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—just add water—for her group, the Sage Camp.
If your are unimaginative you go to REI and buy a bunch of dried food packets for $5-10 per person per meal. My wife is in a group of “poor but honest scholars”—貧窮而誠實的學者—so that is not an option. I have created a selection of gourmet box-meals to sustain them in the harsh conditions of the Black Rock Playa.
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-meal” dishes—like RiceARoni®. A spice packet, premeasured and mixed ingredients that you could just add water to and simmer. By breaking the ingredients into portions, I could allow the Burners to make enough to feed 4, 8, or 12 people as the situation needed.
New dishes for this year’s Burning Man