Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Trials and Errors of Camp Cooking

We recently came home from a 10-day camping trip that we took with our kids. It was a long "vacation". It wasn't really vacation at all, but a mixture of one dwelling being sold before the next became available. We put all our belongings into storage and kept only what we needed (or thought we needed) for camping. My husband worked the entire time, leaving the campsite in the wee hours of the morning and returning around dinnertime.

We don't have a cooler and so bought lots of shelf-stable items to cook; the new already-cooked rice that sits on the grocers shelf and needs only a small pan or microwave to cook, Parmalat milk in the tiny individual serving boxes so we could use them right away and not need to store leftovers, peanut butter, bread, crackers, canned cheese, cereal, canned chili, canned stew, canned tuna...canned whatever, you get the idea. We of course had s'more makings and for the first night we brought along a bag of ice and hot dogs.

The first night was fine, hot dogs for dinner, s'mores for dessert. The next day however, my friends Judy and Scott (and the most adorable little girl ever, their daughter Maria) came to see us. They brought us several things that we definitely didn't think of; tarps, extra folding camp chairs, a cooler and hot dog prongs. Suddenly, we couldn't live without a cooler. I had already made a dinner of tuna and crackers and fried potatoes, one part over the fire, the other on an electric skillet I had brought along (we got a site with electricity for the alarm clock). Judy and Scott had also brought more hot dogs and judging by the way my children ate them, I didn't make enough tuna and crackers. C'est la vie.

Now that we had the cooler (and the tarps just in time for an early morning storm) we filled it with ice and planned for more fresh foods. The next day, Martin's mom came to visit and brought us some absolutely delicious sweet corn and tomatoes. That night I went to the local store and got burgers and chips to go with the corn.

We also ran across a very quaint little store called The Old Copella Store and found that they sold their own free range chickens and eggs, organic food of all sorts and they carried a full line of Burt's Bees (heaven for me!). We bought whole wheat pretzels and I later went back to see if they sold falafel mix, but they didn't. I did purchase tahini and garbanzo beans and made some roughly mashed but delicious hummus that we ate with stone ground wheat pitas we had also bought from them. If you are ever in our neck of the woods you must stop by this store.

Sadly, my notes that I took down during the trip have been lost. I do have photos on the way though, and they illustrate several different ways of cooking.

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