My go-to fun fact, when anyone asks, is that I went to nature camp for eight years. This weird fact is very much a conversation starter. At camp, I learned a variety of wilderness survival skills and other weirdly useful practices. Each day started out with the entire group playing a game and then building a campfire together.                                                            

From this camp experience, I also got to make and try a wide variety of foods made solely in the campfire. Nothing was off limits for cooking in the fire. People could toast their peanut butter sandwich, their grapes, or even heat up their Cliff Bar. The weirdest foods I've made in a campfire are:

1. Salmon

water, cake
Maddy McGunagle

To cook the salmon, the filet was covered in lemon and then wrapped in a large leaf. The leaf was then coated in clay and baked in the campfire. 

2. Venison

I didn't know what venison was until approximately two minutes before my counselor put it on a makeshift stove in the campfire. For those that don't know, it's a better way of saying meat from a deer.

3. Snake

A group of campers found a snake and decided to toast it on the fire for everyone to share. This camp was not as primitive as this sounds. Maybe it was just a slow day in the curriculum, who knows?

4. Mac and Cheese

The mac and cheese wasn't technically made in a campfire, but it was made because of a campfire. One day at camp, we made bowls out of tree bark; and to test them, we made mac and cheese. Small rocks (not quartz because they would explode) were put into the fire to heat up and then were placed into water in the handmade bark bowl. The heat from these campfire rocks boiled the water needed to make the mac and cheese, without ever using a burner or the fire itself. The mac and cheese ended up being gravelly and ashy. Would not recommend.

5. Wintergreen Tea

The wintergreen was picked on the camp land and tossed into a pot of water and boiled on the campfire. This was the best part of camp on a colder, rainy day. 

6. Coffee

The coffee was placed in a percolator and hung from a long stick over the campfire. A percolator is a way of making coffee, where boiling water flows through a pot that has a smaller container of ground coffee beans. Once there is a boil, the percolator is taken off the fire and left to simmer. From there, you can get your caffeine fix even in the woods.

7. Bread

This was my absolute favorite thing I've ever made using a campfire. Making bread was an end-of-camp treat. Everyone had to find a long stick and wrap dough around the end to toast in the fire. The bread was then dipped in butter. Trust me, it was way better than it sounds.

8. Milkweed Leaves

Milkweed plants are known for attracting butterflies. More lesser known, however, is that their poisonous leaves can be boiled and eaten. Once boiled, they are not harmful, but taste and look like spinach.

9. Banana with Warm Chocolate

Jocelyn Hsu

I really didn't know what to call this treat. My birthday always fell in the second week of camp, and my counselor would bring in bananas and chocolate to celebrate. The banana was sliced open to put the chocolate inside. From there it was put in the fire so the chocolate would melt. All I can say is that it was amazing.

Obviously, I did not have the most normal camp experience. Who else can say they tried snake that they and a group of their friends cooked on a fire?  Not many, I can guarantee you that. I will probably never make snake again, but I do know that you don't need to have an oven or a stove, or even a Keurig to make interesting snacks.