Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Food on the Fire

I love food cooked over an open fire, especially when we are camping. My copy of the Home Comfort Cookbook, published in 1948, gives tips for "Cooking Picnics". I'm guessing this would be our version of campfire food. If you have a firepit in your backyard like we do, you can do this on a nice summer afternoon when it's not too hot, and not too windy. We've always had rules for the kids whenever they were near any type of fire, and I can happily say no one was ever burnt or injured so they seemed to have worked.

1. No running when the fire is lit. Stand still or walk slowly.

2. No touching-- not with a stick, a hotdog fork or your finger.

3. No throwing things in the fire. Nothing. Not water, not stones, not your brother.

4. Never put anything in the fire unless mom or dad tells you to (such as trash at the end etc.)

5. No jumping. Not over the fire, near the fire, or in the fire. Jumping is bad.


As the kids got older we allowed them to help us build the fire, and cook. This may seem overly cautious, but burns are nasty and I always believe it's better to be safe than sorry. My two oldest are now teens and have wood fires in our firepit for their friends without our help. (Yes, I do still peek out to see if they are doing okay.)

The following is from the Home Comfort Cookbook. ( I suggest using long, wooden handled hotdog forks. They are inexpensive and can be cleaned afterwards in hot, soapy water, then rinsed. )

A small hot fire of twigs will cook some food like the Cheese Bobs below, but for corn or potatoes you will need good hot coals. Always be sure your fire is cold before leaving it. (Cold water can be slowly poured on the fire if you need to leave before it's cool.) Below is a picture of one of our fires. The "coals" are where the wood is whitened and red-- but not falling apart into ash yet:

Cheese Bobs: Cut cheese in one inch cubes. Wrap each cube in a strip of bacon and fasten it with a toothpick. Cook them until the bacon has cooked and the cheese has just started to melt. Have rolls or bread ready for the Cheese Bobs will be very hot.

Roasted Potatoes: Cover medium-sized potatoes with a coating of firm mud. Place them on a bed of hot coals. Turn them carefully at least once while they are cooking. They will need to be cooked for one hour.

(Notes: my husband remembers this from Boy Scouts, and he told me that the mud hard hardens and breaks off fairly easily. Remove carefully from the fire with tongs and allow to cool slightly.)

Roasted Corn: Dampen ears of corn (do not remove the husks) with salted water. Lay the corn on the hot coals (there should be no flames). Turn them often with a fork or stick (tongs) so that the husks do not burn. Young, tender corn will cook in about ten minutes. Serve with salt and plenty of butter.

On OFL we have a neat article from Mary Emma on Fried Chicken traditions:


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