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Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling Paperback – February 22, 1998


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Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling + The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (February 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070344361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070344365
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan Kesselheim dries his food in Bozeman, Montana, where he lives with his wife and three children. He is the author of five books, including Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year and Going Inside, and has published hundreds of magazine articles.

More About the Author

I came to Montana in 1982 for three reasons:a woman, the land, and the quixotic urge to leap into the abyss of freelance writing.

I am still with that woman, Marypat Zitzer. We share three children, Eli, Sawyer and Ruby, all born in our bedroom near downtown Bozeman. We share decades of adventures, including two separate years spent paddling a canoe across Canada and wintering in a remote log cabin on the shores of Lake Athabasca. We have made money together, made a home together, raised kids together, become part of this community together, spent time outdoors in every conceivable environment and weather together, grown gardens and weathered tragedy and skied slopes and paddled creeks and walked dogs and watched soccer games and found joy together. We are partners more than we are spouses.

The land still holds me fast in its spell. Ever since I read Guthrie's The Big Sky as a teenager, the west, and especially Montana, has drawn me to it, made me breathe deep in response and lean toward its wide promise. The first time I came to Bozeman to visit Marypat, it was spring. The mountains that ring the Gallatin Valley shone white with snow. The bottomland was emerald. The creeks and rivers raged with snowmelt. Bluebirds and meadowlarks perched on fenceposts. Sandhill cranes stalked through grain fields. I was stunned. On a regular basis, I continue to be stunned by the power here.

Freelance writing really was an abyss. I plummeted to the bottom of it. I came from a decade of work as an outdoor educator. My parents couldn't believe I'd walked away from a secure position at a college. For years everything they say about the sketchy proposition of freelance writing came true - the repeated rejection, the poverty, the unrewarded discipline required, the scant encouragement. For years I did a great many things besides write to make ends meet. I planted trees, I worked a livestock yard, I clerked in an outdoor store, I carried hod. I wrote when I could. I sent stories to magazines. I had rare, small checks in the mail.

Our first canoe expedition across Canada, in 1985-86, was the turning point. After that epic journey, magazine editors finally paid a bit of attention. Stories began to sell more frequently. I sat down at my kitchen table with a legal pad and started writing and typing my first book. Two years later I actually found a publisher and sold the manuscript. In 1989 my first book arrived, tangible and precious as a first child. Incrementally, in fits and starts, my writing career grew and established itself.

Several decades along, I am fortunate enough to have eleven published books and hundreds of magazine articles in print. I've found myself writing curriculum guides, outdoor manuals, ad copy, cookbooks, adventure tales, equipment reviews, history, comedy, drama, profiles, environmental essays, editorial pieces. My stories have appeared in Audubon, Canoe & Kayak, Natural History, Family Fun, Men's Health, Backpacker, Outside, Montana Quarterly, Big Sky Journal, High Country News, Glamour, Montana and other magazines. My roles have run the gamut of columnist, editor at large, senior editor, and contributing editor.

I've had the good fortune to collaborate with talented and remarkable people along the way. For three years I shared the stage with classical guitarist, Stuart Weber, and we performed a duet of words and music we called Confluence. I worked together with Dr. Susan Wicklund to write her professional memoir, This Common Secret, the powerful story of a life devoted to womens' reproductive health and providing safe, humane abortion services. Most recently, I paired up with Montana-based photographer, Thomas Lee, on a series of stories profiling inspiring Montanans. A best-of collection of our photo/essay pieces makes up the 2012 publication, Montana: Real Place, Real People.

Thirty years ago I came to Montana, fired up with a romantic notion to set the world ablaze with words. That didn't happen. What came my way instead is a lifelong partner, a home in geography that inspires, children who make me proud, and the luck to make a living doing things I love.

Not bad for Plan B.

To find out more than you ever want to know, check my website/blog at www.alkesselheim.com

Customer Reviews

You need to have this book to have great meals on the trail.
Randall
I've had this book for a few years now, and have read it cover to cover several times.
"grgor292"
I am so happy for the practical advice and experience of the author.
BekahKnits

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 123 people found the following review helpful By M. L Strickland VINE VOICE on December 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have several books on dehydrating your own trail meals and this is easily the best. It is concise and full of good ideas and recipes. The guidance is flexible enough for the lightweight backpacker or for the canoe or pack mule traveler. For example, some of the recipes call for a dutch oven (too bulky and heavy for the lightweight backpacker) and others are suitable for a one pot meal (ideal for the lightweight backpacker).

