Posts in food

August 1st, 2013  |  Filed under News

2013 Health Department Permits for BRC Kitchens

Dust City Diner, 2011 (photo by Christina Jackson)

Dust City Diner, 2011 (photo by Christina Jackson)

In order to fight the threat of food-borne illness on the playa, the Nevada State Health Division (NSHD) has requirements for camps preparing food including the need of a health permit and an inspection. You must apply for and be permitted as a Temporary Food Establishment by the NSHD if:

* You wish to share, cook or serve food or non-alcoholic beverages to the general Burning Man population (gifting food).

* You will be cooking or serving food to large groups of more than 125* FELLOW CAMPERS of your theme camp on a consistent basis.

(If you have a communal kitchen shared by 125 or more campers, but meals are prepared individually, or in smaller quantities than for 125 persons, a permit is not required, however we highly recommend you research and review safe food handling practices, starting with the Nevada Division of Health information).

Here are the permit procedures and deadlines: Read more »

August 19th, 2012  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation

The Secret to Eating Vegetables at Burning Man

[Guest blogger Jennifer Scribner is a lazy foodie and enthusiastic Burner since 2006. As a Nutritional Therapist and the founder of Body Wisdom Nutrition, she specializes in helping people learn to prepare delicious whole foods to heal illnesses by healing digestive problems first. She wows her campmates and neighbors with seemingly gourmet meals that are actually based on minimal effort in the default world.]

The only vegetables I brought to my first few Burns were small packages of baby carrots. Anything other than that seemed like too big of a hassle. Why take time to fool with veggies on the playa when I want to be out participating? Plus, won’t they just go bad in a couple of days? I’ll stick to my string cheese and goldfish crackers, thanks.


By my fourth Burn I thought, “If eating veggies in my daily life makes me feel awesome, why would I give them up for the week when my body is exposed to extreme conditions?” I became determined to figure out how I could make eating veggies at Burning Man easy and convenient. That’s when I stumbled upon the secret: chop all your veggies before you leave for the Burn, then seal them up in plastic containers or Ziploc bags and pack them in your cooler. Read more »

August 14th, 2012  |  Filed under Building BRC

Commissary Love

Commissary Dust Night

A dust storm Sunday night at dinner came on like a monolithic white swirling entity with enough force to sand blast the surface of Mars and the huge Commissary tent where we ate creaked and shivered. You could hear the plywood walls out back straining against buckling as the Commissary crew and us ran into the white out to tighten straps and ropes, attempting to keep her from launching. Brad, the drink Man from Spectrum said he’d rushed out to the kitchen tents to keep them in place.

Afterward, as always, those pounding white walls of grit cleared like passing phantoms and glorious towering clouds hung over the mountain range to the west, moving slowly in the darkening sky into a long twilight of infinite sunsets.

And the Commissary cleaned up.

Drink Man Brad standing

Much has been most eloquently written of the DPW by Mr. Curley who’s captured the spirit and tenacity, the skill and true steel forged strength of these roughnecks who build Black Rock City and also the raising of the Commissary Tent. I can attest, after being here as DPW is setting up structure after structure in the 100 plus degree heat, working hard to set up the template upon which you will bring your insanity, that they do, indeed, deserve your beer.

However, I’ve been hanging out at the Commissary, helping Mr. Barcoderino and Sgt. Slaughter set up meal databases and meeting Hayseed’s crew of 10 or so people plus the Spectrum folks who are doing the cooking and they’re all actually also pretty baddass.

Read more »

January 27th, 2012  |  Filed under Afield in the World, The Ten Principles

Gifting the Seed of an Idea

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man's 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

I admit it. I search for related communities around the world embracing and incorporating collaboration and gifting into their everyday lives. With this lens, I stumble upon many interesting projects, ideas, and happenings around the globe. Given this years’ Burning Man theme, Fertility 2.0, the following example seems rather topical.

