Bacon S’mores

I’m sure this *never* happens to you, but during our trip to Little River, I found myself with an excess of bacon. Don’t ask. I was either overly prepared or overly ambitious. Thankfully I was camping with an adventurous group of fire-loving enthusiasts who made short order of my predicament.

We’d been roasting marshmallows, making traditional s’mores, then changing it up with gourmet chocolate, Newman-Os, giant-sized marshmallows, and dreams of Nutella. But when I broke into the bacon, the tenor of our experiments changed.

Instantly, we bacon loves salivated and forgot that anything else was possible. Photo by Tim Wessel.

Instantly, we bacon lovers salivated and forgot that anything else was possible. Photo by Tim Wessel.

In case you want to likewise combine breakfast and dessert over the fire, here’s how:

Bacon S’mores

1. Place a marshmallow on top of a chocolate square on top of a graham cracker.
2. Thread a slice of bacon on your roasting stick.
3. Carefully cook over the fire, rotating for evenness.
4. When done to likeness, carefully slide bacon off stick with a cracker, creating a sandwich.

The hot bacon will melt the marshmallow and chocolate. But there’s no need to wait that long. Bite into it. Share it. Let bacon grease sizzle down your chins. Do it again.

Bacon on a stick by Sarah Adam 2015

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Little Rascals

When I was 17, a bunch of us were able to escape camp counselor duty one evening and drove past the Canadian border to wander around the streets of Quebec only to wind up in the waning post-midnight hours along the shores of Lake Willoughby. 

Exhausted, energized from all we’d seen, and dreading the day’s regiment of duties, we settled around a smoky fire passing around our bottle of cheap wine. We had broken into a package of Oreos, but abandoned them as we tucked into our sandy sleeping bags for what dreams we could capture.

This memory I still carry with me: stirring to the overhead chatter of animals, hazy in my understanding of my surroundings, and watching as one by one, the Oreo cookies were taken by deft furry paws. Squirrels scrambled from limb to limb, predacious and intent on the vellum-wrapped package at the center of our circle. Within minutes of our waking, we’d found the cookies completely gone, and the rodents that had eaten them berserk from the sugar they’d consumed.

I remember this every time I encounter a “Do Not Feed The Animals” notice. Those squirrels did not need any sugar, surely. They did not intend to wake me and my compatriots with their adrenaline-fueled activity. But that morning they were as rowdy as the children we’d taken a break from, as cute and precious, as cumbersome and hard to ignore. We roused one another, dumped our gear into the trunk, and drove back to base camp without much conversation.

My lesson from this was to never pack Oreos on a camping trip. Instead I pack the hippie version, Newman-Os, which provides just the right amount of chocolate cookie flavor and not too much of the sugar. Best of all, the animals tend not to go for the stuff.
IMG_1089

Newman-Os, not quite a sugary as Oreos.

Of course, I have not learned my lesson entirely. Lately, this is what I have discovered that camp critters love to shove into their mouths:

1. M&Ms. Especially the peanut/peanut butter flavored ones. Especially if they happen to be loose in your makeup bag on top of the picnic table. Believe me, camp animals have figured out zippers!

2. Sunflower seeds. They may not like them, but they will try their best to get a taste of them. Hard plastic containers are no match for jaws of determined beasts. If they’ve left any seeds behind, it’s probably because they don’t like the flavor.
No sunflowers for you!

No sunflowers for you!

3. Snickerdoodles. Especially if they’re homemade and especially if you have brought them for the group to share, and you happen to leave them by the fire as you drunkenly and regrettably crawl into your tent without them.

What are you to do when the critters just waddle up to you and do their squeaky best to part you from your bread crumbs? Muster up your best Snow White/Tarzan/Beastman and remind them what happens to Mogwais after midnight.
The cuteness!!

The cuteness!!

Camp Make-Do

The Perc

  1. Pack your kitchen bag days in advance.
  2.  Make sure you remember the batteries you forgot last trip.
  3. Forget that the percolator is still in the dishwasher.
  4. Drive 4.5 hours to the Adirondacks to set up camp for 4 days.

You know this story—and if you live on coffee, you will never forget it. The moment you paw through the food locker looking for something in the tote of tools, you realize that the coffee pot that should be there is not there. Your mind plays a sideshow of all the last places it has been. You’ll need a good excuse to tell that person wrestling with the tent poles because You know what? Let’s not do coffee this weekend is just not going to cut it.

4:30 pm in Vermont rural parlance means “closed” or “closing”. We need to get to a general store fast. We drive to a nearby gas station, but they do not have emergency coffee makers for sale. The clerk suggests the Ace Hardware* in downtown Inlet. We choose the cheaper option of a Melita cup filter over a replacement pot and head back to camp.

 

I bought this pot at a yard sale for $1. Fortunately, I also remembered to bring it with me

Turns out, boiling a pot of water is easier than boiling a pot of coffee. And seriously, who washes a pot that just boils water?

Grrrrrrill

  1. Pack your kitchen bag days in advance.
  2. Agree on the necessary menu and kitchen items.
  3. Assume he’s packed the griddle you ALWAYS use to cook on.
  4. Sleep to a lullaby of loon calls and wake knowing there’ll soon be hot coffee.

When you rouse, you wander around to the food locker to bring about breakfast. But you discover this too—the griddle is not in the trunk. Nor is the cast iron skillet anywhere in sight. And there is not enough coffee on hand to make this situation right.

Ours is not a stick and foil operation. We are gas stove chefs.

“Why don’t we go into town and buy a fry pan,” he suggests. You catalog the weekend’s menu, and the cost/benefit of an additional expense and decide against it.

“I’ll cook everything in this,” you say, pointing to the 2 qt pot that now boils water for coffee. “I can do eggs and bacon in this.”

“But what about pancakes?” We only eat pancakes when we camp.

“I’ll use the dutch oven lid,” you say. “We’re camping…we’ll make do.”

He brought the dutch oven for a dish he was making. I convinced him that the lid was meant to double as a griddle.

He brought the dutch oven for a dish he was making. I convinced him that the lid was meant to double as a griddle.

You love the craft of making-do that you just might camp this way forever.

*This store is an amazing amalgam of tourist, homeowner, and outdoorsy merchandise. It is a true lifesaver, minus the life jackets.