice, ziploc again, pre-make again. Better than the canned fruit.
        Some good coldcuts, separate bags of separated lettuce leaves and sliced tomato and onion. A herbed cream cheese spread will hold up better than mayo in heat, but mayo's pretty safe too because of the vinegar factor, which helps retard spoiling. rolls from the sausages.
        Not much cooking at all; a lot of good food. I'm not suprised that the tofu and fish stew went unused. Those do not sound like appetizing foods under the given circumstances. I'd stay far, far away from fish of any kind unless you bring canned tuna for easy sammies, or do the sushi that worked last year. Definitely not hot, cooked fish anyway.
        Hardboiled eggs. Salted nuts, or trail mix. String cheese. Other whole cheeses. Whole fruit. Caramel rice-cakes, or popcorn cakes. Salsa; chips-you could bring avocados and shredded, bagged cheese for a sort of Mexican bruschetta. Jarred olivada or artichoke tapenade, and good crackers. LOTS of water or whatever.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mamachef

          Wow! Great advice.
          Yah, the tofu was just kind of a mistake, but the fish stew was a cooking project. I brought a piece of salted cod, a couple cans of whole tomatoes, and spices, and did the whole thing out there. Problem was, the time it took to prepare felt like stolen time, too much else to do, and the hot pot was not pleasant to be around.

          I love some of your ideas, especially diced melon, cold cuts, and hard boiled eggs.
          Also the crackers, salsa and tapenade...

          And yes, I forgot to mention that cans of tuna went down nicely as well.

          Thanks again, that's a really constructive posting!

          Cheese, huh? Yeah I could see a harder cheese working well like swiss our gouda (though I'd prefer a nice Tomme de Savoie or Emmenthaler if I could find it!)

          1. re: pauliface

            Check out Rainbow Foods - I do believe you're in SF, correct? Great food of all stripes, worker-owned cooperative, awesome cheese selection with knowledgeble staff, and it's not Whole Paycheck. Very reasonable prices. I forgot to mention hitting up an olive bar, but good pitted olives are good with goat cheese on crackers too. If you have to stay domestic, any chain supermarket over there has baby alpine lace swiss cheese, which is pretty damn good on any sammie or cracker. Bell/Cala market there also has an amazing deli just loaded with premade stuff that I'd vouch for. (Us cooks get unmotivated/disenchanted/lazy too!)
            At the end of the day, staying hydrated's the ticket.
            And you are more than welcome.

            1. re: mamachef

              Yes I am in SF and I am fond of Rainbow,. and I agree they have a great cheese counter.

              (I never go to Whole Foods. Too expensive and only halfway towards expertise IMO. I'll go lower (Safeway) or higher (specialty shops), but WF is in-between at just the wrong spot for my taste. )

        2. What an interesting challenge!

          Love the tuna idea; if it were me I'd be all about the tonno in olive oil, in the small pop-top cans. The tapendade would be delicous on top. Or a little baggie of capers, and black pepper.

          Frozen cooked shrimp? Just needs a little water to thaw. And a ziploc of spicy cocktail sauce.

          Stick salami. Also pre-cut veggies and a dip like lemon-anchovy to go with them. Snow peas, carrot sticks, cauliflower are nice with the dip.

          When I'm camping in summer I like a container of pub cheese, even though I rarely eat it otherwise. With whole-grain crackers.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Niblet

            Never even thought about pre-made shrimp cocktail, but what an outstanding idea, Niblet. I mean, why not, if can be kept safe, and it appears that it can. Like the crudite/bagna cauda idea too. That dip could be reheated in the small pot.
            I like pub cheese; it's an old familiar flavor from childhood that I never buy. Actually, I never bought it; my mom did, but I'm going to look for some. She used it along with shredded cheddar, mayo and pimiento for pimiento cheese...which btw Pauliiface would be a great thing to bring a crock of: for veg, sandwiches, grilled cheese, eating by the spoon, and I totally forgot to say, bring a jar of peanut butter and some good jam too.

          2. If you can vacuum seal most of your pershibale food, that's the ticket.
            Love my food saver from Costco.
            Have fun and gatorade is a good source too...along with cheap beer!

            1. I LOVE Trader Joe's b-cuz they sell premade/packeted items suitale for camping or, Burning Man. I.E.: Tasty Bite Indian packets w/ TJ's precooked/packaged Brown rice or mutigrain. Just heat and serve! I also find in Middle Eastern markets, Tasty Bite's carot halvah so, so yummy for breakfast. Again, just heat and serve. Also, Jerky's if you'e into that. At Any REI or health food store you'll find small packets of Peanut Butter (organic) for about 69c And, I like some of the protein bars. Great meal sub in the heat and in a camp type environ. (Greens-at Trader Joe's and Zing Bars - zingbars.com. Dry Ice is a good thing too if you don't mind schleping! Since you like tuna- don't bring it in cans, buy the foil packets! So, much lighter and much less waste. Have fun! (Think prepackaged/boxed/foil packets)

              1. can of baked beans, water, rice cakes, more water

                1. My favorites from Burning Man and what I'm bringing this year too:

                  Pre-cooked bacon - just heat and serve
                  XL frozen cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce - thaw and serve
                  Trader Joe's quiches - thaw and serve, tasty, not too heavy on the stomach
                  Grilled steaks - already cooked - heat and serve *
                  Mandarin oranges in a cup - keep in cooler and drink the juice!
                  Chocolate pudding in a cup
                  Poptarts - easy breakfast
                  Frozen pre-cooked pancakes - thaw and serve with maple syrup
                  Lots of coconut and mango juices for electrolytes (in cans so we can recycle at Center Camp)

                  I don't want to COOK anything out there - too much mess to clean up. Anything that is easy to heat, thaw and serve is the best.

                  * Never bring raw meats - it's a gagalicious to have rotting meat juices anywhere near you roasting in the sun

                  1. Take kimchee! Just be sure to keep the jar closed tightly in your cooler. It's a great snack or appetizer and a fantastic garnish for hotdogs.