Camping - The Good, Created By Food - Phillard's kitchen Blog at - 331585

Phillard's kitchen

Camping - the Good, created by Food 
Aug. 15, 2014 4:33 pm 
Updated: Aug. 25, 2014 5:54 pm
It's a fun thing for most Americans (and lots of international peoples) to leave their homes and "rough it" for a small time (or not-so-small time) during parts of the year. We take ourselves, our families or our friends out to sport-camp, recreation-camp or just relax-camp (as I call the types, though I am sure there are more reasons people go out camping). Sometimes we take an RV, with all of the amenities of home, to a remote location and camp for a weekend, week or longer. Sometimes we take our cars and take the basics to a state park and tent-camp under the stars or the limbs and boughs of a forest canopy. Sometimes we might even hike it out with our backpacks, carrying only the most essential necessities while we attempt to truly become "one" with the nature around us.

I, personally, prefer running water, hot showers and some kind of electrical hookup. I'm sorry to disappoint anyone - there are just different types of different people in this world with their own preferences, and I like to "Car-Camp," as we call it. We leave our foodstuffs, which is often BETTER than the food we would buy at home, in our trunk to be protected, along with other comforts like our clothes and our phone chargers and everything we need to remain connected to the world. We still sleep in sleeping bags in tents, though they are made by coleman or some other mega-brand. In fact, I don't even sleep on the ground anymore! I prefer to set up my cot and place some bedding there with my two fat pillows.

But I guarantee you that, even though I am not in the middle of a human-less nature setting that I had to find and hike to, I am much more relaxed, at ease and pretty much feeling great. It's not true-roughing, but it's not living at home either, and it's cheaper than staying in a hotel for a week!

I live for the week (or couple of weeks) I get each year to camp. The relaxation, the sea air (yes, always a camp by the ocean), the sound of wind in the trees and the fresh air. The smell of wood-smoke, the warmth of fire, and.......The camp food!

Probably the number one reason I camp is to cook camp food. Camp food isn't much different than home-food sometimes, but the setting and atmosphere changes the way we view the food we are eating. Somehow, food smells and tastes better and, oddly enough, gets people into the camping spirit. Even coffee, made in my percolator, tastes better, especially in the early morning when the air is cold and still, the dew clinging to the blades of grass and the pine's needles, and the sky gently, but fervently, lighting to a grey or gold with the dawning light...

Going camping is the perfect excuse for me to get out my favorite implement...The Dutch Oven! My giant, sixty pound dutch oven is made from cast iron. It has been used enough times now to have a patina and a glaze, both inside and out. I have never washed it with soap, so to prevent the permeable iron surface from absorbing the chemicals. It has been self-cured about ten times over the years, now, to protect it from the elements and to provide superior cooking.

What I cook in the dutch oven, especially for our annual family pot-luck, is a coveted treat for most people. I have made everything from soups to baked beans, pot-roasts and pork-roasts to corn breads and fritters, puddings and cakes. All one needs are some hot embers from the fire or, for a more controlled cooking experience, charcoal briquettes. The base is large and generally has three or four feet to hold it above the ground. You need only place a number of briquettes under the oven to heat the bottom. The lid is usually in the shape of a sided-plate or bowl, to conveniently place more charcoal up top in order to heat the lid and provide additional top-level heat (or broiling).

To me, the dutch oven is a symbol of camping. When I walk into the shed where my appliances and extra pots and pans are stored, I see my dutch oven and it elicits a wave of nostalgia and sentimentality. I then see my lantern, my camp stove and all my camping equipment and all of the wonderful memories of watching my family grow are remembered, and causes me to look forward to the next event in which I will get to utilize this self-same equipment to craft new memories again.

I have a tight-knit family. Not everyone in the world can say the same thing. Some people have no family at all, and will, unfortunately, feel alone. There isn't much that I can do about that for them, other than hope for the best for them. This world is full of goodness, and it is full of sadness. There are joys and sorrows, as well as love and hate. I am thankful for the goodness, the joy and the love, but also thankful for the sadness, sorrow and the hate. Without the bad, there is nothing to measure the good by, and nothing would be good: It would only "be." I can only hope that others in this world find the goodness of life, and I can only hope for them that there is more good than bad in their lives. It is a childish thought, but it is what I hope for anyway.

So if I could, I would cook a meal in my dutch oven for everyone having a bad day. When one's belly is warmed by a good meal, most cannot but help be made happy...or at least content. When I cook while I am camping, it is a situation that causes me to weigh the impact of what I am doing. It causes me to be thankful, thoughtful and, perhaps, enlightened to the situation of our world. When I cook, I can feel, deeply, the blessing of food and all it does for me, my family, my friends and even the strangers I am happy to prepare meals for. 

So while I am camping this year, I will remember this website and all of you: the people from around the world it has brought together, all of the recipes it has taught people to craft, all of the people who contributed those recipes, and all of the people who, in the end, benefited from this huge collaboration with the wondrous gift of food and food prep and, above all, the sharing.

