Campfire Cooking

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Published on: Feb. 2, 1997

adapted from a bayside eatery called "Mo's" in Newport, Oregon. Mo's gained acclaim when Paul Newman and crew ate there regularly during the filming of "Sometimes A Great Notion" many years ago.

Her clam chowder is the best I've ever had, and would be great to make in advance to eat riverside on a brisk fall float. It's loaded with all things supposedly bad for you, but once a year it's worth the indulgence. Here's my version to serve about 8-10 generous bowls:

5 pounds potatoes; 1 1/4 pounds onions; 1 pint water; 1 pound chopped bacon; 1 cup flour; 1 1/2 pounds canned chopped clams; 1 bottle clam juice. Peel and chop potatoes and onions and put in a big pot with water and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile saute bacon slowly and when it is done, stir in flour and cook thoroughly. Combine bacon and flour mixture, the clams, juice, potatoes and onions and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring often. This makes about a gallon of chowder base. It keeps for a week or more if you cool it well before refrigerating. As you serve, heat equal parts of fresh whole milk with the base and heat slowly, stirring often. Put a big dollop of butter in each bowl and garnish with parsley and paprika. The base also freezes well.




Some readers sent, in addition to recipes, other tips for campsite meal production and cleanup:

David Sailor of St. Louis says the two most important tools for a successful outdoor meal are: a folding wire grate that sticks into the ground and a handheld wire grate with long handles that opens into two halves. The in-ground grate provides a sturdy surface to cook on and a place to rest the handheld grate for cooking certain items (meat, mostly). Both grates clean up with a small wire brush and store in plastic trash bags.

Carol Pointer of Marshall suggests, as did several other readers, that rubbing a little liquid soap all over the bottom and sides of your cooking pot or skillet before placing on the open campfire will aid the cleanup immensely.

Tony and Mary Jo Griffith of Overland suggest that while you are eating, place a container of water on the grill so you will have hot water for washing dishes later.

Clever Bridget Canaday of ice cream acclaim says a great way to keep hands clean during camping is to place a bar of soap in the toe of an old nylon stocking. Tie it to the handle of your water jug, and you'll prevent your soap from slipping into the mud. You can use a milk jug for your handwashing water; just make a small hole and plug with a stick.

And yet another coffee can use from Bridget: place your toilet paper in a coffee can with lid; it stays dry and animals won't want to nest with it.

Tammy Behnken of St. Charles makes salads by cutting up lettuce and vegetables into a large ziplock bag. Just seal the bag and toss; you can serve right out of the bag and store any leftovers in the same. This eliminates the need to wash extra serving bowls and saves room in the cooler for storage.

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