Cooking lunch on a lava flow or in a geothermal hot spring is more common than you might think.

By Jelisa Castrodale
March 24, 2021
Advertisement

When a volcano near Mount Fagradalsfjall in southwest Iceland started spewing hot lava last week, it was the first volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula in more than 800 years. While some Icelanders were content to hike just close enough to feel the heat on their faces, or to fly their drones within melting distance of the volcano's bubbling mouth, others decided that it was the perfect setting for an impromptu barbecue.

TOPSHOT-ICELAND-VOLCANO-ERUPTION
Sunday hikers look at the lava flowing from the erupting Fagradalsfjall volcano some 40 km west of the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, on March 21, 2021.
| Credit: JEREMIE RICHARD / Contributor/Getty Images

According to AFP, a few people who made the four mile walk from a road near Grindavik to the volcano carried hot dogs and marshmallows with them, and then roasted their snacks over its still-molten lava. "It's absolutely breathtaking," 21-year-old engineer Ulvar Kari Johannsson told the outlet. "It smells pretty bad. For me what was surprising was the colours of the orange: much, much deeper than what one would expect."

Maybe that's a totally normal idea when you're within walking distance of a new and exciting (and once-in-a-lifetime) heat source, or maybe the Icelanders just got the idea from a group of Russians who did something similar. Last week, a group of hikers climbed Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the tallest volcano in Eurasia, and cooked a skillet's worth of sausages on the cooling — but still crazy hot — lava.

Perhaps sensing that the hikers could start a trend, the region's Ministry of Emergency Situations reminded everyone that volcanos weren't exactly great places to hang out. "Rescuers once again wish to remind you that the eruption of a volcano is an extremely dangerous phenomenon for humans," they wrote in a statement acquired by RT. "The danger is not only the lava flow itself but also phreatic explosions that can occur when hot magma comes into contact with snow and ice."

Here in the U.S., we've also had a couple of open air chefs who cooked using Nature's Kitchen. Last fall, 10 people were stopped by a Yellowstone park ranger after he saw them hiking toward Shoshone Geyser Basin while carrying cooking pots. When the ranger checked out their destination, he discovered that they'd already put two whole chickens in a burlap sack, and were boiling them in a hot spring.

Three people were ultimately cited for "foot traffic in a thermal area," and an Idaho Falls man pleaded guilty to violating park closures and use limits, paid $1,200 in fines, and was sentenced to two years of probation—he was also banned from visiting Yellowstone again for the next two years. (There was no word on what happened to the chicken, or whether they were actually able to eat what turned into a $1,200 dinner.)

I mean, we don't want to tell you what to do or anything, but you can make hot dogs and s'mores at home—no hiking boots required.