In 2009, Aimee Trudeau, Mai-Yan Kwan, and Emily Nielson began blogging about their passion for the outdoors, complete with delicious provisions. The “Dirty Gourmet Girls” showcase the Southern California landscape and some pretty fine food in stunning color photos in their new cookbook, Dirty Gourmet. It highlights their philosophy that food is not just fuel for outdoor adventures but “a significant part of a journey’s memory.”
The book is divided into three sections: “On the Trail,” “Car Camping,” and “Backcountry Camping.” Each contains useful advice for meal planning, cooking tips, a list of essential gear, and recipes. The authors’ experience and exuberance resonate throughout. There is clear instruction and motivation for enjoying the outdoors, whether one is considering a simple day hike with young kids and a backpack filled with fun picnic foods or launching a restorative week-long backwoods getaway with friends, capped with end-of-trail cocktails and desserts.
The emphasis is on healthy, energy-rich, mostly vegan and vegetarian meals (customizable for omnivores), though there are helpings of awesome eats for carnivores and sweets fans (Barbecue Pie Bombs or Pecan Praline Fondue, anyone?). While most meals involve simple prep and cooking techniques, there are detailed explanations of campfire cooking methods and lots of hearty breakfast ideas to jump-start physically active days.
There are some surprising and inventive recipes, too, such as English Muffins from scratch with homemade skillet jam, elegant Baked Brie with Candied Pecans, Campfire Bibimbap, and Ecuadorian Canelazo, a hot drink concocted of spiced rum and orange juice.
Chatty recipe introductions exhibit a lot of humor and personality, and there are many reminders to demonstrate respect for the natural environment by packing everything out, properly dousing campfires, and critterproofing campsites.
The trio have a deep love of backcountry camping, noting that “the farther into the wilderness we get, the happier we seem to become.” Hopefully, this book will inspire more folks to get outside and get cooking.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.