Feast on Adventure

You’ve spent a long day hiking, climbing or paddling. You need a dinner that will give you the energy to do it all again tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be nice if it could taste great and be ready in minutes? Feast on Adventure proves that good food can be lightweight, convenient, and delicious.

The field-tested recipes in this book are motivated by my family’s dietary restrictions. Our quest for delicious, flavourful meals that are portable, low-mess, and free of undesirable ingredients led me to develop my own process of converting conventional recipes into single-serving backpacking dishes using freeze-dried, dehydrated, and instant foods. These trail meals are light, quick to rehydrate, and shelf-stable.

Feast on Adventure guides you through the world of freeze-dried, dehydrated, and instant foods with over forty diverse backcountry recipes. You’ll also learn how to turn your own family favourites into non-perishable camping meals. You’ll be able to customize any trail meal to meet your personal needs, managing dietary restrictions, such as allergies, intolerances, and preferences.

Preparing for an emergency? Feast on Adventure will show you how you can best use your stockpile of emergency food reserves to set out a five-star meal for your family when disaster strikes.

Join author, outdoorsman, and wilderness paddler Paul Shipman on a culinary adventure, and learn how to excite your taste buds on your next backcountry escapade. Get your copy today!

Why Feast on Adventure?

An excerpt of the first chapter of the book

I hesitate to call this a cookbook. This is a “meal assembly book” that reflects how my family prepares food for our outdoor adventures. Our meals are made by mixing freeze-dried, dehydrated and other instant ingredients in a container with herbs and spices so that making dinner in the field is as easy as adding hot water.

The impetus for these recipes was my wife’s diagnosis of food-based intolerances, which left us unable to consider many pre-made, packaged meals. On the upside, we now have much more control over the ingredients we include in our meals, a tighter rein on calories to manage energy and recovery, and more choice in recipes that pack both flavour and familiarity.

We could, of course, cook fresh in the backcountry, but we prefer to focus on the adventure, not the kitchen. We’d rather spend our time pushing further, hiking longer, and getting deeper into the wilderness. We’re not looking to spend time making dinner.

Plus, fresh food has other downsides when you’re adventuring: it’s heavy and can be challenging to hang securely and stay Bear Smart; you have to manage spoilage—any waste (e.g., lettuce bottoms) still needs to be carried out. There’s more mess and more clean-up, and greater risk of spillage that can attract wildlife. The recipes in this book are compact and lightweight, making it easier to pack in bear hangs or bear vaults. With proper planning, they leave zero waste behind. In my experience, too many of us shrug off proper food storage protocols and fail to pack out all our garbage.

For some adventurers, cooking fresh, backcountry gourmet is part of the attraction. If that’s your style, this book probably isn’t for you.

That said, I’ve designed these recipes to be every bit as tasty as their fresh counterparts. For most meals, all you need to do is boil water. There’s very little time spent at the stove, very little waste, and very little to pack out. Seven days of food fits easily with the other gear already in your backpack without adding much weight to your hike or portages.

Feast on Adventure shares principles from several important ethoses: leave no trace, ultralight backpacking, and Bear Smart. It also respects dietary restrictions, with recipe variations and optional ingredients included for vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan diets. These are highlighted throughout the book.

An alternative to brains during the Zombie Apocalypse?

Well, maybe not. But these recipes make use of the stack of freeze-dried food cans piled high in your bunker, bomb shelter, or basement. When disaster strikes—Zombie Apocalypse or otherwise (I’m looking at you, COVID-19)—you can save a little bit of civilization and enjoy a good meal.

Business or Pleasure?

These recipes are versatile and not limited to the great outdoors. Simple and portable, these are great travel meals, as well.

On a business trip for a week and you don’t want to eat out every meal? Tournament weekend? Budget road trip? Backpacking thru Europe? Feast on Adventure to the rescue.

Take control of your meal plan and manage your dietary restrictions. Simply run some fresh water through the coffee machine in your room or get an extra cup of boiling water with your coffee at the coffee shop. Boom, dinner’s served.

One caveat: when travelling internationally, make sure you’re aware of what foods you can carry over the border. Dried goods are usually OK, but every country has different rules. It might even be necessary to show proof of purchase.

