When this idea came to me, what a flood of memories and associations crowded out of my memory - apples baked on a stick over a campfire, my Grandmother's project of roasting potatoes in the fire to celebrate Guy Faulkes Day (they were memorably underdone in places, scorched in others), my mother's picnic baskets full of goodies, Campfire Girl foods such as smores, mock angelfood cake, and meals cooked in foil. I remember eating freeze-dried dinner on a backpacking trip while watching the sun set on the Maroon Bells in Colorado, beside a roaring waterfall in Tennessee, and by a meadow looking up toward the summit of Mt. Rainier. I picture my sons devouring pancakes on a camp-out and toasting hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire - now that they are off about their lives I get to toast my own marshmallows.
We eat in our garden every evening we can during the summer. It is beautiful and serene and the food tastes great. I am the family griller, getting great satisfaction from cooking over fire. Our camping meals have become more decadent, often with wine and an appetizer. We once took a guided trip on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The two guides were masters of the dutch oven and laid a feast for us every night - they even showed off by bringing out ice-cream the third evening (they had it stored on dry ice) served with flambéed sauce.
The thread that runs through all these outdoor meals is that the food tasted extra-delicious. Maybe it is the fresh air and exercise that often precedes outdoor meals that makes the food taste so good. Maybe it is a deep satisfaction in being close to Nature, away from our usual duties and surroundings.