Ai Wei Wei holding the seeds from his Installation Sunflower Seeds at The Tate Modern

You can love it or hate it, but the theme this year is an interesting and timely one. The beauty of the theme is this: the myriad ways it can be interpreted. I’m sure there will be lots of mother-earth-vagina-art, which is beautiful in its own way, but I choose to view this year’s theme as a metaphor; one of sowing seeds. Seeds are an eloquent imagery that describe the process of dissemination, care-taking, timeliness and growth. These elements also aptly describe the formation of an idea, a community or a movement. There are many varieties of seeds in all sorts of shapes and sizes, all of which have evolved to interact with their environment. Seeds can be receptive to light, others to moisture, some even need fire to start their process of germination (hmmmm, I seem to like this one best). Their diversity is spectacular. Some seeds must germinate within a specific time frame, and some can survive for thousands of years.

And now for an example of seed sowing; the Incredible Edible project in the town of Tormorden in the UK.

Surplus vegetables grown at the high school go on sale, with all proceeds going directly back to the school. Image from

The lofty goal of Incredible Edible is for the town of Tormorden to become totally food self-sufficient in 7 years. How did the seed of this idea start? With a bit of something familiar to us – that good old gift economy. Three years ago Mary Clear, co-founder of Incredible Edible, did a very unusual thing. She lowered the front wall to her yard and encouraged passers-by to walk into her garden and help themselves to free vegetables.

There were signs asking people to take something but it took six months for folk to ‘get it’.

Now there are 1000’s of vegetables grown around town in 70 large beds. And one of the biggest recruiters for the project is officer Janet Scott. She watches from the station’s security camera as townsfolk come up and pick from three large raised flower beds in front of the police station.

“‘I watch ’em on camera as they come up and pick them,’ says desk officer Scott, with a huge grin. It’s the smile that explains everything.”

Why the smile, these vegetable enthusiasts are not thieves. These veggies are for taking. They are Free.

Have you seen examples of other seeds that have been sown? Please share them here.

And to find out more about Incredible Edible, visit: and Follow: @incredibledible


August 31st, 2002  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

The Amsterdam Ambassadors, or It All Tastes Nice with the Playa Spice

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

by Bucky Brian

Kees and Thys, a couple of “flying” Dutchmen, camped next to us. One tiny tent, one skimpy dome, intermittent shade, and a whole lot of love. Like me, they had a bad habit of getting up at dawn and cooking breakfast. Around Friday, they invited me over to share a huge pan of meat they were cooking. I grabbed some juice boxes and walked over to the luscious smell of artichoke heart turkey sausages. My own rations were down to the “just add water” variety and solid food in a pan (with butter!) was extremely appealing.

Thys, the chef du soleil, was cooking the meat quite slowly for a very, very long time. Enticed by, and eager for, yummies I commented on the protracted preparation. Kees explained that as the week slowly expired, so did their ice reserves. And with this, their food supplies. To more effectively make his point, he opened up their cooler—now a soupy matrix of gray slime and floating matter—and began inventorying their stock. Out came a dripping, half-used wheel of Gouda; two-thirds of a green pepper with black edges; something akin to potatoes; half a stick of butter; and various fruit impersonators. By now, Thys was serving the sausage on a plate, on a lid, and from the pan. Being the guest, I was presented with the plate (fine manners on the Playa, always!). This is when Thys enlightened me as to the state of the cooler encapsulated meat. “The sausage was smelling pretty bad, so we thought it was time to eat it. I cooked it a long time to try to kill it.” Internalizing a cringe, the best I could say was, “Oh.”

Time to think: This is bordering on madness! All their food turned days ago! The desert is a terrible place to get food poisoning! But…I want turkey. All right…hmmm… heat kills bacteria. Thys cooked this forever. There was logic to this madness. And, above all, I didn’t want to be impolite.

After insuring that there was nothing wiggling, I raised the bounty to my lips and took a bite. Oh, God was it good! Images of Playa stomach pumping and medivac rescue scrambled from the fore to the back of my mind. Looking up, the three of us chewed and grinned at each other with a slightly wild look in our eyes. I was savoring their gift and hospitality wholly, suckling the liquor of life through the teat of a sausage link, and marveling at my lack of faith in the blessings the desert provides.

Perhaps it was the community enacted through sharing, or the bond of taking a risk and succeeding, or just the power of the early morning desert light, but for all of the magic that I was privy to that week, this simple and earthy moment remains one of my favorites from my first Burn.

(Oh, I never got sick—of course!)