Cooking Over a Campfire

Over the years, many of my friends of all ages with autism have been intrigued with the process of cooking over a fire. Even people who have never shown much interest in eating have taken bites of food they have helped prepare over the colorful glowing embers and dancing flames.

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Take a look at our podcast, “Summer Campfires” for some tips about building a fire. Then try some of the recipes below, adapting them as needed for special dietary restrictions and very selective eaters.

S’mores. It is always fun to give your friend with autism a chance to help out by making a list of items needed for s’mores and shopping for them at the store – with your assistance only as needed. So, for example, if he is able to do so, let him find the ingredients in the grocery store without your help. Traditional s’mores use graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bars, and marshmallows. You can also try a less messy version by using the chocolate flavored graham crackers and marshmallows.

Bread on a Stick. Just stretch a canned butter biscuit into a long thin shape and spiral it around the end of a long stick. Wait until the flames have died down into glowing coals and slowly “bake” the biscuit over the fire, turning the stick slowly until your Bread on a Stick is golden on all sides. Slip it off the stick, let it cool a few minutes, then enjoy this delicious treat. I’ve seen some of my rather impatient friends with autism cook their bread very patiently.

Tip for the day. Many different snacks can be adapted for the campfire without too much special equipment. No need to cook the whole meal over the fire – just enjoy simple foods with one or two aspects cooked on the fire. It is an intriguing process for all. Enjoy!

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me a confidential email at with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism.

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