Table of Contents

  • Why Feast on Adventure?
  • This Way In
  • Principles of Flavour
  • Ingredients
    • I. Flavours
    • II. Carbohydrates
    • III. Proteins
    • IV. Dairy and Dairy-esque
    • V. Produce
    • VI. Desserts and Sweets
  • Formulate Your Own Recipes
  • Water
  • Equipment
  • The Recipes
    • The Path of Least Resistance
      • Essential Trail Oatmeal
      • Hasty Exit Pudding
      • Backwater Breakfast Bars
      • Scottish Oatcakes
      • Hipsters “Off the beaten path” Coconut Cardamom Tapioca
      • Postmodern Backwoods Vanilla Steamer
    • Off the Beaten Path
      • Wilderness Chicken Soup with Rice
      • Trailhead Taco Soup
      • Plucky Cockaleekie Soup
      • Intractable Cottage Pie
      • Idyllic Chicken Pot Pie
      • Fireside Burrito Bowl
      • Rustic Holopchi Bowl
      • Adventuresome Kimchi Rice
      • Primitive Poblano Pilaf
      • Untamed Thai Green Curry
      • Boundless Moroccan Tagine
      • Quetico Pad Thai
      • Boreal Masala
      • Intrepid Tamale Pie
      • Camp Chile Con Carne
      • Hinterland Ragu
      • Unspoiled. Unfried. Rice.
    • The path less travelled
      • Refreshing Strawberry Banana Smoothie
      • Indulgent Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
      • Sunrise Scramble
      • Lakeside Tortilla
      • Morning Migas
      • Daybreak Johnnycakes
      • Trail’s End Corned Beef Hash
      • Summertime Corn Chowder
      • Wayfarer’s Ramen
      • Stalwart Beans and Rice
      • Mac-country and Cheese
      • Backcountry Bacalhau-Arinca
      • Sunset Stroganoff
      • The Big Carry Goulash
      • Appalachian Alfredo
      • Pacific Coast Trail Sushi Bowl
      • Woodland Singapore Noodle
      • Ferocious Spicy Pierogi Mash
      • Traditional Rice Pudding
      • Woodsy Coconut Rice Pudding
  • Make Your Own Ingredients
  • Index
  • Acknowledgements

More on why

I was already an accomplished home cook when my wife discovered she was intolerant to gluten, dairy, yeast, mushrooms, caffeine, processed sugars, and other compounds and ingredients. In our pre-diagnosis life, I would spend hours devouring recipes, books, and magazines on cooking. My tastes ran the length and breadth of Canadian cuisine: a hodgepodge of Italian, French, British, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Japanese, and more. Dinnertime was always an adventure. I baked bread, decorated cakes, made fresh pasta, and pinched pierogies.

The diagnosis changed my kitchen overnight. Our family meals had always been delicious, exciting, and healthy — now, they also had to be “Éveline-safe.”

For me, this was a new culinary adventure. To cut out all the problematic ingredients, I decided to start each meal, and each dish, from scratch. I picked up Michael Ruhlman’s “Charcuterie” and “Ratio,” Sandor Katz’s “The Art of Fermentation,” Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking,” Cook’s Illustrated’s “The Science of Good Cooking,” and America’s Test Kitchen’s “D.I.Y. Cookbook.”

I began making sausage and bacon at home. I fermented everything from cabbage to beans to dal pancakes. I made ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. I even made desserts — definitely a challenge — like hazelnut dacquoise, pineapple soufflé, and even watermelon gelatin foam.

Gradually, modifying recipes became second nature. With inspiration from one place, flavors from another, and chemistry lessons from a book or two, satisfying versions of dishes we once enjoyed were again possible. I even managed a passable vegan ice cream.

When we packed for family canoe trips, meals became more difficult. Perishable food was out of the question. Managing a cooler was all but impossible in bear country. Our meals had to be portable, easy to store, and safe in an unrefrigerated environment. Off-the-shelf meals were scarce at the time, so I invented my own. My discovery of emergency-preparedness freeze-dried ingredients set off the lightbulb, and I started in earnest to develop recipes for our trips.

Early on, I realized that others would benefit from these recipes as well. I decided to design them to cover more dietary restrictions than those my wife experiences, and make sure they were easy to modify for anything else. Feast on Adventure is the culmination of this work: over forty recipes spanning multiple cuisines and cooking styles, all trimmed down to lightweight, compact meals that are easy to prepare in the field.