Camping, Part II: It’s So Easy, a Child Could Do It

July 09, 2009

One of my best friends has a fantastic recipe for Monkey Bread. She happened to mention in passing that she would like to make Monkey Bread during the camping trip, but was stuck on how to cook it without an oven.

“Monkey bread?!” I said, “Monkey Bread?! I will *make* you an oven out of a cardboard box and some tinfoil if that’s what it takes to get monkey bread on this trip.”

As it turns out, you actually can make an oven out of tinfoil and a cardboard box. I downloaded the instructions from a “Camping with Kids” website, and they looked simple enough. I mean, if a ten-year-old can do it (with adult supervision of course), I figure we’ve got a decent shot at making it work.

The basic concept is that you cover the cardboard box with tinfoil and set it over your baking pan, trapping the heat from the coals and cooking your food. You use four soda cans, half-filled with water, to elevate the pan over the fire. Because there’s not actually any flames (just coals), and your box is covered in tinfoil, theoretically, the cardboard will not catch on fire.


The boys were skeptical. I knew that if this didn’t work (and we gave ourselves about a 50% chance) my friend and I were going to be mercilessly teased for the remainder of the camping trip. That whole phrase, “I got the directions off a website for kids. A ten year old could do it.” would come back to haunt me.

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Well, the most amazing thing happened.


It took about an hour over the fire, and out came a perfectly cooked pan of monkey bread.

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The box didn’t catch on fire. We didn’t burn the monkey bread. We didn’t burn ourselves. It was delicious. Both the monkey bread and the victory, which we could then wave in the faces of all our skeptics.

We were gracious in our victory, however, and let them eat some.