Saturday, April 14, 2007

Kayak Cookin'

Unless you're on a long expedition there is no need to eat dehydrated crap while kayaking. Lots of real food keeps just fine for 3-4 days including most vegetables and smoked meat products. Every year I have a substantial proportion of my venison made into pepper sticks at Jim's Meats in Iron River, WI. They are so good at it and the products are so popular among hunters, that Jim has become "the Venison Nazi". "Have your trim here on January 14th sausage for you!" Also, everything weighs the same once its floating in your kayak. Freeboard is highly overrated.

The one indispensable cooking tool is my trusty cast aluminum dutch oven. I learned how to use on while in the Boy Scouts in the late '60's and have been a fan ever since. We would car camp at state parks when the boys were young and dine on roast beef, potatoes and gravy or curried chicken breasts with onion and red and green peppers. Our neighbors would be looking over and inhaling, as they charred their weenies on a stick, wondering where the hell this bounty had materialized from. I hate to aggravate the 'Leave No Trace' crew but I need a campfire, both intellectually and emotionally, when I'm camping. There is always plenty of deadfall available if you walk a bit and I don't think Our Mother the Earth minds if we burn a little dead wood.

There are a number of sizes of dutch oven and two are pictured in the photo. This was a venison stew with fresh veggies on the bottom and brownies in the top one. Fresh homemade biscuits during berry season are a hit also. The cast aluminum is lighter and seems to work just as well as the cast iron. The big one on the bottom comes along when we have both a large crew and a double with some extra space to stow it. The lid can be used as a frying pan and the bottom as a boiling pot or also a fry pan. Get the camping style ones with the lip to hold coals on top (remember: twice as many coals on top as on the bottom) and the feet to hold it up off the coals and allow air to circulate. Once you play around with this venerable and wonderful utensil you will wonder how you ever survived without one.


Silbs said...

Ah, scouting and camp fires for cooking. Takes me back to my scouting days when we put shaving cream on the bottom of pots so they'd clean up faster.

Ron said...

After a week on Isle Royale with a Dutch oven, I began to appreciate the versitilty of this fine cooking tool. I added one to my kit soon after.

DaveO said...

We never used the shaving cream but the Ivory liquid (99 44/100% pure, of course). I still have some '40's vintage heavy nesting aluminum camping cookware thats been soaped up innumerable times. Sometimes the old ways ain't so bad.