The Spoon Blog
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Hi There! Long time, no talk to! How you doin'? You're having a great summer? I hope so! I know I am! Summer's awesome, isn't it? It seems more relaxed, with just a really chill vibe, you know? Take camping, for example. Your busy trying to pack everything, load it all into the car, it's a hard hike into the campsite (if you're married to my husband anyway), then you have to set everything up. Let alone breaking it all down, bringing it all home and putting it all away! But it's still chill. It's still relaxed.
I'm not a huge fan of camping, mostly because the clean up seems to always fall to me (mom, right?), but I WILL say that I love, love LOVE cooking food over an open fire. Can I get a hallelujah? Or is it just me? We went up canyon for our traditional holiday cookout for Pioneer Day. Hot dogs over an open campfire. It's pretty much the ONLY way to get me to eat a hot dog. I love the blistery skin, the infusion of smokiness. Mustard and relish and I am GOOD TO GO! Well, actually, mustard and relish and a side of my mom's macaroni salad and I'm good to go (that stuff is seriously the bomb)!
But it's not just hot dogs. Bacon and scrambled eggs (cooked in a little of the bacon drippings, of course) in a cast iron skillet over a wood fire, coffee in a percolator, biscuit sticks... Wait, what? You've never had a biscuit stick? where you take a stick and then you wrap refrigerator biscuit dough around in a spiral and roast it over the fire? Then you peel it off the stick and dunk it in melted butter? Whoa buddy, that's some good stuff right there! Or how about the ubiquitous "hobo dinner" of meat, potatoes and veggies with butter and herbs in a foil packet tossed in the coals? SOOOOO good! There's just something about kicking back in a lawn chair with a cold beverage in one hand and food-on-a-stick in the other while the smoke swirls around scaring away the mosquitoes. I picture a cave-woman some eons back who was tired of serving the same, old, raw mammoth for dinner thinking, "hey, I like the smell of the fire, I bet it would taste FANTASTIC on mammoth...I wonder if I put the mammoth on this stick and just hold it in here..." and then Hubby comes home from a long day of being chased by a saber-tooth and says "Honey, this mammoth is the BEST you've ever made! What'd you do to it?" as she leans smugly back on her haunches and says "oh, it's just a little thing I thought I'd try out...I'm glad you like it! You're washing the sticks tonight!"
Of course. when we're all done roasting our hot dogs, or foil dinners, or mammoth it's time for dessert! And is there anything better than a good old-fashioned Toasted Marshmallow? In that particular situation, I think not. Ok, I know that we elevate the toasted marshmallow by incorporating it into the S'more, but you couldn't even HAVE the S'more without the 'mallow, so I stand on my statement. The great part is, that if everyone has their own stick to toast their 'mallow, then everyone can have their 'mallow cooked to their liking. I prefer mine fully melted with only a slight char on the corners. My mother sets hers aflame, blows it out, peels off the outside and toasts the newly created exterior, repeating two or three times per 'mallow, thereby getting more toasty goodness out of each one. Daughter likes hers still firm and barely golden on the outside.
The food is really only a part of the equation. The fire, the smoke, the family and friends gathered to share a meal out in the beauty of nature...All these add up to a gustatory experience that is pretty much unattainable any where else.
I feel more relaxed just thinking about it.