One of the things that I believe gets far too little mention, when you discuss all-things-outdoors, is the food. I mean… sure – the ride was nice, or the hike or climb, or the swim… or the catch – but what about the feast?
Why is there so little mention of all that chowing down on incredible grub that inevitably goes on after all that outdoor enchantment you wallowed in all day?
When I think about some of the food I’ve eaten while my lungs were full of campfire smoke, and my mouth was full of incredible flavors and tastes and textures… and secret spices and heirloom recipes… it makes me want to cut down a tree, build a fire, and eat right now! This very moment!
For me (and I’m sure everyone else that enjoys cooking and eating outdoors) there is no finer meal than one in the backyard or out in the wilderness somewhere. Sure, the fancy restaurants and $30 dollar meals (that leave you hungrier than before you got there) are nice for the city folk… but there’s just something about a campfire meal that can’t be bought at a 5-Star eatery. And, for the folks that put up their own food, and break it out when they hit the woods or the mountains (or the back yard just ‘cuz), there’s no small amount of pride and satisfaction in how self-reliant and independent that makes you feel.
Case in point:
I have a very dear friend who decided he wanted to prepare and store his own meat. He has friends that raise their own food stock, and – after securing sources of food – he built himself a smoker (which, itself, was a lot of fun).
He got the meat (chicken, ribs, brisket…you name it) and got it done. He used the hell out of that thing, and it became not only a source of food… but it enhanced an entire way of life; raise your own, cook your own, store your own, and eat your own. The epitome of independence and self reliance.
And… lest we forget… there is a whole world out there that has chosen to grow and or can & store their own food for use throughout the entire year. There’s the roto-tilling, the planting, the weeding, the harvesting, the canning, and then… the long-term storing to be done.
And, even as this sounds like a lot of work, the rewards are incredible; you not only prove to yourself that you can manage on your own just fine (thankyouverymuch) but you get to enjoy the finest eating known to all mankind: homemade!
Serving it up in your back yard, or out in the middle of nowhere, is just icing on the cake.
And, even as the trip – despite the weather – was fantastic for its family time and quiet time the an opportunity to just relax and “get away from it all for a little while” with the people you love and care about most, the food was amazing. That Dutch oven has to be one of the finest inventions known to man since… well… perhaps the invention of fire itself.
In that big iron beauty, we had breakfast, lunch, dinner… and a couple family-secret recipes I am sworn to secrecy about… but suffice it to say that every bite, for 4 days, was better than the finest meal I can last remember paying about $15 too much for.
That’s it for now-I gotta go start a fire.
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