Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It Speaks to My Virgo-ness

Archy G and I are getting  ready for a trip.

I've been trying to blog about it for a few weeks now, but every time I get close to finishing, I get distracted by something else entirely. Like that little thing called "work" that I have to do in order to be entitled to this vacation I am planning.

Anyway, remember how AG and I are becoming culinary geniuses?  Getting all Julia-Nigella-Bobby-Alton on the pots and pans and my sad little two burner 1979 Jenn-Air that shoots sparks out of the bottom when you turn on the fan? Oh I didn't tell you that? Well now I can publicly complain because my friends/land lords got me a new stove and I am pleased as the pies I have been baking at even temperatures for the last month.

I digress.

AG and I are going on a trip that has required planning waaayyyy in advance.

And cooking for ourselves.

On a teeny tiny stove. With a small pot. Using only the ingredients we carry or forage. There will be no refrigeration. There will be no quick jots to the store for one more thing. There will be no modifications to the menu.

The menu which requires foresight. Precise(ish) measurement. A suspension of our cooking-challenge approach. Filtered water. A bear canister.

A menu which speaks to the Virgo I am.

To say that I have developed an Excel spreadsheet menu with each day of food carefully planned, the number of calories painstakingly calculated (we each need 2500 - 4500 per day), the precise weight of each meal figured (we'll eat about 2.5 pounds each per day), and the shopping list spelled out would be just silly. I would never do something like that.

Well. Maybe.

What I am willing to admit to is the fact that I am dehydrating the bejubus out of everything I can get my hands on.

Like these bananas and plums.

Which I left in my parents freezer. Please eat them, Mom. I used up 12 hours of your electricity to make them!

At home, I have been reading all kinds of blogs about cooking in the backcountry. Like this one called Backpacking Chef and this one all about Wilderness Cooking. Its not that I haven't done this before...I have. That is...many, many moons ago when I took my first archaeology job in Yosemite. And then of course there was the 2 1/2 years working for the more glamorous of the  Department of Interior agencies where I got to backpack all over the darn country. The difference there: I was willing to eat nothing but beef jerky and ramen noodles with pesto packets. And Cheese in a Can with Summer Sausage. My less than 29 again again body could handle that kind of torture.

To combat the hangries I dealt with back them (hungry + angry = know what I'm talking about), I decided to go ahead and COOK some fabulous meals, like the blogs above suggest, then dehydrate them! Lighter, filling meals? Okay! Dirtbag gourmet? Yes please!

So far I have made Jamaican Jerk Black Beans and Rice,

 Thai Beef Wraps,

 Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili (which I always add cinnamon to), and Chocolate Almond Cappuccino Bars 

all in preparation for being ArchyG's camp chef. Camp Iron Chef ArchaeologyAsh, if you don't mind. Did I mention he will be hunting the whole time?

We went to our location two weeks ago to see how things would be for us.

 For AG, it was an opportunity to look for deer. Again. But really, I know it was because he wanted to test the Chili recipe.

 We even took the dog. Who clearly enjoyed herself.

 Those are satisfied people. Totally nourished with Sweet Potato Chili. Because just as we suspected, it was delicious.
Needless to say, I am stoked! How fun...I get to cook delicious and nutritious meals that do not involve a variation of ramen...and PLANNING is part of the deal. A necessity, actually.

Last night I spent most of the evening cooking replacement Sweet Potato Chili and my own special Three Bean Mole Chili. I stuck it in the dehydrator this morning before I left for work.

Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how many legs you have, I came home at lunch time.

To this.

Oh yes. That would be enough chili to feed AG and I for three nights. Three nights for two people. Six meals total. All of it on the floor. Along with my dehydrator.

Ellie and I had a rather heated discussion about why she did this heinous crime against calories. She tried to blame it on bears...

saying that it was the best way for me to learn how to deal with a bear attack in the woods.

But I am not buying it.

While the stomach ache she is likely suffering from that much chili consumption should be punishment enough, all I am saying is that she has now made the list of "contingency" meals, just in case the real bears do come (and if, and only if, we get snowed in and break all our appendages and Mammoth Mountain erupts and we are surrounded by a river of lava).

What do you think? Should she still get to come?

Tonight I am scrambling to figure out if I have enough ramen to feed AG and I for the three nights we were going to have chili.

Virgos are not really known for their flexibility. Especially when it comes to list making and menu planning. At least not this Virgo.

I really hope I can catch us some fish...

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