Primitive Kitchen and Cooking

Just as it may be in a modern suburban home, the primitive kitchen can be a center point of activity out in the woods. Garnish it as you like, but keep it as simple as can be to conserve energy and resources.

It should include a fire pit, as well as tools to help you to carry out your chores. You can make them out of natural resources if you do not have the modern version, such as spoons and tongs to grip hot rocks that you will use for rock boiling, as well as a support for a billy can to boil water or make a stew.

If you desire, an oven can be made as well. I ate a slice of pizza from the stone oven in the photo above. I don't think that we placed a rock to close up the front of it however, because of space constraints, and that it wasn't really needed. At another time others had meat cooked directly on the hot flat rock, which acted as a frying pan. The pizza cooked just fine.

Even without a front door, the heat is still being trapped to a degree by the 3 walls and top, which helps for cooking. It is the same principle as a reflector for the effect that it would have had.

Some points here about shelter, kitchen and game preparation locations:

Do not locate your shelter too close to the kitchen, and here are some of the reasons why.

1. Sparks from the fire in your kitchen near a debris hut don't mix well for you in a survival situation.

2. As much as possible, do not prepare game in the kitchen, but have a separate location that is downwind of your site. Body parts such as offal, bodily fluids and blood can attract bears and other animals to your site.

Whether experienced or not, it is the same principle as camping in bear country. You have a separate shelter, cooking and food storage area, each at a certain distance apart. I personally believe that the distance where the butchering will take place should be further away just to be certain.

There are different methods for preparing game, and it must be done properly so as to not contaminate the meat within. Have a look at  Primitive Cooking below for more information on the subject.

You'll always hear that it is important to conserve calories, which information is true, but if you caught yourself an animal, you would have replenished some calories to carry on your labors. To walk a slightly longer distance to prepare your game shouldn't be a concern. Do what is best however should there be a reason that you cannot, perhaps an injury coupled with fatigue.

It is possible to prepare game at the site of a trap, which will be inviting to other animals to come and see. This will give you an opportunity to increase your success at hunting.

Have a look at the Hunting and Fishing page for more details.

Primitive Cooking

Cooking food either by roasting, steaming or boiling is very important during a survival situation regardless of whether you are in an urban or wilderness setting. There is a lot of information on this subject to learn and I'll provide links below so that you can learn more.

Cooking makes the meat or plant or a part thereof more tender, palatable and edible. Many plants have parts that need to have their toxins rendered inert or removed through several changes of water. Meats may have salmonella, tapeworm, fluke or other parasites, or tularemia if it is an animal in the rodent family such as a rabbit or a squirrel.

Remember that there is a danger in the handling of the meat before it is cooked. If you have any cuts take care of them and be certain to not get infected. Birds may have parasites on them as well, so remember to have good hygiene practices at all times. Have a look at the Camp Hygiene page for more information.

The various types of cooking have their pros and cons, and certain methods are preferred over others depending on what is to be cooked. You want to remove any parasites but at the same time not destroy the vitamins and minerals your body so desperately needs.

In general boiling is the preferred method because you won't lose the fat. Prolonged boiling destroys vitamins and minerals including vitamin C which is very important for your survival. Add edible leaves and pine needles if available when the water has simmered to not boil away the nutrients. Pine needles are an excellent source of vitamin C. Eat and drink all that is in the pot except the needles to get the most nutrition. The needles will release the vitamin C into the simmering water, but discard the needles afterwards. Roasting over a fire can be done, however you'll lose the fat which is valuable. Also, be certain that the fire has been reduced to hot coals to roast your meat because flames will burn the outside of the meat leaving the inside uncooked.

If you create what is called a 'spit' place it beside the coals or small fire in this case and not over it, while placing a container to collect the fat that will drip below. This fat can be used to baste the meat as it cooks. If it is a larger animal you may need to cut off the outer meat when it is cooked to permit the remaining meat to cook more thoroughly. Spit cooking is when you skewer the animal and suspended it over a fire and rotate it to cook evenly.

If you have a camping stove or if you make a survival stove you can of course use that as well. You may cook food you have, boil water to make it potable or make a stew. It will however require you to have a pot. If you do not have one you will need to improvise. Have a look at the Coal Burning & Rock Boiling page for more information.

Here are some links to help you learn more about primitive cooking.
1. Wildwood Survival - Food and cooking.
2. Primitive Cooking
3. Ways of the Ancestors
4. Sharing Sustainable Solutions - Primitive cooking methods.

Primitive Cooking Utensils

You will of course want to have some sense of normality in your effort to survive your ordeal. Just like at home, you'll need utensils to eat as well as to be able to handle hot pots and food. There are primitive equivalents if you do not have the modern with you.

You can carve out a spoon, make potholders using branches to hang pots as well as make tongs with green branches. Green means live branches that are supple, and doesn't necessarily refer to color.

Coconut husks if you have them may be used as containers. Bamboo can be used to make cups given that bamboo is 'segmented'.

Once again as I have mentioned several times in this site, improvise. Make use of whatever resources are available, both modern and natural. Have a look at the Flint Knapping & Primitive Tools page. It might inspire you to have other ideas. Remember to be creative!

Have a look at the Videos page as well for more information on primitive cooking and primitive utensils.


Survival Food - Cattail (Typha latifolia)