Legend has it that Georgia native Glenn McAllister loved to hike, but was not fond of the packaged dehydrated meals that were available to sustain him on his treks.
Out of necessity, McAllister started to develop his own recipes for the trail, and dehydrated his meals himself. Thus The Backpacking Chef was born — as well as the website backpackingchef.com — where McAllister talks about his exploits in the kitchen and the wilderness.
McAllister penned an ebook compiling some of his best recipes and advice, called "Recipes for Adventure." At 250 pages, it might seem like a weighty tome. However, the book is a quick read, filled with lively facts, advice and information about cooking, dehydrating food and reconstituting it on the trail.
In an interview with Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, McAllister boasts that when he cooks on the trail, other hikers gather and drool. It's easy to see why after reading "Recipes for Adventure."
McAllister covers breakfast, snacks, side dishes, main courses and desserts in his book. Few people dine this well at home, but McAllister eats this way in a tent — which is pretty remarkable. His tempting treats include Lasagna, Beef Stroganoff and Couscous with beef and tomato. When it comes to dessert dishes, his recipes range from Pineapple Upside Down Cake to Peach Cobbler.
If this sounds intimidating for a novice cook, don't worry. McAllister's recipes are easy to follow and keep cooking fairly simple. He also breaks down each recipe into steps, by what needs to be done at home and what must be done on the trail. The book is also filled with photos, so you can compare your efforts to his, to make sure you are on the right track.
"Recipes for Adventure" covers everything you need to know about preparing nourishing, delicious food on-the-go, from buying a dehydrator to cooking tips and the ideal dehydrating temperatures for every type of fruit, vegetable, meat and bread imaginable.
This is where the benefit of McAllister's experience comes in — when it comes to dehydrating. For example, he tells you that green beans need to cut into half-inch slices, canned chicken rehydrates better than fresh roasted and corn needs to be cooked before it enters the dehydrator for the best results.
You would probably discover many of these tips yourself in the course of cooking, through trial and error. But why not save yourself the time and expense, and let his errors be your trials?
The book also has useful how-to-pack tips, to get the maximum amount of food and nutrients in the smallest amount of space. It's truly everything an avid hiker needs to know about eating well and nutritiously while enjoying nature.
If you like to spend time outdoors, while enjoying good food, there is no better book to add to your reading list.