Ah, the simple life
Aug 31, 2013 / 5:00 am
We visited friends who were "camping" this week in Penticton. I use the quotation marks because their version of camping now includes the RV with DVDs, air conditioning and microwave. Our best stories of the evening though were about the days of roughing it. I do like the luxuries too, of course, but sometimes a dose of getting back to basics is just what you need.
Maybe having fewer responsibilities because of a simpler existence is what makes camping such a joyful thing. I always feel a bit like a kid when I camp, and not just from the memories of breakfast cereal eaten out of the box or being able to count swimming in the lake as a shower. You see, for us, getting away to camp is not about bringing everything from home; we don’t have an RV with all the trimmings. We have a canopy we put over the picnic table, but we sleep on the ground and we cook most of the food with the hibachi grill. I suppose you could call it a gritty experience, but it is not done so that we have to tough it out; we really like a few days a year where things are bare bones and simple.
Starting the day with a cup of camp coffee is a beautiful thing. Not only is it nice to be able to sit and sip it as you do nothing but watch the sun climb in the sky, but I love the sound of the old percolator singing its song… “ Doo ba doo ba doo-doo!”” (remember the old commercials with the bee bopping sound of the bubbling pot with the window on the top?!) My Gramps swore that percolated coffee was the best, and sitting in my camp chair I had to agree.
You get all kinds of wonderful snacks camping that don’t seem appropriate anywhere else, too. When I was a kid, we pretty much only had store-bought cookies when we camped. I learned to master the art of pulling apart an Oreo one summer in the Rockies. Dad’s cookies are great for camping too, especially if you can get the Variety Pack – then everyone gets to pick their favourites (and if no one likes those crunchy oatmeal cookies, you can try feeding them to the squirrels or birds! – just kidding). We would always have Jiffy Pop popcorn one evening too – it was a real art to get those kernels to pop just right in that space-age container that you shook over the fire. Chloae tried some this year, but I think we need more practice (and for her taste, probably less coaching from Dad!)
The quintessential camping experience is definitely food on a stick. We don’t just do hot dogs of course; here is where Martin’s expertise comes in. He always likes to cook something on a spit when we camp – I think part of the attraction is to see the looks on people’s faces as they pass by! But it is a great tasting meal to have a leg of lamb slowly turned over a charcoal fire, matched with some freshly chopped Greek salad and grilled flatbread. Then for the perfect dessert, we roasted marshmallows over the coals. I am happy to say that no one ended up with marshmallow in their hair (something I don’t recommend beware of cousins you may have with a propensity to wave things in the air!) We even discovered that if you lick out the filling in the Oreo and replace it with a toasted marshmallow, it is an ethereal experience. We sat and munched and watched shooting stars in the sky. It was like having box seats at some special performance to which Mother Nature had only invited us.
Maybe it’s true that things taste better because you are on holiday, but whatever the reason, it is worth enjoying them to the fullest, under the stars with friends and family. Life is just too short not to have lots of those memories, don’t you think?
Read more Happy Gourmand articles
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- What's in your lunchbox? Nov 23
- Isn’t it funny... Nov 16
- Coffee and a donut Nov 9
- All by myself Nov 2
- Fun out with friends Oct 26
- Fairytale season Oct 12
- A sense of place Oct 5
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