Saturday, June 30, 2007

pre-4th outdoors trip

Hannah and I have just successfully camped out for the first time. We drove to Treman Park, just a few miles south of Ithaca (we called Taughannock first, but they had no sites left open) and stopped by the office to find out what spots were available. We’d both been picturing (separately to ourselves, and somewhat naïvely) a little isolated spot where we would set up a tent and see no one else all evening, but instead we found a slew of campsites all lined up next to each other. This is actually somewhat different from the camping I used to do as a Boy Scout. But we quickly realized that it’s not so bad to have other folks around; indeed, it creates a small sense of community. Plus, we had a water spigot right in our site, and a bath house a couple hundred feet away. So it was a very nice but not-so-rugged introduction to camping together.

For dinner, we made the finest cuisine I have ever known or experienced anywhere: despite the potential political incorrectness, I generally insist on calling these “hobo meals”. Make a fire, get a good bed of coals going, and lay out a sheet of aluminum foil. Place thereon small pieces of potatoes (tater tots work very well, too), carrots, onions, any other vegetables you’d like (we added some beets that came in last week’s CSA share), and a bit of beef. Season with salt, pepper, perhaps some seasoned salt. Fold up the foil into a package. Now place on the coals, and let your sixth sense kick in to tell you when it’s done. (Seriously; I don’t know how to tell anyone how long to cook these. I just know when it’s ready and perfect.) Remove from the coals with sticks (yay, balancing act!). The odor that emerges upon opening the foil inspires prayers of thanksgiving. And every bit of deliciousness you eat is joy. The only way to properly follow a hobo meal is with s’mores. Most everyone knows how to make those, so I’ll just comment that a few years ago I had the insight to start putting peanut butter on my s’mores. I know some people (like Hannah) just don’t like peanut butter, but for those who do, this is a beautiful addition. Not only does it have a flavor that mixes well with every other ingredient, it holds the chocolate on the graham cracker. I dropped so many pieces of chocolate in my youth trying to get the marshmallow sandwiched in. Peanut butter: the perfect addition to your chocolatey, marshmallowy goodness.

If I ever am about to be executed and am offered a last meal, this would be it. Make a campfire and give me a hobo meal and s’mores. I’ll die happy.

1 comment:

jhb said...

AMEN to the food! Best meal ever... Hmm, I may just have to build a fire in my backyard...