Go camping! Get out there, become one with the earth. Or just go to a camp ground with the food from your pantry. Find a recipe on AllRecipes. Invite your family, your friends, your neighbors and strangers. Prepare it and share it! And find ultimate satisfaction within yourself and your ability to put together a meal that can only elicit good feelings!

Aug. 15, 2014 6:52 pm
Wow, Phillip!! That is one of my favorite blog articles! I feel the same way about camping! I'm a country girl (I have the accent to prove it!) and hiking and camping are two of my favorite hobbies! Some of my best childhood memories are when my family and I went camping. Lake Eufaula State Park (in Oklahoma) is where we do most of our hiking. And around our property, of course. You sound like you genuinely appreciate the outdoors! I don't live near an ocean, so Lake Eufaula is my version (my very small version) of an ocean. Happy camping and God bless! ~bakergirl ;)
Aug. 16, 2014 4:11 am
My family took camping vacations when I was a child. It was the only way we could afford to travel. It forced Mom and Dad out of their usual routines, changing up their roles a bit. Dad did most of the cooking, and like you, I remember nothing smelled better than bacon cooking outdoors! Mom became a playmate, and I remember hilarious times playing Yah-Tzee, after a fabulous dinner of fried bass or bluegill.
Aug. 17, 2014 4:51 am
This is a fantastic blog and hit me close to home! We have camped every way possible - from sleeping in the back of our truck on a pile of blankets, to backpacking, tent camping, all the way up to our current camping with our camper which has every amenity available it seems! Your dutch oven sounds great and I so agree how food just tastes better out in the great wide open. We just got back from a 10-day camping trip in the mountains of Virginia. Next trip is a weekend up by Lake Erie in Ohio (we live in Ohio). I spend days planning our menu for our trips. Great blog - I truly enjoyed it.
Aug. 17, 2014 11:36 am
We are RV campers. I, too, like the amenities that electricity provides. Our cooking is very simple fare that is traditional for my wife, who grew up camping. We have a set of round, campfire pie makers. We use them for pies of course, but also to make egg and sausage breakfast sandwiches, pizzas and I even made a s'more sandwich this time. Hot dogs are common meals as well as hamburgers, and spaghetti. I would love to do a dutch oven meal for my family, but I fear the break with tradition could harm my wife!
Aug. 17, 2014 2:26 pm
My family used to have a pop-up camper, but now we are going to use tents. We ALWAYS eat spaghetti, hamburgers, hot dogs, and eggs when we go camping! And s'mores! Those are a given!! :))
Aug. 18, 2014 6:32 pm
Campers here as well. When kids were small we would pack the car & hit the road after work on Friday. In the 80's, we never had a problem securing a site at the last minute. Graduated from tents to a pop up, & now a modest travel trailer. Love Love Love camp times. It has become so popular now that you really have to plan in advance to get a site. In Michigan they start taking reservations 6 months in advance. Wisconsin reserves 12 months out....
Aug. 18, 2014 6:35 pm
My kids have many fond memories of tent camping. We always "car camped" but we had a mini van. Sleeping bags and cots or air mattresses and yes, the food. They ate like hard workin' ranch hands when we camped. :) Enjoy your camping adventure (aren't they always adventures?)
Aug. 18, 2014 8:42 pm
Hi Bakergirl! Lake Eufaula looks like a wonderful and beautiful place! It is always wonderful to hear about another little corner of the nation (or world) that is just as beautiful, if not more so, than my little spot here! I love the water, and to be honest, the temperature of the Pacific Ocean on the northern coast of Oregon is almost too cold to swim in. I may be a polar bear from the cold climate, but the water makes me cramp up! It takes me a good 45 minutes to acclimate before I can even think of swimming! Thanks for reading my blog - I get sentimental, and I find it's the best time for me to write :)
Aug. 18, 2014 8:46 pm
Hi Bibi! I completely understand what you mean about getting out of the day to day routines! I, myself, fall into mine during the regular work week, work month, work year...In this society, it gets harder and harder to take a vacation... So my family devised this trip that we can dedicate our time to, and every year it becomes our not-so-long term goal to look forward to each year. It is a time where we can all feel completely at ease together and in life. Almost ultimate satisfaction! Thank you for sharing your experience with me, Bibi! It is wonderful to hear of the commonalities we have in our great and extensive human family :)
Aug. 18, 2014 8:47 pm
Also, we are starting up a game of Yah-Tzee right now! I will continue my responses as soon as we are done (and the ringing in my years of the Yah-Tzee screams wears off...
Aug. 18, 2014 9:49 pm
I get the glory of winning tonight! 2 out of 3 games of Yah-Tzee...Do I get bragging rights?
Aug. 18, 2014 9:53 pm
Hi Mother Ann! The mountains of Virginia sounds beautiful! I would love to see them myself someday. I have been to the great lakes, most of my time spent around Superior in Duluth, as I have family in MN. I love that area! I think that's a great idea to spend some time making meal menus! A good way to prepare and to avoid of trying to figure out a menu for the I often end up doing! I think I may just adopt your idea! Thank you so much for sharing with me, Mother Ann! I hope your vacation turns out extraordinary!
Aug. 18, 2014 9:57 pm
