No-Ice Menus

There has been interest in river trip menus that do not require ice. This has been a point of discussion on the Grand Canyon Private Boaters mailing list. So, I will post my own here and will also post others that are sent to me.


My Own:

This was made for two people. Adjust quantities as necessary. Mix up "A," "B," etc., as desired.

Add various condiments, like mayo in small packets, etc.

Add drinks and other snacks.

All breakfasts include drink

Breakfast A: Oatmeal (2 pkgs./person), sugar, fruit, cocoa, drink

Breakfast B: Toasted Oats (2 bowls), sugar, evap. milk (two 2/3 cup cans), Ovaltine

Breakfast C: Same as B, but with Raisin Bran

Breakfast D: Egg mix, salsa or hot sauce packets, oatmeal (1 pkg./person), fruit

Breakfast E: Spam, fruit, cocoa


All lunches include a Nutrigrain bar, nuts, candy, and drink

Lunch A: Two cans turkey, 1 can cranberry sauce, fruit, pita bread

Lunch B: same, except chicken

Lunch D: deviled ham, pita bread, fruit


Dinner A: Canned roast beef on mashed potatoes with brown gravy, fruit (4)

Dinner B: Spaghetti, parmesan, veggies, fruit (4)

Dinner C: Chow Mein, veggies, fruit (3)

Dinner D: Beef stew on mashed potatoes, veggies, fruit (3)

Dinner E: Tamales, veggies, fruit


Here's a recipe from Jonathan McC

Clam Spagetti in Red Sauce (for 6)

(2) 6 oz cans clams, reserve juice

(1) yellow onion, diced

(3-8) garlic cloves, mince

1/8 cup dried parsley flake

Saute' in 2 Tbsp olive oil, add (1) 14 oz can marinara sauce, 1/8 cup

wine, 1/8 cup lemon juice, and reserved clam juice. bring to simmer,

spoon out enough liquid to make a runny paste with 1/4 c flour and 1/4 c

grated dried romano/parmesan. Stir paste back into sauce. Serve over 1

lb. cooked spagetti, garnish with more grated cheese.

Augment with a salad if early in trip, canned green beans if deeper in


Goes good with red or white wine or lemonade.

Major drawback: you need HOT water to cleanup the marinara

Thai Peanut Pasta (for 6)

8 oz peanut butter

14 oz can coconut milk

14 oz can chicken broth (you can substitute boullion & river water)

(2) cans sliced water chestnuts (drained)

1 yellow onion

4 cloves garlic

(2-6) dried thai dragon peppers,chopped (seeds removed unless you're

really pissed at your boatin buddies)

1/4 c rice wine vinegar

1/4 c fresh minced (or prepared) ginger root

1/8 c soy sauce

2 aseptic packages firm tofu cut into 1" squares (aseptic needs no


saute onion, garlic, peppers, and ginger in a little oil, add all the

liquid ingredients, stir in the p-nut butter, add the water chestnuts and

the tofu. Simmer about 15 min. stirring frequently but carefully so as to

not break up the tofu chunks. Serve over rice noodle vermicelli prepared

as directed (available at asian markets).

chef's note(s): If you don't prefry the tofu, it retains a custardy

texture and is able to absorb flavors from the sauce. If you precook it,

it will remain tasteless, odorless, and a good argument for not

experimenting with vegetarian proteins. This sauce is also great with

stirfried chicken or beef (dust with cornstarch before frying), and

either chard, spinach, nettles, or sweet peppers but that wouldn't make

the recipe cooler free.


From Dick Hamilton

No ice food ideas for river trips


Pancakes (jam, butter, syrup) Krusteaz mix. (Blueberry mix very good.)

Orange and/or pear juice, small boxes or concentrate (requires bottle)

French toast, squeeze butter, jam, syrup. (Thick sliced French bread)

Assorted packets of oatmeal (irradiated milk?)

Bacon (ready cooked)

Hash brown potatoes (Costco dehydrated?)

with cheese and bacon/sausage. onions, sausage gravy (from a package mix), cook in butter?

Beer sausage ; chopped, fried with ?

Fried Spam w/English muffins, cheese slices (mustard, butter)

Black Forest canned ham – 1 lb. (no refrigeration). Slice and fry.

“Simply Fruit”, canned, to go with pancakes. (blueberry?)

Seal eggs with sodium silicate for storage?


Beef Jerky

Turkey Jerky (regular)

Pop Tart Pastry Swirls

Almond Joy – bite size

Baby Ruth miniatures .

Hershey almond kisses.

Sandwiches (packets of mustard, relish, mayo, pepper)

Small deli size bread with cheese slices (white and cheddar, mayo, mustard)

Pita bread with bologna, salami and mustard, etc.

Fruit pies.


Rice (and beans??) (with canned chicken?) (green peppers, onion, celery )

(Uncle Ben’s boil in bag rice)

Bento – rice and options: canned beef, gravy, canned/fresh veggies, hot

sauce, ??

Boston Brown Bread (butter, honey)

Burritos (shredded beef, burrito shells, cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, sauce, etc.)

Tacos (see above)

Mashed potatoes (dehydrated w/cajun gravy, butter)

Pasta salad (with chicken?)

