Book Reviews

Book Review: The One Burner Gourmet

Harriett Barker was in my eyes one of the pioneers of trail cooking and outdoor cookbooks. I have talked before about her second book, The Supermarket Backpacker – a book that I happen to love and has a prized spot in my large collection of outdoor cookbooks.

The One-Burner Gourmet was her first outdoor cookbook, originally published in 1975 and then second edition in 1981. During that time she brought out Supermarket Backpacker in 1977. She then brought out Gourmet on Wheels: 250 Easy and Delicious Recipes for the Rv in 1985. Here is a an old microfiche story from back in 1985 about that book.


The One Burner was from a time when hikers still carried a lot of heavy and canned items. The convenience items of today mostly didn’t exist. A reader picking up the book might put it back down and think “this isn’t for hikers!”…but simply put, people did used to carry and eat like that! (Yes, and that includes carrying fresh hamburger with you). Though many of the recipes don’t call for fresh so they can be adapted and updated. The recipes were not just for hikers though – they were for campers, car campers, boaters, canoeists and anyone else (hence some of the heavier weight meals!). When she did Supermarket later, she made that book completely hiker friendly.

So is it worth getting? Yes and no. It has ideas that inspire and if you car camp, it is very much worth it. It is a nice peek into the history of outdoor food as well.

There are some fun recipes to play with:

Fruity Rice

1 cup instant rice

1 can fruit cocktail

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1-2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup raisins

Drain the liquid from the fruit cocktail and add water to make 1 cup.

Put the liquid in a saucepan and add all the ingredients. Heat quickly, stir, often, until bubbly.

Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 min.

Serves 2.

~Modernize that? Sure! You can get 4 packs of fruit cocktail in most grocery stores in plastic tubs. Take one or two of those. The salt could go down to 1/4 tsp.

Homemade Candy Bar

Combine salted peanuts, raisins and a package of chocolate or butterscotch chips. Melt in a double boiler over hot water, stirring often. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper to cool and harden.

~You can’t go wrong with this one! For those who have never seen a double boiler, you can rest a heat safe glass mixing bowl on top of a pot of simmering hot water. The goal is don’t let any steam get in your melting mix, so don’t use a lid as steam will drip down. The nuts and fruit would be up to your taste.

Kandy Bars

2 Tbsp margarine

2 cups miniature marshmallows

2 Tbsp peanut butter

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

4 cups cornflakes

In a saucepan, melt margarine and marshmallows, stirring often. Remove from the heat. Add peanut butter, butterscotch chips, corn flakes. Mix until coated well. Press into a 8″ by 8″ foil lined pan.

Chill in refrigerator. Lift from pan and cut into bars.

~I’d use butter. I would also recommend using buttered parchment paper. So much easier!


One thought on “Book Review: The One Burner Gourmet

  1. Wow bring back memories.

    That was one of my favorite cookbooks in college. Simple and easy to fix. Loaned it out in late 80’s never to see again 🙂

    I am making a list of all the different cookbooks I have and if there’s one you need maybe we can trade for a cozy or something?

Comments are closed.