Wife Jan is going off to Burning Man again. Last year she broke her arm, I hope she comes back in one piece this year. As usual, I am making instant meals for her group. Last year, I made three camp meals—saag pilau, za’atar orzo, and pancakes. This year I added two more—mashed potatoes and tabbouleh. Dehydrated potatoes are pretty bland just on their own, but a few herbs, some chives, powdered cream and butter should work wonders.
Note: Jan is left for Burning Man late yesterday. I have spent the last week buying and prepping food for her trip, as she prerecorded class lectures for the week she would be gone. I finally have time to write up my recipes.
Food at Burning Man is far more restrictive than simple camping food. It is the ultimate in the philosophy of “you pack it in, you pack it out.” You cannot simply boil a large pot of pasta and then pour out the “grey water.” I also needed to create dishes that would stand up to several days of +100º F desert weather with a minimum of refrigeration.
As I thought about it, I also realized that people would not want to just hang around camp cooking when there was so much else interesting going on. Of course, with all that was going on people would also be very hungry when that did finally stop to eat—and that people might not want to eat all at the same time. I needed to create something that would cook in just a few minutes, that left no “waste water,” that could be cooked in portions as needed, and that would be satisfying to hungry people with varying dietary needs.
I was creating meals for 7-10+ people. I settled on the idea of making “box” dishes—like RiceARoni®. A spice packet, pre-measured and mixed ingredients that you just add water to and simmer. By breaking the ingredients into portions, I could allow the Burners to make enough for 4, 8, or 12 people as the situation needed.
Note: In total Jan and I created 7 new recipes for this year’s Sage Camp at Burning Man: Pancakes, saag pilau, za’atar orzo, mashed potatoes, tabbouleh, a new chili powder blend, and a signature cocktail.
Karl’s Herb & Chive Mashed Potatoes For Burning Man
Note: Quantities listed below are for one portion, to feed 2 people as a side dish.
¾ cup dehydrated potatoes
2 Tbs. powdered cream
1 Tbs. dried chives
1 tsp. butter flavor sprinkles
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. sage
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1. Bring the water to a boil and stir in the mix.
Tip: For each one cup of potato mixture use 1¼ cups of water.
Note: I made five 2 person portions of this recipe.
2. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
3. Fluff and serve.