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Review: Cookbooks for the campsite coffee table

Meg and husband Brad in their bookstore, Kingfisher, in Coupeville interacting with customers.

By Meg Olson

It’s time to take our meals outside. Whether you’re pitching a tent, hitting the road, or setting out on the trail, good food is part of having a good time. These books take campsite and trailside dining to a new level, from what to pack to cooking wild.

The Campfire Cookbook

Viola, Lex and Nico Stanitzok


Recipes for the camp stove, the grill and the campfire, plus some great tips and packing lists for your outdoor adventures. The make-ahead recipes, from spice mixes and condiments to cake in a jar and pancake batter in a tube, make it so easy to throw a dash of home cooking into your camp cooking.

Beyond Gorp

Yvonne Prate and Ruth Dyar Mendenhall with Kerry I. Smith

The Mountaineers Books

A collection of recipes and tips from outdoor experts for eating while exploring, including stories about and by the people behind the recipes. In addition to recipes for trail food and campsite cooking, there is a section on enjoying wild foods and survival cooking, with a recipe for mouse soup.

Fire Pit Cooking

Vanessa Bante

Gibbs Smith

This book starts with tips for building a good cooking fire, then takes you from a glazed donut grilled cheese sandwich cooked in a pie iron to brownies cooked in terracotta pots. Lots of great information about equipment that will make it easy to cook an incredible variety of delicious food over the fire.

The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket

Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson


Plans for picnics, fancy and humble, including recipes for portable feasts but also the design for the perfect picnic bike and packing lists for the basket. Includes a list of sources for all of your picnic needs beyond food and drink, such as baskets, blankets, containers and even picnic games.

The Campout Cookbook

Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson


More than a guide to outdoor cooking, but a compendium of ways to enjoy campsite living. There are tips for setting up a camp kitchen and how to avoid camping disasters. They also have a dozen ways to make s’mores and instructions on how to clean a fish. Fun illustrations accompany charts for mixing it up with foil-packet cooking and clever campsite hacks.

Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun, and Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors

Emily Vikre

Harvard Common Press

A dizzying collection of libations you can tuck into your backpack, sip by the campfire or quaff at the cabin. Recipes are divided into where you’ll be enjoying your beverage, tailoring preparation and transportation to the circumstances. Many of the recipes would work as well at home, but then there are also marshmallow shot glasses … Includes a section on using wild foods as part of your cocktail repertoire.

Road Trip Cooking: The Best Recipes for Your Campfire, Stove or Barbecue

Arno and Mireille van Elst

Hardie Grant

From the founders of the Holy Kauw catering company in the Netherlands, a collection of road trip and outdoor cooking hacks and recipes, even how to cook tasty meals on your engine block as you head to your next destination. The recipes are simple and aimed at making good food when your equipment and ingredients may be limited.

Meg is the co-owner, with husband Brad, of the Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville, which has a bit of everything but specializes in the natural and human history of the Pacific Northwest. She likes to explore, in person or on pages. x