A nice feature is the chart of drying temperatures and times for different foods. Also, the chart of calorie and protein content of different foods is important to making sure you get enough calories to keep going in the field and enough protein to keep your body from consuming your muscle tissue for fuel. There are also plans for building your own dehydrator for the do-it-yourselfer. The suggested one week meal plan is a good guide to get you started on packing for a trip.

The emphasis of this book is on drying individual ingredients and then rehydrating and combining them at meal time. This allows you to be more flexible in your meals, but takes a little longer at meal time. However, it also tells you how to use your own recipes to prepare a conmplete meal and then dehydrate it. Precooked spaghetti, rice or beans rehydrate and cook faster in the field. The book recommends having both types of meals with you for variety and flexibility. You can also dehydrate canned foods like vegetables or canned chicken, tuna or salmon and use them in your recipes.

This book is concise and a fast read, but packs a lot of information. This means that you need to pay attention to pick up all the important points.
Read more ›
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By "grgor292" on February 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've had this book for a few years now, and have read it cover to cover several times.It gives good advice on how to dry everything from plain vegetables to your leftover dinner.I even started to dehydrate my own eggs,and let me tell you they come back wonderfully.Great book that will have you tossing aside those $6.00 nasty premade meals.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Randall Barnhart on July 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Time was, drying food was a real pain and involved an old stove and a lot of attention. Now, with the proliferation of dryers on the market, anyone can dry, meat, fish, fruit and veg. The problem is that, in a lot of places, The how of drying is still a closely guarded secret.
No more. This is an excellent introduction to drying, and you don't need to be an expert to start either. Wanna dry? Get this book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ann Manes on June 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, concise guide to the process of drying as well as impetus to get the canoe onto the top of the car. While Kesselheim does give instructions detailed enough for the most persnickity among us, he also describes method, allowing the use of the imagination. Good tips, good recipes, wonderful guidelines -- and some memories to start the inner loon calling. Very glad I have this book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Matis on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're looking for condensed information and ideas on how to purchase & use a food dehydrator, preserve fruits vegetables and mushrooms, meats for home use, as well as ideas for planning back country packing meals, this is a very good little book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Harding on September 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this and lipsmackin backpackin at the same time and found this one to be the best. You can control the food you put in your body, you can use up garden extras, and the ideas for cross-use of items are excellent. Also small enough to pack along if you're not a lightweight hiker. I would highly recommend this as he's realistic about what you might want to purchase or not purchase to make the process easier - all budgets can afford his methods and he doesn't load you down with sodium. You can see my review of lipsmackin backpackin over there and find that sodium is a huge concern for me. It may not be a concern for you but even without that this book doesn't rely upon many store bought sauce packets or seasoning packets so you can choose what you like and enjoy your wilderness cooking that much more!

In other words, if you have a husband as I do with high blood pressure this book will give you options that others don't. :)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Shala Kerrigan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this primarily for the food drying ideas and was impressed by how much information is in it. Fantastic for backpackers and hikers, I'll use some of these techniques for food storage in my home as well and for making soup mixes that can be made easily when my family is in a rush. The author suggests precooking foods like rice and noodles, then dehydrating them so they cook faster.
There are extensive tables explaining what texture your finished dried food should be at, tips for storage and many recipes. Some of them are vegetarian and many of them could be easily adapted to being vegan as well.
He also includes plans for building your own food dehydrators, one heated by a light bulb, the other, solar.
A wonderful inspiring book for finding new ways to pack nutritious and good meals.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
KESSELHEIM knows how to appeal to a useful purpose and makes a simple process an ease to work with. His book is what everyone should have on their bookshelf or carry a copy in your backback with some blank paper and pencil to plan future trail meals. You don't need glitz to be good. Christopher D. BORDEN - RCMP - Northern BC
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