In our recent Darien video we showed a simple way of cooking noodles in a section of bamboo. In the past I had boiled water in bamboo and knew it was a great resource used by indigenous cultures all over the world. Much of my knowledge and firsthand experience had come from my good friend, fellow instructor, and international man of mystery Reuben Bolieu. Reuben has spent a lifetime travelling the world, much of that time has been in jungles with the indigenous people cooking over firepits. If I was going to learn from someone, this is the guy.
Once we obtained a bundle of arm thick bamboo, class was in session. In the Darien video, I showed a very basic way to cut the section out to form a lid in between the nodes and struggled with it a bit. Reuben showed me a different technique which forms a tighter lid, as opposed to one that just rests on top. This technique was not only easier, it was more controlled and safer. I liked his technique much better.
Over a period of three days we boiled water, cooked an omelet with shrimp and vegetables, steamed fish and vegetables, and cooked rice all without using any metal pots. This was all accomplished in sections of bamboo. In Southeast Asia, bamboo is used for everything from cooking utensils and furniture, to shelter and scaffolding.
While there may not be many places where you can find bamboo of decent size in the wilderness areas of the U.S., there are often stands that have been privately planted. Bamboo, a member of the grass family, spreads like wildfire and often property owners are happy to have you remove it. Please make sure you get permission first. Where plentiful, Bamboo is an awesome and highly versatile and resource and makes for a fun learning experience and a novel way to cook.