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My idea of heaven is all the fresh air I can take in and all the good food I can cook. So I can't think of a better vacation than a camping trip. Over the years my friends and I have polished ours into spa-style holidays, with meals that go way beyond trail mix. We bring along olive oil, Parmesan cheese, lemons, onions--the stuff we consider staples--but we also make room for a few luxuries, like Champagne and good butter. The cooler gets filled with not-too-perishable snacks that can do double duty in more complex dishes: smoked salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and nuts. We do our cooking on an environmentally friendly gas stove with a single burner. (In some areas campfires aren't allowed.) All in all, our trips depend on three things: carefully thought-out recipes, trustworthy equipment and a few extra elements you probably wouldn't expect. (Plastic Champagne glasses? You bet. They weigh next to nothing and really add an elegant touch to a sunset toast.) I guess we're slightly eccentric campers, but we don't mind--once our meals are planned and the ingredients are packed, paradise awaits.
Published May 1998
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