Deepening our connections to the outdoors through food for #GiveBIG

There’s endless information out there to get you outside safely. What is often overlooked is the role that food plays in creating deeper connections in the outdoors. Mai-Yan from Dirty Gourmet shares her love of food for #GiveBIG.
Mai-Yan Kwan Mai-Yan Kwan
Co-Author of "Dirty Gourmet"
May 09, 2018
Deepening our connections to the outdoors through food for #GiveBIG
Photo by Sarah Connette.

You can find endless information to get you outside safely: what gear you need to section hike the PCT, the route to take to navigate snow-capped peaks, the weather you should avoid to ensure a safe trip. Often overlooked is the role food plays in the outdoors. I don’t mean the general presence of fuel to survive, but rather how it creates more memorable outdoor experiences for you and your community.


Eight years ago, I bonded with my friends and co-authors Emily and Aimee over a shared appreciation of food, specifically healthy and delicious preparation for backcountry trips. As active women in the outdoors, we believe nutrition should be as much a part of the outdoor experience as activities, locations, and five star views.

Research shows that the smell of food can trigger fond memories and help us make new ones. For me, connecting over a meal is just as meaningful as the connections made while paddling or getting to the top of a peak with your friends. It’s the driving force behind our newly released cookbook Dirty Gourmet: Food For Your Outdoor Adventures published by Mountaineers Books. The sharing of meal preparation on Mountaineers outings deepens our connections to each other and the wild places where we play.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. In a recent interview with  Ananth Maniam, an alpine scrambling volunteer, he's asked to talk about his favorite "extra" thing to take on trips:

“Everyone knows my 11th essential is ice cream," he says. "People who've been on trips with me know that I talk about ice cream and food all the time. Plus this has been a great ice breaker I use when I lead hiking trips. Works like magic!”

We are inspired by the work of The Mountaineers, both through its book publications and in creating volunteer-leaders to offer thousands of outdoor courses and activities for 13,000+ members each year.  Please join me and my co-authors in making #GiveBIG donation to support the work of The Mountaineers!


Your donation helps ensure the future of this community of adventurers. Campfire meals provide opportunities to reflect and share with others on the journey. The offer of delicious baked brie or a plate of sausage pesto at the end of a long can lead one to a lifelong friendship. Help make these experiences possible. 


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