My wife informed me last week that she believed that many of the authors/readers of western romance novels are well versed in Dutch oven cooking. Well that just plain makes sense. When she asked me to write something each week for her, I just figured she was politely trying to get me to improve my “communication skills” (when have I heard that before). But I do wonder how many people that read this are proficient with campfire cooking and are just looking for another good idea. Some are no doubt just learning, and still others might just be tempted to try it (well what are you waiting for?). In any case I’m going to try to satisfy all parties today.
I have not read my wife’s books. Sorry dear, just not my thing. She has let me read sections and asked for my perspective at times. But I read adventure stuff, about tough guys that brave the elements to conquer mountains and caves and… wait…that sounds like my wife’s books. Well one scene in her book recounts a story that parallels a tale about John Colter, and a certain escape from his Indian captors. Well here’s the trivial pursuit tie-in to campfire cooking for the experts.
When John Colter died in 1813 he apparently didn’t have a will. His estate was sold off and the executors list included “to John Simpson- one Dutch Oven- $4.00”. What a deal! That is until you realize that in 1813, $4 was the equivalent of about a week’s wages for most people. Can you imagine paying that for one pot! It goes to show just how valuable those pots must have been on Lewis & Clark’s expedition. There, that’s the little tid-bit for the skilled campfire cook. Part of the fun when cooking outdoors are the yarns that you spin (especially if you can share some of Colter’s colorful history alongside it)!
Here is a simple idea for a really great dessert dish. You can scale this up or down, but I use my 10” shallow pot for this one. More than enough for the family and maybe enough to share with camp neighbors as you visit. Grease the bottom and sides of the pot with butter while it’s cold. Now dump in a big can (I don’t read the labels so I can’t say for sure how big… just the large one) of peaches or two of the small cans. Sprinkle some cinnamon on it and then dump about ¾ of a box of spice cake mix, or carrot cake( or whatever is floating around in the back of the pantry when packing for your trip) around all over the peaches and sauce. Now cut several thin slices of butter and place evenly all around the top of the mix. By the way, do not mix the cake mix up with the peaches. It needs to be on top of the juices and it will absorb them as it cooks. Put the lid on and place about 8 coals on top and bottom and let it cook. I have really never got a good “read” on this one for time. You just need to watch it, and eventually most of that cake mix will crust up nicely. Congratulations you’ve just made a great tasting, quick and dirty peach cobbler. Enjoy.