By A. F. Wallace
Good, well cooked food, fresh and wholesome, is a very important thing in a camp, or anywhere else for that matter. I personally have quite a sweet tooth, and am somewhat of an epicure. A good cook will make a pretty good meal out of little, while a poor one will spoil the best provisions that money can buy. Cooking in a camp and cooking in a well furnished kitchen are two different things, and one that can cook in one would make a bad job of the other. Camp cooking is in a class by itself. I have seen a camp cook get up a good, wholesome and palatable meal with two clean old tomato cans; put this same man in a well furnished kitchen and he would either make a mess of his meal, or only use two or three dishes for cooking. Of course either cook could get up some kind of a meal in either place, but would excel in his special sphere.
If the reader is not wise to the occult ways of camp cooking let me here give you some advice and experience. I got it from actual conditions, and in an experience of over 35 years, and none of these years did I miss one outing, and in some of them I made two outings —from the opening of the trout and bass seasons' until the closing of the deer season—and I know whereof I speak when I say, "Keep away from the frying pan as much as possible." How many and many of the old-time outers and hunters of the past have some kind of stomach trouble, all caused by too much of the frying pan products, i. e., half cooked flapjack and burnt meat, with its accompanying hot grease, and remember burnt grease is simply carbon, the hardest substance known, and utterly indigestible. I think a great deal of covered pots as cooking utensils and I have good reason to, for in no other simple way can provender be cooked so it retains its good, nourishing health and strength-giving qualities, as in soups, stews, and mulligans or goulash, as the high-toned name is given to an old-fashioned Irish stew.
A good meat and vegetable stew gets better and better each time you warm it up; same with the substitutes for bread, i. e., flapjack bake, good bread, or biscuit instead, or better still good old corn bread or pone without any baking powder or soda in it. This article is not intended for a cook book, but just some simple, healthy cooking recipes I have tried out and found good and wholesome. If you want a camp cook book send to the Department of War at Washington, D. C, enclosing 50 cents, and get the "Manual for Army Cooks."
To keep things tasting good in camp one must have a variety and change occasionally, and in making up a ration list keep this in view. Also in cooking keep in mind the length of time it takes to cook different vegetables, meat, fowl and flesh, otherwise some of the ingredients will be half raw and others cooked to pieces. Always start the vegetables and meat that takes longest to cook first, taking it by and large, no stew should be cooked less than three consecutive hours, and not burned. The one great secret in cooking is to cook slow. I can't emphasize this half strong enough; slow and continuous cooking, properly seasoned, is bound to be good. Another little wrinkle is in boiling anything, and if the water gets low, never add cold water to replenish it, always add boiling water. If no hot water is ready stop cooking and heat some, When I make a stew I always start a pail of water to boil when I put on my stew, but start your stew in cold water, and let the fire under the range burn low under the hot water pail, so as to keep the contents at the boiling point, ready to replenish the water in the stew. Start all meat for a stew in cold water, as you want to get the juices out of it, hut meat that is to be boiled for the plate, have the water boiling hot, then put in the meat. This sort of sears the outside of the meat and keeps the juices in; then boil slow which is what you want for plate meat, and in frying in the fry pan, either fish, flesh or fowl, wipe the pieces of meat dry, then fry as "Uncle Mose" fried his chicken, mentioned later on in this article. For some reason that I cannot explain wet meat of all kinds soaks up a lot of lard or grease, or whatever you are frying in, where dry meat will not. In cooking the forthcoming rations we will assume there are two persons and we have a reflector baker, a deep frying pan, a four-quart kettle and one of two quarts, a coffee pail or pot, and choose for your frying pan one that is not so wide across, but a little deeper, and in planning a meal figure not to have a lot left over.
Time it takes to cook vegetables: Potatoes boiled about one-half hour, medium size: beans about three hours, if old crop much longer; cabbage, two hours; carrots, one hour: parsnips, one hour; turnips, three-quarters of an hour; onions, three-quarters of an hour, medium size; potatoes, baked, three-quarters of an hour.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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