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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE 4X4 COOKBOOK (article first published : 2001-12-3)

Rita van Dyk has produced her third book, a softcover publication, titled The 4x4 Cookbook. It offers more than 300 filling and tasty campfire recipes that have been selected and adapted for outdoor enthusiasts.

The soothing front cover picture sums it up – follow Rita van Dyk’s advice and you could sit and enjoy a quiet evening in a camp chair watching the glowing sunset instead of getting frazzled over what to feed your fellow intrepid travellers.

If only I had been able to read this extremely useful and informative cookbook before spending seven days with eight hungry campers in the Kalahari! The planning and preparations notes are invaluable. If I used Rita Van Dyk’s professional checklist, we would not have been without an essential piece of camping equipment – a mallet.

Back home on a braai fire in the garden and using camping equipment, I tried out one each of the recipes for meat, pasta, and dessert. All were easy to prepare and make and very palatable; I should think the food would be even more so around a campfire after a happy day of “bush whacking”.

Most recipes offer variations should the ingredients not be readily available and handy hints are dotted all over the place. Such as that of adding a pinch of salt to powdered milk to improve the taste. Or packing soya mince for emergencies so if you don’t have enough food or floods prevent you from getting to the shops, you won’t starve! There’s also a nifty way of browning the top of a dish or melting cheese by using a metal sheet.

The book is a handy and easy size for using and packing. Well, Rita van Dyk should know her business. She has worked for Penduka Safaris as a freelance cook on many mobile safaris into the wilderness areas of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. She has also worked on film shoots in the Namib Desert and the Richtersveld. She lives in the Hennops River Valley where she runs a book marketing company with her husband Johan.

The 4x4 Cookbook is published by Struik and retails around R89.95. – Sheina Wood




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