A long time ago when my husband and I were dating and still in college we used to make day trips to state parks and grill out at the shelters and picnic areas there. That sounds so boring in today’s world of non-stop entertainment, but we thought it was the most fun then.
Being college students we didn’t keep a lot of supplies on hand, so we did everything as simply as we could. We would take a bag of charcoal and use one of the permanent grills at the park to cook on. You can imagine how clean these were after years of use (or lack thereof), but I don’t remember doing a lot of cleaning, just mostly scraping. I guess the fire helped get rid of the germs.
Usually we took hamburger meat which we patted out there in the park with our sanitary hands. Sometimes we had hot dogs instead. In my memory the buns were soft and fresh. There weren’t many condiments because we would forget to bring what we had on hand in the dorm and were too cheap to buy a whole jar of something at the store just to use for one meal.
We would also take a can of baked beans (still a favorite of my husband’s, especially now that there are so many flavored varieties). Sometimes we had a pan to cook them in, but often they were heated in the can atop the grill or sometimes down in the coals. Once we forgot a can opener but my husband’s pocket knife did the trick and we got the can open far enough to get the beans out. Usually we brought a bag of chips as well.
Once a friend of mine and her boyfriend came along, and she insisted we bake biscuits on the fire. Her method involved using a forked stick and the round metal ends of the biscuit can. We spent long minutes holding the stick with a biscuit perched on the can’s end that was balanced on the fork of the stick. And since there were only two ends and eight biscuits, this process had to be repeated again and again. I recall eating doughy biscuits that night and never trying that since then.
Of course you know we had s’mores for dessert. There never seemed to be enough (I wished for just one more) and yet I always ate so many I made myself sick because they were so, so, finger-licking good.
We came back dirty and smelling of smoke but none too worse for the wear. If someone told me I had to do that for supper tonight I would complain about the work involved (since it would be so much easier to cook at home in the kitchen), but I have a feeling I would return home later tonight just as contented as I did those many years ago.