Friday, March 9, 2012

(Camp) Food Memories

When my wife asked me to write these blogs on Friday’s, she wanted them to  be about “recipes” (who uses those when you’re camping anyhow) and campfire cooking. Honey, I promise next week I will share some black kettle goodness. But this week I want share a memory or two that I have about  camping and food.
                  I never forget that I have really been blessed at home in  a very simple way. I have never had to deal with hunger. I have always had food on my table, or at least the means to put it there. That hasn’t always been the case outdoors though.  There have been times in life where what I had to eat wasn’t what I really wanted to eat.  I once had my jaw wired shut for 6 weeks after a surgery. Everything I ate had to come through a straw.  Twenty five years later I can still remember just how GOOD that cinnamon roll tasted the day they cut those wires (although I could  only open my mouth ¼”, and had to break off itty bitty pieces)!
(had to include a picture of a pleasant camping food item)
                  When I first ventured into dutch oven cooking outdoors,  Peggy and I had another, similar experience. We were going camping on a long weekend and I was so excited about trying out my new “method” of cooking that I forgot just about every other cooking utensil except that black pot. Now Peggy and I are the type of people who require coffee in the mornings. You know the type. Well I had forgotten the filters, but worse,  I had forgotten a small saucepan in which to heat water. I started a fire and soon I was ready to try making campfire coffee.  We had cooked dinner (I forget exactly what it was) in our only dutch oven the night before. Now, I don’t care how well you think you cleaned that pot out the night before….. It ain’t meant for making coffee in the next morning. By the time the water was heated, it had all kinds of leftover (how shall I put this) “dinner” floating in it. To make matters worse though, the paper towels that we did have passed the water too quickly to act as effective coffee filters.  I had to resort to boiling the grounds in the pot and then filtering out the flotsam & jetsom later. That was the single worst tasting cup of coffee I have ever had in my life! But I remember it and I was happy to have it. The results of not having it would have been far more miserable.  
                  I have had other close calls outdoors with food (on a backpacking weekend with my dog, I  gave my last cup of water to the dog because I thought he needed it more than I did) and some were un-comfortable (or at least un-palatable). Each time though, that next meal , nasty cup of coffee, or just fresh water have held a special memory for me. If something gets burnt in the campfire tonight, or you forgot a key ingredient for breakfast tomorrow, just remember it could always be worse. You will probably remember your next meal  as being just a little bit better than it really is… and that alone should make it special.

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