Tue 24 May 2011
They used to make the most clever thing I’ve ever seen or used. I found it at Goodwill a few years ago, but even then, I didn’t know just how useful it would be. I bought it assuming it would sit with our camping gear until I got sick of it taking up space. It took up space for a good year before finally taking it foraging one day. We packed some steak, veggies, and a picnic blanket, then we went on our way. It was drizzly as it usually is in the fall in the Pacific Northwest. We walked for several fruitless hours before we realized that we were getting cranky from being so hungry. The Gangster of Food always needs to find the perfect picnic spot, so when we spied a sun-soaked grassy patch along a creek, we b-lined down to it. He started the fire and I laid out the picnic blanket and readied the feast for fire. This was the beginning of countless times we’ve make use of our little portable grill.
Why exactly are we so enamored with it? Well, because you can barbecue in a park that isn’t equipped with grills, you can snuggle up on a picnic blanket right next to a creek and make delicious steak, and while camping you can pull some coals off the big grill and grill your veggies on a smaller grill where they won’t fall into the fire. It creates the intense heat of a little oven, but it’s super easy to set up and compact if you want to keep your car camping and day hiking gear down to a minimum, but still want to make more than oatmeal and freeze-dried soup.
When a certain someone is around, he doesn’t make just steak, he insists on grilling asparagus, onions, and any fungus we might forage that day.
No matter how prepared we think we are, we often have to improvise. On this day, when snuggled up next to a creek after hiking and foraging, we used newspaper and a loaf of bread to absorb the juices because we forgot plates.