Going Dutch

Apparently the term “dutch oven” came about because the Dutch were very advanced at producing cast metal cookware in the 1600s (who knew…well, besides Wikipedia?). 

We started with our first dutch oven way back in the ’80s: two pie tins connected with binder clips. It worked ok, but there’s a reason that REI doesn’t sell binder clips. We graduated to a cast iron dutch oven (21 pounds, not very practical), and then to an aluminum version (5 pounds, almost practical), and finally to the Banks fry-bake (just over a pound, pure genius). The fry-bake is arguably the finest kitchenware ever made, and we don’t think that’s hyperbole–a word which incidentally was also invented by the Dutch (ok, not really).

Our buddy Geoff with peach cobbler in an early prototype, 1988

Anyway, we are big fans of the fry-bake for everything from toasted bagels to enchiladas, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it has changed our backcountry kitchen forever. No matter how hard we try, nothing ever seems to burn in that thing.  Nothing.

On just about every trip, from floats to backpacks to car camping, the fry-bake finds a place in our kit. One bite and you’ll know why.

tortilla pie
Suzy and Sara with Cheat River Tortilla Pie at Teeters Campground, West Virginia. Use no-bake noodles and the lasagna recipe on the box (so much for big secrets). For ricotta mixture, add about 1/4 cup of parm cheese, 2 eggs (beat them first), and a half bag of chopped spinach (squeeze moisture out first).

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