Top Gear #5 Titanium Spoons
Mountain food is best kept simple. I used to spend time preparing meals but in recent years I've realised that it's worth investing in some quality dehydrated food for most mountain adventures (nowadays we almost exclusively use choices from the Lyo Expedition Food range supplied by our friends at Base Camp Foods).
But, this top tip isn't actually about the food itself. It is about how to eat it efficiently. With all these modern innovations in dehydrated food technology all that is now needed to prepare delicious outdoor food is an efficient stove to heat water and a spoon to eat it with. The food pouches are designed to stand up and the food can be scooped straight from them. No washing up and good quality and energy rich food in no time.
It is really simple, but then that whole beautiful simplicity falls apart if one simple link isn't up to the job.....and that link is your spoon! Too flimsy and it will snap (plastic Sporks are prone to this) and too short and you'll end up either unable to scoop out the bits at the bottom of the pouch (and that's usually all the tasty sauce!) or you'll cover your hands in the food that's been lingering around the top rim of the pouch as you try to reach those last remnants. Neither options will bring you inner happiness as you try to appreciate the beautiful sunset from your wild camp site while having to lick sauce off your hands (even messier if you are wearing gloves!) or fight to get to that last piece of tortellini.
So, it turns out that your inner peace is all about spoon choice and if George Orwell was describing camping spoons his words would be simple....all spoons are equal but some are more equal than others! So, the most equal spoon is a long handled titanium model. They just don't come better. Titanium has everything going for it. It is very light (the Optimus model pictured above only weighs 19 grams), very strong (think used to make space rockets kind of strong!), easy to clean after use (I must admit I tend to just suck mine clean but of course you could use more conventional methods!) and very cool (like I said....it doesn't get cooler than a metal used to make the International Space Station!). The downside? There is only one. A long handled titanium spoon will cost something between 10 and 12 pounds. This seems pretty pricey when you can buy a plastic one for a pound or take a metal one from your kitchen drawer. Having said that, choose wisely and it will last so long you'll be handing it down to the grandchildren.
So, providing you haven't feinted at the cost and assuming you've decided titanium is the way to go there's a few key features to look for. A good shape to the spoon scoop is very important. Some spoons also use a textured surface on the handle and then a polished finish on the spoon scoop. This is worth seeking out as the textured part is nice and grippy and the polished part gives a perfect eating surface. Other than that it is all about simplicity and one of the best types I've come across is the Optimus model pictured above. Infact, I really can't think of a single way it could be improved. Happy munching.