Early last week I posted a fifth backpacking dinner recipe. You should not expect more — these five meals are the extent of my backcountry cookbook. (I will post some additional breakfasts, however.)
I have considered developing more, either from scratch or based on other recipes out there. But in addition to not yet being tired of my five meals, there is a strong case to be made for having fewer favorites, not more:
1. Long trips are the exception
How many of your trips each year are longer than 2-3 nights? For most backpackers, it’s not many. With just a handful of reliable recipes, then, your backcountry cuisine can continue to feel fresh and novel.
2. On longer trips, hunger is the best seasoning
When the length of your trip exceeds the number of unique dinner recipes you have, you’ll have to repeat meals. But the jump in your appetite on longer trips will make them just as good on the second, third, or fiftieth time around. If you still fear boredom, try minor tweaks before wholesale changes, e.g. use potatoes instead of noodles, or cashews instead of raisins.
3. Reduce prep time
My five dinner recipes call for twenty-six unique ingredients, which I purchase from three local stores (Costco, King Soopers, and Sprouts) and from several online sources like Harmony House and Amazon. More recipes would mean more ingredients, which would translate into even more shopping time.
Of course, shopping is the easy part — the bigger time sink is packaging. Since each meal entails a setup and breakdown (e.g. compiling the ingredients, cleaning bowls and measuring cups, and counting and storing away), it takes far less time to prepare another dozen meals of the same kind than to make a dozen meals of a new recipe.