I dehydrate salami. Just buy the stuff already pre-cut, either throw it in a dehydrator or lay it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven on the lowest heat. It keeps forever in a ziplock freezer bag, requires no prep, and has plenty of yummy fats and protein. I use it as meat for all meals that don't have another protein source.

I do a lot of stews on the trail. Hamburger is my favorite. I cook up some hamburger, put it in my salad dryer (the one with the hand-cranked spinning basket) to remove the grease, then throw it on a dehydrator tray. Then frozen mixed veggies and country-style hash browns (the cubed ones) go on more trays. Once everything is dry I combine a handful of hamburger, veggies, potatoes, and a packet of tomato soup mix. A bit of cornstarch, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onions and a pinch of crushed red pepper finish the meal. Just add boiling water, some cooking oil and wait 10 minutes. I've been substituing small bits of pounded jerky for the ground beef with good results. It's got to be beaten with a mallet or it takes forever to rehydrate.

For breakfasts I have grits with molybutter (a dry butter flavoring) with a squirt of cooking oil. It makes it taste reasonably like buttered grits. Mashed potatoes also are a favorite day-starter, especially the flavored ones. Some mornings it's dehydrated eggs (the cooked kind) with an ounce of bacon bits, a handful of those dehydrated potatoes, salt, pepper, dehydrated onions, garlic powder and a tablespoon of dehydrated salsa (Pace Picante dried on a fruit leather sheet and then thrown in the spice mill to powder it). Don't forget the oil! It makes a huge difference. For coffee I use the instant stuff with a twist. I put some espresso beans through the spice mill so it's a fine powder. When I add that to the instant it's like night and day! Not quite as good as freshly brewed, but it comes close enough.

I usually don't bother with a cooked lunch. I keep a bag of trail mix in a pouch on my waist pack's belt. Now I could keep it -in- the waist pack, but I occasionally hike through bear country and for those occasions I don't like the idea of smelling like nuts. Having the pouch separate lets me leave it in my cannister when I make camp.

One of my favorite treats is fried chicken cracklin's. I normally don't eat chicken skins, so I save a few, batter them in Dixie Fry and then throw them in the deep fryer until crispy. They get broken up into vaccum-sealed pouches which then go in the pressure cooker to sterilize the contents. When I've been out for a few days and start craving KFC, I break into a pouch.

I guess it helps that I like to cook, but that's at home. On the trail almost everything I eat is either right out of the bag or prepared with boiling water. I hate doing dishes on the trail. The food dehydrator has paid for itself many times over in savings on commercial dehydrated fare and I like the ability to alter the taste of the food to suit my preference. If I don't like the way a dish comes out, I change it. The best part is that everything I take on the trail is what I eat at home (no dietary surprises) and I never eat the same meal twice unless I want to.

NOTE: This is posted on behalf of [color:"blue"]NiytOwl[/color] who posted in the Food Forum on 02/24/05.
" Not all those who wander are lost ! "
J.R.R. Tolkien