Archive for the 'Let’s Eat! It’s Alimentary, My Dear' Category

Nov 19 2015

Lasagna Without an Oven? In Camp? Why not!

Out of the Frying Pan

I’d biked across the arid asphalt flats at Walmart to get a closer look at a couple of faded kayaks now wilting under an unseasonably hot autumn sun. And the closer I got to the outside display, the sadder the neglected boats looked. Still, having made the hazardous crossing — harried drivers were racing toward the entrances, showing little concern for the solitary cyclist in their midst — I figured I’d give the forlorn boats a once‑over. Action followed hard on the heels of thought. I squatted down, duck‑walked under the nearest boat, and then straightened up, the better to inspect the kayak from the inside.

And there I stood, my head deep in the well of the inverted boat’s cockpit, when I heard the somewhat muffled tones of a woman’s voice: “Hey, there,” the voice said, “how you doin’?” The words bounced around inside the hull for a second or two, making it all but impossible for me to tell where the speaker was standing. But I was sure of one thing, at least: She wasn’t in the kayak. So I waddled out from under the boat. Then I stood up and swiveled around to face the woman, who had stopped only a few feet away from the display rack. She was someone I’d met a couple of times before, and we soon fell into a casual conversation about kayaks.

It turned out that Ellen (not her name; she’d no idea she’d end up in this column, and at the time neither did I) and her husband were keen car campers. Now they were thinking about giving kayak camping a try. This seemed like a good idea to me, and I said as much. Before long we were discussing the art of camp cooking, something near and dear to Ellen’s heart. Not wanting her to get the wrong idea about kayak camping, however, I contrasted the comparative freedom of the car‑camping cook with the more straitened circumstances of the kayaker, whose kitchen pack has to be reduced to the size of a large toaster.

That’s when Ellen’s face lit up.

“You really have to try this awesome lasagna recipe!” she gushed. “A guy we know makes it, and…” Here Ellen paused for dramatic emphasis, before continuing: “And he makes it in a big frying pan on a little one‑burner stove.” She began to tell me the lasagna guy’s secret. But before she’d gotten out more than a few sentences, a car pulled up next to us. The driver (her husband, I presumed) honked the horn, and Ellen blurted, “Gotta go!” Then she sprinted for the car… Read more…

Questions? Comments? Just click here!

Oct 22 2015

Go Green! Further Precepts From the Tao of Tea

The Cup That Cheers

Coffee — hot, strong, black  — starts my engine in the morning, but tea keeps it turning over as the sun and I move through the day. Many writers have reflected on the differences between the two beverages: Stephen Graham, for one. He was a gentleman tramp with a literary bent, whose feet carried him as far afield as the Altai mountains and, somewhat later, into the still wild expanses of the Rockies, in the company of poet Vachel Lindsay. Graham also served on the Western Front in World War I, and A Private in the Guards, an account of his experiences as a common soldier, gives readers a rare glimpse of the face of war as seen by the “other ranks.” Many more books were to follow, though most of them are now forgotten. The Gentle Art of Tramping is the exception, having been reprinted as recently as 2011. It’s a classic of its kind, a sort of 1920’s Complete Walker, with an added touch of Wind in the Willows romantic pastoralism. And in it, Graham devoted much of the chapter he entitled “The Tramp as Cook” to coffee and tea, remarking at one point that while “you can walk further after tea, … coffee makes you more sociable. You talk more after coffee.”

That’s a debatable point, I think. Coffee doesn’t set my tongue wagging, nor does it make me seek out company. But I do find that stopping ashore to brew a cup of tea in late morning and mid‑afternoon does much to keep my arms moving. In fact, these “cups that cheer but not inebriate” are woven into the fabric of my daily life.… Read more…

Questions? Comments? Just click here!

Sep 23 2015

In Short Order: Toast of the Town

It Ain't Your Father's SOS

Farewell, summer. The sun is poised to dip below the equator, and fall is definitely in the air, with the first snows of winter only a few short weeks away. But carpe diem — seize the day! Those same few short weeks are some of the best times of the year to be on the bike, on a hike, or on the water, and every golden autumn day is a treat to be savored.

There are downsides to the season, however. Days are short now, and the understandable desire to make the most of the hours of daylight means that many trips end with a scramble homeward in the gathering dark, after which the tired paddler must still shower and eat. So late suppers are the norm. Urban trekkers can take their pick of restaurants and take‑outs, many of which serve meals well into the small hours. But rural denizens like Farwell and me have fewer choices. It’s home cooking or nothing for us. Not that “home cooking” necessarily means preparing a meal from scratch. Heat‑and‑eat canned and frozen entrées are readily available menu stopgaps. But it is possible to prepare a scratch meal from simple ingredients in next to no time, while saving some cash in the process. Most of the time, that’s what I do.

And so can you. The only requirements are a willingness to spend a few minutes in the kitchen, plus a reasonably well‑stocked pantry and a fridge. The result? A meal that’s simple, good, and quick… Read more…

Questions? Comments? Just click here!

« Newer Articles - Older Articles »