Friday, October 23, 2015

Tasty Flashbacks - Camping Chow Time

When I was a kid, our family took at least 3 camping trips a year - Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, and Labor Day weekend. And we would go all out. I mean full kitchen tent setup with table-top grills, electric kettle (our campsite had utilities) and propane stove. Everyone brought something to contribute to our weekend of outdoorsiness. Someone would bring the coffee and hot cocoa; someone else would bring the sugar and milk. It was a team effort.

Our meals were nothing short of amazing. There was one time I remember that we were camping in Maine, and we had bought fresh lobsters to eat for dinner. (Let me tell you, there's nothing more romantic than eating a fresh lobster by lamplight / candlelight / campfire light. Haha.) But more often than not, our families would marinate some meats and store them in the coolers during our long drives and by the time we got camp set up, those chickens or pork belly or beef ribs were fully soaked in that juicy goodness of sauce, herbs, and spices. Fire up the charcoal grill until the coals are nearly white hot, slap that meat on, char on both sides and you have a delicious, juicy, finger-lickin good meal. Pile that on top a mound of white jasmine rice (yes, we brought rice cookers - plural) and there was no doubt satisfaction was your next destination.

Each morning, after a long night at the campfire with marshmallows and hot chocolate (for the kids) and beers (for the adults, of course), you could look forward to a breakfast feast! As the most important meal of the day, it was imperative that we all partake.

On many occasions, I recall waking up to a rustling in the kitchen tent. After a short while, that rustling turned into distinct sounds to me. First, the electric kettle going for all the coffee drinkers. A pan is placed on top if the propane stove. A hiss of gas, the flick of a match, and the whir of fire evenly burning beneath the pan. And then the most distinct sound of them all...sizzling. And there was no doubt in my mind what was in that pan. BACON!

It's strategic you know. It's not just because we love bacon so much. It has a purpose. After you crisp up the bacon, you use the grease to fry up some SPAM and cook the eggs (some scrambled, some sunny side up, some over easy). And when that was done, the fried rice made from the leftovers the night before.

What is it about bacon that makes us so happy? The crispy texture? The salty goodness? The buttery fattyness? For me, it's a part of my mind's memory that is associated with family, friends, fun, camping, and social eating.

Happy Friday everyone! Wishing you all the joy of tasty flashbacks...