Camp Chef Makeover: Mess Sergeant

Cook for a group...with style.
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Will Old, 40, Denver, CO

Diagnosis Often cooks for a dozen friends, meaning heavy loads and bland meals “I simplify meals to save weight and time. They’re high-calorie but lack spices and protein,” Will says. “For portion sizes, I err on the side of too much and end up cursing my behemoth pack.” His main meal: spaghetti with garlic, onion, and tomato paste, and bread (usually smooshed).

by Claudia Pearson, NOLS rations manager. Philosophy: “Though hunger makes the best sauce, meals should have a little charisma.”

Meal Rx We enlivened Will’s pasta dish with tasty accents; shaved weight by using dehydrated ingredients and fast-cooking angel hair; and swapped in crush-resistant tortillas.

Troop Tip Don’t overpack as a hedge. Instead, plan realistic portion sizes, then bring calorie-dense desserts, like chocolate almonds, to fill up any still-hungry bellies.

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