ForeWord Reviews

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Holiday Fun Year-Round with Dian Thomas

Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2002

Who would have thought that hamburgers could be cooked in a shovel or that a chicken could be cooked in a backpack on a day hike? The author did, and she offers these secrets and more in her latest outdoor cookbook. With five books published, Thomas could be called the Martha Stewart of Easy Living. She has made a career out of making life easy when roughing it meant bugs, lumpy ground, and bad food. She cannot get rid of the bugs or lumpy ground when camping, but she does show how to eat elegantly well when on an outdoor adventure. This book is the sequel to her bestseller, Roughing it Easy, and provides more than 200 tasty and fun recipes.

Thomas believes that camping does not have to be uncomfortable or menu-challenged. Her attitude is that food tastes better when cooked outdoors and that meal preparation and cooking should be fun. She covers all methods of cooking from open campfires, portable gas stoves, and Dutch Ovens to barbeque grills, stick cooking, and some novelty ideas. Recipes run from breakfasts, soups and stews, salads, and sandwiches to main dishes, side dishes, breads, and desserts.

This cookbook is not oriented to the hardcore backpacking, Trail Mix crowd. To do this type of cooking right, a four-wheel drive Jeep or a pickup truck will be needed to haul all the cooking equipment, coolers, meats, vegetables, mixes, canned goods, condiments, and seasonings.

In addition to recipes like the Hobo Dinner, Poached Trout Salad, and Aromatic Couscous, Thomas includes tips on starting a fire with a battery and steel wool, how to cook with an iron and ironing board (at home), cooking on a car manifold while driving down the interstate, and how to cook bacon and eggs in a paper bag. Common-sense checklists, meal planning, photos, and illustrations augment this diverse, innovative, and entertaining cookbook. All of the recipes are easy to prepare and, best of all, most can be prepared in the comfort of the home kitchen, far away from bugs, wet sleeping bags, and three days without a bath.

William D. Bushnell