The Tucker Box

The recipes in this blog are for the most part, real recipes that have been used by the authors for years. They are all very simple to make and use basic tucker box ingredients. The meats can be bought from a butcher shop and the rest from any supermarket.

If you are a real novice at cooking, then start with something easy like “Burnt Water Stew” for a step by step guide to making a simple stew using only meat and veggies with no added herbs and spices. You will be surprised at the quality of the meal.

Even though we can cook up a storm in the camp oven, using all sorts of herbs and sauces and such, the simple wholesome flavour and the satisfaction of making such an easy tasty recipe never tires.

Here is a suggestion of “Tucker Box” ingredients that would be useful to have with you for making these recipes.

What You Need

  • Sense Of Humour
  • Plain Flower
  • Self Raising Flour
  • Corn Flour
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Corn Crumbs
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Mixed herbs
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Chilli Sauce
  • Spuds
  • Onions Pumpkin
  • Tomatoes
  • Tin peas
  • Tin corn
  • Zucchini
  • Lemons
  • Meats


As we have said above, most of the meat in this book can be simply bought from any butchers shop. The exceptions are the “Bardi Grubs” and the Yabbies. Advice is given later on how to catch Bardi Grubs. For the yabbies, most fishing shops sell opera house type traps that are built to the specification laws of the Fisheries Department and they are excellent to use. Simply place a bit of meat or a piece of soap into the bait net in the trap and throw into the water. These traps are great for overnight yabby catching expeditions as you can be practicing some camp oven cooking while you wait for the trap to fill.

The other type to use is the “Dilly”, which is looks like a butterfly net without the handle, you just tie your bait in, tie a rope to your trap, and then toss it into the water. Check it every five minutes by lifting straight up quickly and smoothly. Centrifugal force will hold the yabbies in the bottom of the net. These are good for catching yabbies as they don’t take much time to start working. Check the Fisheries Department for numbers of traps and Dillies allowed per person, these figures change now and again.

Aboriginal peoples in this country have eaten Bardi Grubs and the more widely known Witchety Grubs since time began. Our modern day palettes have been educated to be repulsed at the thought of this, however, we can assure you that once the squeamishness is overcome you will find a food source that is not only delicious but extraordinarily high in protein. A relatively small amount can go along way energy wise.

If you use more energy collecting food than you gain in nutritional value by eating it, then I’m afraid you are going to starve to death. This happened to a few of the earlier explorers.

The best way to find Bardi’s is to find a local who knows what he is talking about. No doubt he will be in the local pub, so you will obviously have to do quite a bit of research in the pub on this matter. Basically catching them, though simple enough, is a bit of a bush art and is best learnt by demonstration.

Once a “Bardi Tree” has been found, chip away at the ground surface below until you find the holes. These could be a meter or more in length and will have a fat grub at the bottom. Thread a bit of wire with a little ball of wool tied to the end down the hole until you feel a bit of resistance at the end. This is the grub, just dangle the wool around his face until he gets cranky and grabs it, then in one smooth motion slip him up his tunnel and over your shoulder in one careful pull. It is really impressive to watch some of the old timers doing this, and you will have respect for the craft yourself after you have ripped the heads of half a dozen perfectly good Bardi’s.


Ronnie Wilson