Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lipsmackin' Vegetarian Backpackin'

Lip Smackin’ Vegetarian Backpackin’: Lightweight Trail-tested Vegetarian Recipes for Backcountry Trips, by Christine & Tim Conners (pub. by Three Forks, Helena, Montana, and Gilford, CT, 2004, 231pp with appendices)

This is the second of two similar books. The first was Lip Smackin’ Backpackin’, and this time they supplemented that volume with a vegetarian recipe book. It contains contributions from outdoorsmen located all over the country. There are sections for breakfast, lunch, dinner, breads, snacks and desserts, and drinks. Anyone can use the remainder of the offerings, but dinner choices rely heavily upon dehydrated ingredients, since for the backpacker, eliminating the water is not just for preserving foods, but eliminating weight from the pack. If you’re not experienced with dehydrating, there is also an appendix with suggestions for success in that field, and another listing sources for commercially pre-dried foods.

As with any cook book, it’s a matter of picking through and finding the preparations that make sense for you. There are the staples, such as hardtack, bannock, and six different kinds of granola, but also a full range of more involved recipes. I found 14 receipies that I liked, and that I plan on trying, but also found some that made no sense to me at all. For example, if the recipe relied heavily upon commercially packaged items, sodium content started to become a serious problem. One receipe that used packaged taco filling, refried beans, and taco seasoning ended up with 2,567 mg of salt per serving. Ouch! Other examples were the few meals that really, in my opinion, went way overboard with 14 or 15 different ingredients. With that many ingredients and that much preparation, I expect to be eating with an ascot around my neck rather than a bug repellent and sweat soaking bandana. It’s all a matter of personal preference, but the question becomes how to replicate such involved preparations when re-provisioning on an extended trip. To be fair, however, the object of the book is to make meal preparations at home and package meals in individual zip-lock bags, so wilderness preparation involves boiling water and dumping the contents in to soak. In any event, there is most likely something of interest for anyone, so you may wish to check it out, especially if you want to provision with dehydrated foods. Another helpful plus is that each receipe includes full nutritional values and weight, which is extremely helpful for those with dietary concerns that make cholesterol, salt, or other ingredients problematic. The book seems to have filled a void, and has been well received, with various ratings running from 3 to 4.5 of 5 stars.

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