We all love a good meal! Meals and meal prep are a big part of life and they will be an important part of camp life as well.
Eating together, planning food budgets, planning meals and prepping these for trips is critical to our curriculum and to learning to live and operate as a community.
At MOI you are going to be living outside 24/7. The weather is going to range from beautiful, dry 70 degrees to a miserable wet 45 degrees; all in the same day. You’ll mostly sleep in a dry, warm tent but other than that you are outside all day. Being outside puts a demand on your body that doesn’t exist in the normal AC/Heated Thermostat controlled world. That demand needs calories and those calories are your first defense against the weather.
When you live an outdoor life while you are here you will have to sacrifice some of your normal comfort foods and maybe some particularities of your palate. Pasta, Rice, Bread, Tortillas are a mainstay of how we get through a day. These components help fill us up and are the vehicle for transporting the fats and proteins we need.
We love to supplement these basics with the best sauces, beans or meats that we can get and we have gotten really creative over the years at making some pretty awesome camp food. In fact, we have been asked for recipe books at times from guests in our sister companies. Yeah, it can be that good.
What about vegetarians?
Beans are awesome. Protein is critical. Most of the food we eat here will be vegetarian compatible or at least easily adaptable. There are occasions where a meat sauce might be in order for some of the crew but we have found that it’s easy to pull some sauce off for others or add the meat in later for those who desire.
We don’t think being a vegetarian is too much of a challenge but you have to be flexible and willing to understand that outside of beans, dried beans and more beans, finding other proteins isn’t common out here. You and the crew might find the occasion to get some tofu, eggs or some seitan but by and large beans are easily packable, incredibly versatile and will be commonplace.
How do vegans handle it?
Honestly, this can be more of a challenge. Veganism is a diet that relies heavily on fresh produce, lots of adaptive ingredients and a good local grocery store. We have none of those things.
We also find that outside of an amazing salad, vegan recipes take a bit more thought and time then we have to give here in our little camp kitchen. If you are a strict vegan and would have difficulty being flexible then you will have a difficult time keeping up with the demands of cold weather, long days and the desire it creates for hot food with dense calories.
That being said we have had vegans who managed themselves quite well without putting additional demands on the group. Flexibility is key.
I cannot eat gluten, can I still join?
Processed grains are a big part of how we make it out here. Most of the grain products we eat are bought in bulk because we are feeding a lot of people. Like we said, we eat well but we also eat a more traditional American approach especially for lunch and breakfast. You will find a lot of bread, crackers, pita bread, bagels, tortillas, and pasta on our menu. We also love rice cakes and good buckwheat pancakes.
We have found with the increase in gluten free products such as lentil pastas, or veggie rices that we are able to keep some supplies on hand for those that cannot have gluten or have an intolerance. Again, the key here is flexibility. We need to understand upfront what your needs are. We definitely have had celiac and gluten free folks thrive out here with a bit of planning and personal responsibility.
What about allergies?
One big thing to keep in mind is that peanut butter and nut butters are some of the most common fats we get to eat out here. We love it and couldn’t imagine life out here without it. Really, we can’t imagine it…we are trying….
Almond butter? Too expensive. Seed butter? Too expensive. No nut butter?!!! We might as well head to the city now. Seriously, fat is a big part of what we crave and peanuts and nuts are a primary and daily source for us. Nuts are ubiquitous so we can’t control where nuts have and have not been on campus. They are everywhere and cross contamination could be very likely.
Depending on how you have managed your nut allergy in the past this may not be a problem for you. Also, depending on sensitivity it might be a non-issue. We just need to be honest with each other so full disclosure is important. For some this might not be a problem but if your allergy is severe and you still think you could come, disclose it on the health form or drop us an email and let’s talk.
Other food allergies?
Other foods that we have on our regular rotation are dried fruits, lentils, beans, rice, granola, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, candybars, coffee, tea, etc…
If you have a specific food allergy that was not discussed and would like clarification then please drop us an email.
What about religious restrictions?
Kosher seems to be easily accommodated by eating vegetarian. For this and any other restrictions keep in mind that we cannot adhere to strict food prep protocols in our camp kitchen or in the backcountry.
We cannot routinely adapt meal plans around holidays or other religious requirements but since we focus on group living, group cooking and group collaboration, you may want to share your cultural or religious preferences with your team. This is a group decision and certain meal protocols will have to be managed collaboratively if people desire.
Generally speaking we trust that people can manage themselves but you must remember we will be living as a group. Meals will be mostly prepared and shared together.
We trust that as a team most people can solve and overcome obstacles, should they exist, and end up with some yummy food to share together.