Spaghetti with spicy sauce (parmesan cheese) (Canned meatballs?)

Taco pie/casserole (Dutch oven?)

Spaghetti pie/casserole (Dutch oven?)

Beer sausage. (last night because it keeps well)

Mashed potatoes (dehydrated), herbs, milk, garlic?

Serve with butter and/or gravy (from a package mix).

A selection of pre-smoked meats: pork shoulder, chicken, beef brisket,

etc. with baked beans and Dutch oven jalapeno cornbread.

Marie Callenders cornbread mix (Dutch oven). One can will serve 8 - 10.

Yakisoba noodles with canned chicken (fried), sauce, onions, celery,

green peppers

Canned baked beans.

Boston brown bread with raisins and small packets of cream cheese

Cabbage (for coleslaw, etc) will keep 1 week plus un-refrigerated.

Coleslaw, packaged will keep for 1 week(+) un-refrigerated but cool.

Canned beef stew with fresh onion and Bear Creek Chili mix. (VG, spicy hot)

Bear Creek navy bean soup mix.


Fresh pineapple.

Bread pudding (Dutch oven)

Fortune cookies

Fruit cake, light – see Baker’s Catalogue recipe.

Plum pudding - canned

Various cakes and cobblers cooked in a Dutch oven.


Powdered milk (or irradiated milk)

Cooking oil

Spices (salt, pepper, garlic power, etc.)


Various gravy mixes. Turkey, Cajun, etc.

1 pound bricks of cheese wrapped in cheesecloth and soaked in vinegar

then put into ziplock bags. Soaking in whiskey/rum would probably also

work. Not sure how it would taste.


From John Wells

As I’ve posted many times before- we've done 8 Canyon trips- no ice and wouldn't do it any other way. The menus you can create with canned fruits, meats, vegetables, together with rice and various pastas are limitless. Just walk down your grocery store aisle and look. Breakfasts can include, powdered eggs ( REI has good ones), precooked bacon, pancakes, oatmeal, dry cereal with fruit and canned or dried milk, tang, hot chocolate (not in summer), granola bars, breakfast bars, canned oranges, and on and on. As much as I know that peanut butter is seen by many as, well, plebian, it is still one of the best lunch foods. Also jerky, beef sticks, all kinds of nuts, canned or dried fruit, bread and crackers, and cookies. We have taken regular grocery store loaves of wheat, honey wheat, 7 grain, and rye bread and it has always lasted the whole trip in the middle of summer. Pack in it a large ammo can where it won't get crushed or wet and we have never had a problem with mold. I'm not a great cook and like to keep things simple but I think a good cook with some creativity and planning could even do better. I have an 18 day menu somewhere if anyone wants it. PS, you can take a much smaller and lighter boat with this method. I don't believe you need big boats in the canyon to run rapids, only to bring everything but (or including) the kitchen sink. This food is also safer from a spoliation aspect too.


From Dick Hamilton

Preserving Eggs

One gallon of the solution (1 pint of sodium silicate solution to 9 or 10 pints of water yielding a little more than a gallon) should preserve 75 to 100 dozen eggs (900 - 1200 eggs) according to Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living Old Fashioned Recipe Book. If you want smaller quantities just keep the ratio intact at the 1:9 ratio. ie: 1/2 cup to 4 1/2 cups or 1 cup to 9 cups or 1 pint to 9 pints of water. Here are the details of the method referred to as the Water-glass method. Pack the eggs when they are between 24 hours and 4 day old. Older eggs don't keep as well. Unfertilized eggs will keep longer than fertilized eggs.

Start with a clean crock or (6 gallon food grade) deep plastic pail. Boil the water and let it cool before you add it to the water glass. Then pour the mixed solution into the crock or pail. Remember not to fill the crock or container more than about one third full of the solution because you will be adding eggs.

Add the eggs. Do not wash the eggs before preserving them because the egg shell has a natural sealer on it that will be removed. Dirty eggs can be washed and used immediately. Make certain there is an extra 2 inches of solution covering them. In hot weather it evaporates pretty fast so watch it carefully. Cover the container as tightly as you can to ensure that no insects can enter the container. Store it in a cool dark place. Don't let it freeze.

It starts out as a clear liquid but gradually turns to a cloudy jelly. When adding additional eggs or making up for loss due to evaporation, just be sure to cover them with about 2 inches of solution mixed at a 1:9 ratio. Preserving the eggs in this manner will keep them for up to one year. Eggs should be washed thoroughly before using.

Be sure to follow any safety tips or directions on the sodium silicate container or from the pharmacist while handling the solution or Sodium Silicate itself.


From Lynn McLarty

If you don't want to take ice but still want some fresh salad, I suggest cole slaw. Cabbage and

carrots will last pretty darn long without ice, even longer if you keep them in a cooler with a little cold river water.

And of course the unopened pickles and mayonnaise will last indefinitely.

Approximate portions for 8 - 12 servings (depending on size):

Chop up one large head of cabbage, one lb carrots, 8 - 12 kosher pickles;

stir together with minimal mayo and a little pickle juice (for added

moisture and flavor), salt and pepper to taste.

This is not a sweet cole slaw like you get in most restaurants, it's more tangy. It's easy and it's fresh!


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