Thursday, November 20, 2008

More cous cous and the Detroit Jewel

I had planned on a brief 'see you in a week' post as I rushed to work, in order to rush to the deer camp, but Bonnie, who writes the fine Frogma blog (live from Brooklyn, NY) derailed that plan. Her culinary confession is everything I had ever suspected about cous cous being elitist, big city liberal fare. She also revealed the Obama plan to funnel money from hard working, frugal midwesterners to freeloading layabouts in east and west coast mega cities. As readers may recall, I was one of the victims of a cous cous outbreak so virulent that a highly compensated professional writer from a Large, Nameless government agency (located in the Atlanta area) suggested it should be reported to avoid a worldwide epidemic. Come to think of it, the 'chef' who whipped up that cous cous atrocity in Voyageurs National Park is a self admitted Madison liberal, a city the Old Man constantly referred to as 'the Peoples Republic of Madison'. Shocking! As I mentioned in the 'outbreak' post, cous cous will never again pass my lips and it most certainly will never be found simmering on the 1920's Detroit Jewel propane range at the Reefer Creek deer camp.

Hunting is fun, watching wildlife from the blind is fun, and so is the cameraderie of the post hunting happy hours. But I find cooking on the nearly 90 year old Detroit Jewel to be one of the highlights of any trip to camp. When I stroll back to camp in the dark, unload the gun, and grab an adult beverage of choice, I'm thinking about what I'm going to whip up for supper. One of the reasons cooking is so attractive is the strict camp ruling that he who cooks does not touch the dishes. I usually have people clamoring to help so they can claim dishwashing immunity but there are strict standards and potential dishwashers keep a close eye on the activities of those fishing for exemptions. The other thing that makes it fun, as well as very liberating, is that I do my finest cooking in my underwear. After a cold day in the woods it's awfully hot in camp, especially when the Detroit Jewel has a couple burners fired up. Since I don't have room for my chefs whites and hat in my pack, I just pull off my Malone pants and my wool shirt and cook in my long johns. In fact, I'm not sure I would be able to cook effectively if fully clothed; its a psychological thing, you know. I find it amazing that this thing is still turning out the meals at age 80 plus. I guess planned obsolescence wasn't thought up until after WWI, at which time the Jewel had already been in service for over 20 years.

We have a fairly rigid menu during gun season; variations tend to provoke whining and nostalgic discussions of last years fare. Friday burritos, Saturday ham and trimmings, Sunday chicken and dumplings, Tuesday corned beef and cabbage, Thanksgiving get the drift. Maybe even a stir fry or two in the industrial sized wok during an 'open' evening. At the end of the hunting day the pot belly stove is revived, the sauna stoked by the first folks out of the woods, the alcohol supply is drawn down nicely in the Eight or Better Lounge, and if anyone is still on their feet at 9:30 its a minor victory. Bonnie, I like your idea of a cultural exchange between New York City and Oulu, Wisconsin. Just leave the cous cous on the subway.

I'll be back in the blogosphere in about 9 days.......can't wait to hit the road for camp!


Silbs said...

Great post. Love your writing

bonnie said...

hmmm...could it be that some radical rightist is sabotaging the nation's couscous supply with whatever comes to hand (salmonella, cans of Lemon Pledge)?

Have a great trip. Read ya later!

Nan said...

OMG. Major stove envy. The Detroit Jewel is appropriately named.