I rarely write in the first person. It sounds so pompous and arrogant. As a little wrinkle in my personality, I am advised to get past it. Therefore, I’m taking a stab at it today.
There are many cooks, chefs, gourmets and others out here with specific opinions as to how to prepare and present food. Maybe I am coming at this from a place that is more accepting ….. wife, mother, hunter, fisherman, backpacker, recreational shooter since 1965….. BSA volunteer and caterer came a bit later. Without professional training, I learned to cook the hard way with heaps of errors, but learning did occur. For some years when I would travel with my husband, he would begin the trip with the gift of a cookbook which I read like a novel. I possess a considerable library and learning did take place.
When he wasn’t having much success teaching his troop to cook, it dawned on me that whatever was cooked at home could be cooked at a camp site. His approach was stews, pot roast and Cobbler. BORING!! This is when I began giving lessons to my husband on Pizza, Shepherd’s Pie, Lasagna, Real Pound Cake, yeast bread and, oh my goodness, vegetables boys wanted to eat. I put this together in a small cooking guide, Feast Ya’ll, for the troop. I understand it has been copied many times and shared all over the country. That is a nice compliment.
The idea was sound. My conundrum was how many coals equaled what temperature and do they go on top, under the bottom or both. The other was what period of time was the life of a charcoal. Time, trial and error seemed to be our educator and learning did occur. Actually, as in most things, we had many ah ha moments. It’s an OVEN; so, treat it that way. To bake, heat must be all the way around … more coals top than under the bottom. Also, the inside contents need to leave a minimum of 1 inch clear air space to the lid. Today, it hardly matters whether I’m cooking with electricity or charcoals. The adjustments are only relative to the weather conditions …. Hot, cold, wet, dry, windy or calm. Heavy duty aluminum foil is an indispensible tool.
As I write, I’m wondering if anyone will actually read and appreciate or am I just talking to myself. The reality, I suppose, is that this is a skill that I have enjoyed sharing over the years. Perhaps this is a reinvention of sharing.