May 16 2017

Curry on Camping! by Tamia Nelson

Looking for a good meal for chilly evenings following long days on your bike, on the trail, or on the water? Something that’s quick to throw together, with a bold flavor and warm after-glow? Then Tamia has a suggestion: Dip into a varied and versatile catalog of spicy dishes from South Asia, many of which are now available in an easy-to-transport, easy-to-prepare form. So… What’s stopping you? Curry on camping!

The New Model Climate is making snow a rare treat in much of the northern states and adjacent Canadian provinces, even in winter, but things used to be very different. One August many years ago found Farwell and me on a long, narrow lake in central Québec, struggling in our canoe to make headway against half a gale of wind. This was bad enough in itself, but the wind was driving a wintry mix of snow and sleet before it, and our travelworn foul-weather gear was proving unequal to the challenge. By day’s end we were tired, wet, and cold.

Mugs of sweetened tea helped to thaw our fingers as our supper—canned beef stew—simmered on the stove. The stew wasn’t gourmet fare, but it was quick to heat and easy to prepare. I knew it would both warm us and fill us up. That was enough.

Or so we thought. But then one of our companions poked his head under the tarp. He and his wife weren’t the “tinned stew” sort. They dined every night on home-prepared, home-dehydrated meals, many of which could have been described, without exaggeration, as haute cuisine. (They’d even brought a couple of splits of champaign along for special occasions.) Our friend looked at the bubbling pot. He sniffed the air, heavy with the cloying and somewhat metallic odor of Dinty Moore’s best. His nose wrinkled expressively, but he said nothing at first, and his silence was eloquent. Then he started fishing around in the pockets of his Gore-Tex jacket till he’d found what he was looking for: a 35 mm film canister with a yellow top. “Take this,” he said suddenly. “Stir it into that…” Here he paused, searching for the right words. “Er… Stuff. It might make it…” Another thoughtful pause. “Well, you know, edible.” His tone suggested doubt and hope in equal measure.

I was too tired to be offended by our friend’s less than generous critique of my cuisine. I took the proffered film canister from his hand and opened it. The aroma was as pungent as it was powerful, and my quizzical expression elicited the briefest of descriptions—a single word: Curry… Read more…

Homemade Yellow Lentil and Squash Curry -- (c) Tamia Nelson

Originally published at on May 16, 2017


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