Peace Corps Cooking: What Can I Cook In a Mud Hut?

Peace Corps Cooking: What Can I Cook In a Mud Hut?

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Faith Durand
Jul 9, 2009

Here's a fascinating question from John, who is about to leave on his Peace Corps assignment! He writes:

I'm going to be serving as a Peace Corps volunteer beginning in July, and my living quarters for the two years I serve will be essentially what you might expect for an extended camping trip. I'll have a mud hut with no power/running water, a fuel efficient cookstove, but that's mostly all I know right now. I do know that where I'm serving meat is fairly scarce (fine by me) but there's a good mix of fruits and veggies and maize is the primary staple (but a good amount of other grains/beans, from my initial research).

I'm wondering if there are any cookbooks you recommend for this sort of situation. The ones I already have seem pretty impractical, as they're pretty reliant on appliances and ovens (can't imagine I'll be able to accurately preheat one).

John, we are so impressed by your commitment to this trip and to serving in a place that would be very difficult for most of us! We haven't had much experience cooking in a mud hut, without electricity, so we turned to a friend who does have this kind of experience. She also served with the Peace Corps, in Haiti, for two years, and she had very similar cooking conditions.

SJ, our friend, recommends The Jungle Camp Cookbook as a good resource. It's out of print, but you may be able to get a used copy or download it here:

Jungle Camp Cookbook at Ethnologue

You can also find an adapted and updated version of that cookbook from Wycliffe, a Bible translation organization whose members often live in similar situations to yours:

Wycliffe International Cookbook at Amazon.com

Our friend's main advice, though? Experimentation is key! A camp stove can actually cook a lot of things you'd be familiar with; ingredients are usually the issue. Good luck, John, and we'll turn it over to the readers to see if they have more advice.

Related: Campfire Cooking: Best Easy, Frugal Foods for Camping

(Images: Peace Corps)

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