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Colorado Bookshelf: Best Served Wild

Upgrade your backpacking meals with this collection of fuss-free, wilderness-friendly recipes.

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Don’t expect lavish al fresco menus fit for glamping in Anna Brone and Colorado-based writer Brendan Leonard’s new cookbook, Best Served Wild: Real Food for Real Adventures. The two outdoor enthusiasts and bloggers take a low-fuss approach to wilderness eats, making this collection of simple and supremely customizable recipes a boon for first-time campers and experienced backpackers alike. Best of all, the majority of the recipes feature easy-to-pack ingredients and require minimal prep, leaving you more time for outdoor adventuring.

Leonard and Brones’s cheeky, charismatic prose makes the book a delightful read. You’ll enjoy their musings on everything from brewing coffee in the backcountry to the benefits of packing a little junk food to enjoy on the trail. But the real reason to buy the book is for the straightforward vegetarian recipes. It’s an ideal tome for those looking to build their camping chef repertoire, or who just want something homemade to pack for a hike. The recipes are organized into three sections based on the type of outdoor excursion: single-day adventures, overnight trips, or multi-day outings.

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I enjoyed the honey-sweetened fruit bars, which took almost no time to bake and held up well in a crowded backpack. And the “fork-mashed hummus” (which I jazzed up with some garlic powder and red pepper flakes and spread atop tortillas) was a much-needed pick-me-up on a recent hike up Grays Peak.

While none of the recipes in this book would be considered works of culinary artistry, that’s just how Leonard and Brones intended it. After all, mountaintop views and alpine sunrises can satiate you in ways no fancy meal can.

$22; available at the Tattered Cover

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