a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Jul, 2011

Bon Echo: more about the food and stuff

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

As a bit of a continuation of the campfire pizza post I wanted to write more about the camping food side of things.

I have to confess that for all of our healthy eating, for us it’s a time to junk out… so much so that when I’m grocery shopping before we go I cringe to think that I might run into someone I know at the store. Seriously.) Hot dogs, chips and more chips, granola bars, cookies, sugary cereal… much of it is stuff I give a pass the rest of the year.

We are healthy people. We eat pretty well and try to stay relatively active, but this is the one time of year that it’s easier to let go. It worked in other ways too, like when the girls were small and wanted sugary cereals at other non-camping times of the year. They’d look longingly at the rows of bright boxes with smiling cartoony faces.

“Can we get some of this mom,” they’d ask hopefully.
“SURE!” I’d say. “When we go camping!”

The result? They leaned to stop asking for the most part, but I always kept my promise. For a few years we bought those tiny boxes of cereal when we went camping, but lately I’ve taken to buying one box to bring with us. 2011 was the year of Cap’n Crunch. Woo hoo!

On the morning of our first day of camping we unpacked our kitchen bin only to discover a disaster of epic proportions:


Our glass coffee press was broken!


As you can see by the photo, a giant shard was missing. But guess what, we used it anyway. Can you believe it? Despite the risk of swallowing slivers of glass we made coffee in it all week.

I can’t think of anything else that so accurately illustrates the extent of our coffee addiction.

Anyway, this year’s camping menu looked something like this:

Arrival snack – Foil-wrapped English muffins with salami and cheese (“grilled” on the camp stove)
Dinner – steak, Caesar salad, baguette
Dessert – Banana boats

Breakfast – Cereal, milk, orange juice, coffee
Snacks – fruit/nuts/granola bars
Lunch – Grilled cheese, chips, pickles
Dinner – Hamburgers, raw veggies
Dessert – S’mores + marshmallows on the fire

Breakfast – Bacon, pancakes and syrup, juice, coffee
Snacks – Fruit & yogurt
Lunch – Campfire pizzas
Dinner – premade chicken kebabs, raw veggies

Breakfast – leftover bacon, cereal and toast with PB
Snack – granola bar/trail mix
Lunch – fried spam (YES), veggies and toasted bagels with butter
Snack – fruit
Dinner – Hot dogs/sausages/buns/veggies

Breakfast – cereal and toast
Snacks – fruit/cookies
Lunch – canned soup and toast
Dinner – linguine and pesto

Sunday (departure day)

– whatever’s left… and there ain’t much by this point.

To keep it simple (and because I have a terrible memory) I keep a printout of this for easy reference onsite.

The trick is to eat your most perishable and tender foods early in the week.

Non-perishable foods (chips etc) are kept in bins in the car. Perishable foods like butter and cheese and meats are kept in a large cooler along with some ice packs, frozen juice boxes and frozen cartons of milk. We dump a bag of ice in there every day to keep it cold. A second smaller cooler contained some fruit and veg and a third cooler (that anyone can access) was for beer and juice-boxes. No one is allowed to enter coolers #1 or #2 without express permission from me. :) (Can you picture me shrieking: “THIS IS NOT LIKE HOME. THIS IS NOT A FRIDGE YOU CAN STAND IN FRONT OF.”)

Anyway, that’s how I do it.

It seems like an awful lot of work, now that I see it all written down. Man. Can someone remind me why I agree to going camping every year? :)

10 Responses to "Bon Echo: more about the food and stuff"

1 | Chris

July 18th, 2011 at 11:18 am


MEC sells a lexan (BPA free) bodum-style coffee maker for camping. Even comes with a neoprene wrap to keep the coffee warm on cold mornings. I just used it this morning to make coffee because the power’s out. So it can even come in handing in urban settings.

2 | Marianne

July 18th, 2011 at 1:13 pm


Mmmmm, lots of yummy food. But my goodness, the work! I always plan to cook no more than 2 meals per day, and sometimes only one so I have as little meal prep and cleaning up as possible. Of course, your girls are old enough to help out, which I’m sure makes a difference.

3 | Kelly

July 18th, 2011 at 2:11 pm


We just returned from camping too and thankfully, our bodum did not suffer the same fate as yours. (I would have used it anyway too, FTR)

also gave up on the little boxes of sugar cereal – 3 kids and only 2 of each cereal caused too many fights!! Now one big box comes with us and nobody complains.

I camp with a friend and we plan out our menu too – I will be printing it our and posting for the kids to see next time. So sick of hearing “What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner”!!

Sounds like we went to the same “Camping with children 101 class”…be prepared, minimize your workload and let it all hang out! THAT’S a holiday for me!!

4 | Rochelle

July 18th, 2011 at 2:38 pm


Bon Echo is a favourie spot of ours too, in fact, we were just there a few weekends back. Despite some pretty elaborate planning for a family of 4 (turns out we go through A LOT more than I anticipated), my birthday lunch was… canned ravioli! Something we never, ever buy! Throw in the bag or two of chips, half a store bought chocolate cake to celebrate my bday, and yes, those cereals too! (Does Shreddies count??). We’re off again this weekend to Sandbanks and I am trying my hand at better meal planning… practice run yesterday to Murphy’s Point and the cooler looked pretty good! Fingers crossed.

5 | Stacey

July 18th, 2011 at 3:53 pm


We have a either stainless steel or aluminum thermal coffee press that we use camping. We picked it up at Canadian Tire, of all places, in their camping section. All their camping stuff is starting to go on sale too, so it is a great time to replace camping supplies. And yes, coffee is a health-and-safety issue in our camping lives… as in, the kids aren’t safe until the parents have had their coffee! ;-)

6 | Lynn

July 19th, 2011 at 10:16 am


I’m super grateful for these posts…they’re my new survival bible. Just went out this morning and bought many, many bottles of bug spray. Now I’ll build our own menu from this list and make it my grocery shopping list. You rock!

7 | Shannon B

July 19th, 2011 at 9:59 pm


Great list! Some stuff on there I’d not thought of before to take camping. Thanks!

8 | Lorrie Douthwright

July 21st, 2011 at 12:02 am


I must admit, as I was looking through the camping pics you had posted earlier I did so with a goofy grin on my face and “awww look how much fun they’re having” running through my mind. When I got to the broken french press I actually gasped! GASPED! lol just further proof I AM a coffee snob & addict.

I even handed the laptop to my husband to see the Bon Echo pics because we are going there in a few weeks, never mentioning the broken Bodem. He handed it back to me with the caffeine carnage pic up & said “nice, but did you see THAT picture!?”

9 | other andrea

July 21st, 2011 at 10:23 pm


What made me gasp (GASP!) was the size and shape of your tent!

Another way to do camping coffee is to make individual mugs using a small Melitta cone filter with #2 size filters. (However, we are canoeists, so space is more of a factor.)

10 | andrea

July 22nd, 2011 at 9:32 am


Thanks everyone!

Lorrie – your comment made me laugh out loud. I’m glad you were able to relate to our tragedy. :)

other andrea – the tent was huge wasn’t it? It was a loaner from our friends, and it’s the biggest we’ve ever used. Thanks for the coffee tip too!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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