The creative cooler | What’s on your festival menu?

Summer is in full tilt and festival season is rocking. What’s a girl to eat?

There are plenty of ways to slice up your festival food. Coolers, careful planning and cleverness go far when packing for your favorite music, yoga or art festival. Sandwiches, wraps and hummus and crackers go far if you don’t feel like cooking. Bringing munchies especially works when there are food vendors on site. However, bringing your own food along does save cash — and you get to eat what you enjoy.

Vendors offer a variety of foods at festivals

For those who don’t want the fuss of cooking, think vacuum-sealed salmon, tuna in packages or flip-top cans, guacamole and quinoa salad. These are easy to pack and nutritious. Cheese and salami and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are also favorites for people on the go. Hard non-bruising fruit and any type of melon are perfect to bring along on a camping festival journey. There is nothing like chilled watermelon or cantaloupe to cool down with.

“Coolers, careful planning and cleverness go far when packing for your favorite music, yoga or art festival.”

Fresh veggies, such as carrot sticks and celery, are also refreshing to have in the cooler. Slice up cucumbers to slide into a sando or drop in your water for a refreshing summer drink. They’re good in cocktails, as well.

Pack foods that will keep well in a cooler

Jerky is great for snacking and it’s high in protein. Trail mix is a must and so is chocolate in any way shape or form.

Consider your favorite granola in a Ziploc bag and almond milk, in containers that don’t need to be cooled until after opening, for a quick and easy breakfast before the next music set. It’s nice to set up the camp stove and have a few go-to meals to heat up. Breakfast burritos can be wrapped and prepared ahead of time. Simply warm them in a pan for no mess or clean up.

Bacon and eggs to start the day

Most of us are moving and running from one show to another, so time is of the essence. If you enjoy cooking at the festival, don’t mind cleaning up or roper coolers, there are a ton of options. Get out the stove and cook up some bacon and eggs for breakfast and some rice and bean tacos, burgers or chicken for dinner. Couscous is quick and easy and can be a side for dinner or porridge for breakfast. New Moon Natural Foods carries packaged ethnic foods that are delicious and easy to heat up on a camp stove or can be consumed out the package. Consider packing some chana dal (similar to split chick peas) or saag paneer (an Indian dish of spinach and marinated cheese) for a taste of something different.

Banana Muffins can be made in advance

Vendors are plentiful at most festivals. Guitarfish Festival in Cisco, which is later this month, features local Tahoe vendors, Full Belly Deli, Starkey’s and Uncommon Kitchen, which all serve up fabulous festie food.

Burning Man, on the other hand, offers none of this. Many camps prepare and gift food, but radical self-reliance, one of the tenants of the festival, means you must come prepared and packing for a long week in the desert is an art form.

Most festivals do not allow glass on the grounds, so bring a flask or Nalgene for your cocktails. Fluids are imperative. Bring lots of water and stock electrolyte packets.

Remember, summer is hot. Foods need to be kept cool before bacteria sets in. According to the Food and Drug Administration, perishables should not be left out more than 2 hours if temperatures are below 90 degrees and 1 hour if above 90 degrees. If you are not sure how long your perishable food was not in the cooler, throw it out. Keep perishable food cold at or below 40 degrees in coolers with ice or frozen gel packs. And, fill the cooler. A full cooler will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that’s partially filled.

Have a great festival season and remember to get your nutrition in before dancing into the night.


READ MORE  Find more inspiration for dining on the go