Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Something From Nothing: The Art and Privilege of Camp Cooking

It may be noted, at least from time to time, that we do like to get away from it all here at this blog. To pack up a modicum of supplies, and strikeIMG_6082 off for the distant bush lands of Minnesota’s northern most tier. A locale rich in quietude, and resplendent in its sky-tinted waters and vast elbow room for the soul. Canoe country. A million acre outdoor theater where the lonesome wail of the Loon echoes with impunity through the forest primeval. Where the whispering breezes murmur sweetly amid the lofty, Norway Pines; those magnificent wooden spires that which thrust high into a wild, blue sky. Canoe country. Where the slap of a beaver tail on still waters is heard over a quarter-mile span. Where a nap in the hammock whilst the pine-scented breeze whistles through your toe pits is at last your loftiest ambition for the day. Well you can see why we like it up here. And why it is we very occasionally aspire to get away from it all.

Feeding one’s belly is one of our favorite activities whence in the hither lands. And how you go about it, and what you get out of it is solely up to you. Somethings spoil fast with out the advantages of refrigeration, and those things you probably ought to ingest the first day out, or not bother to bring along at all. Chocolate, for example, melts like a cheap nuclear reactor, and bread flattens finer than an Iowan interstate. After a few trips afield, you learn rather well what works and what doesn’t.


In between naps in the hammock, we partook in a little culinary tinkering courtesy of the Joy for Cooking – the namesake of a little back woods chuck box spawned from many a camping trip spent on my haunches, cooking on the ground. There comes a time in Bushman’s career where the notion of a kitchen counter top is a highly appealing affair, and one worth pursuing if not for any other reason than because he can. So I did. You do not realize how good you have it at home until first you go with out.  So I came up with this little creation years ago, for to better and more effectively cultivate my joy for cooking whilst encamped in wilder places. It has been a treat indeed.

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Camp cooking is always an interesting summit to scale. It’s like a back pack, in that you only get out of it what you put into it. So if you didn’t bring a certain ingredient, then you don’t have it. And there is no running to the grocer either, this side of paradise. Well you could, I suppose, but by the time you get back it would be the next day, and your dinner aspirations would fall way of the dodo bird. So you work with what you’ve got. And usually that ain’t much. But in the same breath, that’s what makes camp cooking kind of fun; getting the most you can from a scant simple grub bag. Here we did up a plate of buttermilk biscuits/bannock, fried potatoes and onion, and a nice ration of sautéed summer sausage to round out the proteins. A hodge-podge conglomerate, if you will, of the better things I could rummage up from the recesses of the food bag. And let me tell you, after paddling the day long, with an appetite stoked from the freshened air, living a simple but deliberate life, this was a plate fit for a king. Under the circumstances even, I couldn’t think of any place better to eat. Nope, I had arrived. As any realtor knows, it’s all about location.

FullSizeRender (2)What a pleasure it is to round off a weekend in the wilderness, with a belly well fed. To lean against an old Cedar tree, hot cup of tea in hand, left leg crossed over right, and gander westward over still waters to a setting sun. To hear the loons softly sing through a land so silent, and to smell the air sweetly tinted in pine. It’s been said that time spent camping is not deducted from your lifespan. Well, I don’t know know if it’s true or not, but even so,  it would explain why we so often go afield, and why even now, at this cluttered desk back in the city, why mine heart hastens to be back there once again. Amen.


24 responses

  1. Delightful. Makes me long for the great outdoors.

    May 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm

  2. Ahhh, the joy of the outdoors. My kind of adventure! Looks like you picked a fine location for a bit of solitude and scenery.

    …and I thought I was a good camp cook. You take it to a whole new level! Job well done.

    May 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    • Thank you kindly, Duncan. I figured you’d be partial to this one. Your recent postings sort of inspired it. We’re about bbq around here, true, but every once in a while it’s fun to write about what else makes us tick.