Doc! Good to meet you! I would love to have an RV... I may not always sleep in it every night, but I have parents who would love to stay in one since they don't do the tent thing anymore... I love the idea of having a kitchen that is covered! But I love fire-cooking outside too. The best of both worlds, in my opinion! Those pies sound absolutely fantastic. I think I know what you are talking about...or maybe not. Are they pie irons? The breakfast sandwiches are a MUST in my family. There is nothing better than making your favorite breakfast foods and smashing it together into a delicious sandwich. The plate of breakfast in one convenient sandwich. And you say you make it in the pie iron? I can only imagine the toasty goodness that comes out of those badboys! S'Mores too! I can't even imagine, but I want one now! Thank you for sharing your experience with me! I know now that I will be looking around for some pie irons to enjoy the experience...!
Aug. 18, 2014 10:01 pm
Hey there Maggi! I totally know what you mean. When I was younger, my family would just go out and scope out a spot in the "first come first serve" places. It was so easy! I miss those days when you could just travel the road and know you'd find a spot in the next campground! Our family is so large we make reservations at the maximum possible date. Here in Oregon it is 9 months in advance. We rent out half a loop at our favorite campground. When we do it this way, the state parks association gives benefits, like getting the meeting hall and community center for a number of days for free, or free tours/hiking excursions or activities for the kids, etc. It's nice, but I still miss the simpler days. Thank you for sharing your memories with me! :) It's good to have common thoughts and feelings with good people!
Aug. 18, 2014 10:06 pm
LadySparkle! They are indeed always adventures! The kids are probably the best part of all when I camp, to be honest! To see the joy and the happiness, their interest, to watch them make-believe and play pretend and basically fulfill all of the stories they can come up with in such a finite amount of time...It takes me back in time to when I was a child. It's almost like living vicariously through them! I agree about the kids eating, too! I don't have any kids of my own (yet), but my god when they are so picky at the dinner table at home...You put them at a table in the campground and serve up pretty uch anything and they gobble it right on down! And I can't believe how MUCH they eat! One of my favorite memories that I get to share with my little second and third-cousins is the cocoa in the morning. I am a sort of community-camp-site, and they come running from all over for a cup of hot cocoa from the stove "with a marshmallow!" I love the pure happiness they they show with the smiles on their faces. Then their parents wander over, bleary eyed and with a mission to use my coffeepot... LOL Thank you for sharing with me! I hope you have a great deal more many trips in your future!
Aug. 19, 2014 9:25 pm
We also camped from the time our oldest daughter was a baby. We had a small trailer that my husband won!! by buying one raffle ticket. That started it all. We sold the trailer when my youngest child was about 3. We tent camped and soon back packed on Isle Royal in lake Superior. After camping all over Michigan, and our children were grown, we went back to a 28' trailer with all the bells and whistles. Even though we wern't ruffing it, we still cooked over a camp fire and made many memories along the way. Our children still camp with us along with their families. We have gotten a little more adventurous with our cooking and grill everything from chicken to steaks but still love our pie irons and of course s-more's. I loved your article, it brought back a lot of good memories. We are planning to camp soon with our family and can almost smell that good campfire food now.
Aug. 25, 2014 5:54 pm
Hi Diane! That sounds like a success story if I ever heard one of them! What a wonderful way to be inspired to camp, by winning a trailer! It sounds like you have a good and wonderful long string of stories with the family out camping - in the end, it's really about spending time with each other and sharing our love together in our normally too-busy lives. It is good to meet you, Diane! I am happy you enjoyed my article :)
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North Plains, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Nov. 2007

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Low Carb, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Gardening, Hiking/Camping, Camping, Walking, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I have been cooking and baking since I can remember, being taught by various sources, like parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, friends and on-the-go professionals. I still love it!
My favorite things to cook
Home-cooked meals are the way to go, but still presentable in a way that doesn't make the food look like slop. I like cooking with meats, now especially grilling in smoker BBQ's. I love thick and creamy stews and soups, especially in the winter season. Delicious delectables are always on my mind, too!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Traditions? Probably Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love both of those holidays. They allow people to shine in their newly acquired cooking abilities. Family from all over gets to add a hand at the stove and ovens, and you'll be surprised at how much you can teach...and learn!
My cooking triumphs
I recently succeeded in making several perfect sheets of toffee. The consistency was perfect, not too hard, no burnt-flavor. Topping it off with just the right kind of chocolate was easy enough, but many loved it, and I have made it many times since.
My cooking tragedies
Oh, the same with Toffee - I did not cook it long enough the first time, I'm afraid. So much butter and sugar, and 30 dollars worth of chocolate wasted. I can admit it was a humbling experience...I say, keep it simple with the ingredient, especially while making something that is consumed so greedily by others :)
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