What kinds of food to bring to BM?

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I'm a BM virgin and hope to go to a BM hopefully by Y2K02. I've been searching around the BM website and haven't found much info on what kind of foodstuffs are good/bad to take to BM. Hoping for some info on what other people have taken with them.

Thanks! Also wondering if anybody else has made the journey from Minnesota to BM?

-- Michelle (martian2531@hotmail.com), January 01, 2001


As this is your first burn, I suggest you check out the bulletin boards and look for a large theme camp that has a meal plan. (Xara had a decent meal plan, from what I could tell.) Keep track of what you actually consume and you'll then know what you need to bring for next year.

Theme camps will expect you to sign up for many shifts maintaining their camp, which is more fun than it sounds.

However, if you're still determined to do this on your own, I still recommend working with at least 2 other people and consolidating your resources, i.e. 1 cooler, 1 camp stove, 1 set of pots & pans, cutting board, cutlery, coffee press, condiments, etc. Then again, I fly in from the east coast, so every bit of luggage I can reduce is vital.

Bring food that will be easy to store, prepare, serve, finish in one sitting and produce little trash. Once you've opened something, be it a watermelon or any vaguely moist food, the left-overs will desiccate and possibly be full of playa dust. Melons are hence strongly discouraged. Be prepared to take all your opened/undonatable leftovers and ALL OF YOUR LEFTOVER WATER *with you* off the playa.

Determine how much food you normally consume in a burning man-length time period. Bring no more than 1/2 to 2/3rds that amount. The Playa is an appetite supressant, even when you're not on those sorts of drugs.

Many folks bring tasty-bites, which are bags of foods that can be eaten as it, or warmed up and served over rice, which is most easily cooked * before* you're on the playa (saving you on-site water, stove-fuel and prep time).

You lose a lot of salt in the desert, so salty foods are necessary. chips and salsa, dried meat. Folks who drive (as opposed to fly in and rent a car and drive) suggest you pre-make juices and freeze them solid and use them as your first blocks in your cooler.

The survival guide has many guidelines about the best sorts of foods to bring. The "heloise" section is specific.


I was a food donations volunteer last year, so I can tell you all kinds of foods people don't eat (fresh fruit, food that has an involved prep- time on site), and somehow decide is "ok" to leave for the other attendees to dispose of.


Here's a excerpt of the rough draft of the article I had in last year's black rock gazette, to give you an idea of what NOT to bring:


1. Perishable items are hardest to donate. Eat them first. In spite of all our ranting and raving, you brought a watermelon. Now that it's here, EAT YOUR WATERMELON! Pick up the rinds and seeds. Better yet, don't let them hit the ground. 2. If you MUST buy ice for it, you probably CAN'T donate the leftovers. Even the Food Bank can't accept frozen food once it's thawed. Black Rock City can't accept it, ever. You'll have to keep it cold until you reach Reno. If you haven't already, determine when you're thawing this frozen, or refrigerated, feast. Make sure to invite your hungriest friends and neighbors.

3. If you can't finish it and won't be able to take it home with you, don't open it. Not even the outer box or bag. Sealed packages are easiest to donate and store, both on the playa and in Reno.

4. Use your water. Take a sip after every paragraph. This overlooked issue took me by surprise when I started researching donation options. Many of us are nervous about water, especially first-time attendees. I brought twice the amount suggested. I cheerily donated my leftover 8 gallons to the Commissary and left feeling thrifty, and not a wasteful consumer. Ha. At the end of weeks of clean-up, they still had a swimming pool's worth of water, thanks to "conscientious" folks like me. If you don't want to drive water back to Reno, have a shower party. It probably wouldn't hurt to drink more water as well.

5. Even if you meet all the conditions, be willing to drive your donations to Reno. Historically, the clean-up crew can't use every donation. Despite your best intentions, much of it will become trash, and a more expensive burden on the clean-up crew than shopping for dinner. If you're interested in leaving no waste, another stop on the way through Reno should not be too much to ask.


hope this helps, cthulhia

-- cthulhia (cthulhia@lse.org), February 23, 2001.

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