      A pleasure to have you about again. Carry on good sir. Carry on.

      May 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

  3. 43 south, Ron Duke

    The location and the plate of food looks divine. What a wonderful place to eat great, but simple, food. Thank you:)

    May 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    • Many thanks, Ron. Yeah it’s beautiful country, tailor made for a canoe and a willing soul. Love it.

      May 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm

  4. Serve me up a plate of that! Great article! And a hearty here, here to camp cooking (and camp drinking).

    May 18, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    • Thank you for that. Sounds like you know the good life when you see it too. Thanks for chiming in!

      May 18, 2015 at 9:55 pm

  5. Pingback: Reposting: Something From Nothing: The Art and Privilege of Camp Cooking | Sarah's Attic Of Treasures and Our Neck Of The Woods

  6. Camp fire cooking is some of my all time faves. Great post. It’s making me hungry for the outdoors…

    May 19, 2015 at 3:28 am

  7. laurie27wsmith

    You Blokes are just the bees knees when it comes to crafting a meal and prose.

    May 19, 2015 at 4:31 am

    • Well we love to be outside, Laurie, and a bloke has got to eat, right? Thanks mate!

      May 19, 2015 at 9:01 am

      • laurie27wsmith

        This is true! I’m quite fond of a campfire meal myself.

        May 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

  8. Nothing like cooking outside!! Great post and the scenery is easy on the eye too!

    May 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

  9. This is awesome! Makes me want to go camping just for the food! OH, and the pretty landscape 😉

    May 19, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    • Food is reason enough to go camping! The landscape is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, in north eastern Minnesota. Magnificent canoe country. Worth the trip if you ever go up there.

      Take care!

      May 20, 2015 at 8:58 am

  10. my favorite lake at which we camp is only 15 min from the closest city. 🙂 We’ve been known to run into the gas station or – gasp – Walmart, to grab something we’ve forgotten! And, not going to lie, I’ve discovered that my meals taste just as good on the little indoor grill that I know pack 🙂 But, I love that chuck box! We bring an extra table that we use to cook and prep on, because nothing is worse than getting the meal ready only to discover that you can’t sit at the picnic table because it’s covered with everything else!

    Now I’m ready to go camping!

    May 20, 2015 at 6:47 am

    • I’m always ready to go camping too! It’s what I do. Sounds like you make yourself quite comfortable out there as well. But running to walmart on a camping trip, come on now, Kate! What did you really need that bad…Regardless, it’s cool to hear how so many people enjoy getting out and doing a little camping. It’s good for the soul!

      May 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

  11. Brought back many a fond memory. Nice camp kitchen by the way

    May 20, 2015 at 11:40 am

  12. Brought back many a fond memory, thanks for sharing. Nice camp kitchen by the way.

    May 20, 2015 at 11:54 am

    • Thanks Mr Dodd. Yup, time spent in the prettier places is never wasted. Take care, good sir. And happy Memorial Day in advance. I will assume you have something good planned for the pit this weekend…

      May 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

  13. Now that looks like a camp kitchen worth portaging in a few lakes. With my luck a bear would do more than lick it while I’m out fishing. I have loved the BWCA adventures and wild country for the last 35 years. Cooking with the pace of nature makes the best cuisine. Thanks for all the great blogs.

    June 29, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    • Hey, thank you, Gary. Appreciate that. Yeah, that old chuck box has seen many a portage. Never have regretted it’s freight. It’s more than one needs, yes, but I do not take the woods to rough it, but rather to smooth it. I think we get it rough enough back in town.

      I’ve often wondered why a bear hasn’t destroyed it yet. It would be easy pickings! But alas, they have spared me that camping story thus far. I’ve watched mice and squirrels try to penetrate it tho. They were foiled.

      Many thanks for commenting. It’s good to hear from other folks who enjoy such places and have been there too!

      June 29, 2015 at 9:41 pm

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