Thursday, November 1, 2007

The cook circle

In 1874, they didn't have the convenience of stovetop cooking or a microwave and while most kitchens boasted a wood-burning stove, cooking outdoors for a team of construction workers was even more rustic. In my story, Once Jilted, Shauna takes the job of crew cook and has to learn to cook on an open fire.

For these few scenes, I drew on my own experiences camping as a girl scout. We always had what was called a fire circle, a cleared place encircled with rocks. To begin, we dug a pit and fashioned what is called a key hole, a large groove that angled from the ground surface to the pit and provided air to the fire. My favorite style of fire was the A frame where we'd fashion an A with three smaller logs, then set the tinder and kindling against the horizontal crossbar of the A.

I remember one particular fire that I was trying to build. It was dusk and difficult to see, but we wanted roasted marshmellows. I fanned it until I was blue, determined to light it with only one match. The wood was damp and not cooperating, but I could see the glow of one spark and just kept fanning. Finally, we determined that the glow was a piece of orange yarn. Too funny.

After the fire is lit and coals begin to form, a grate is placed over the hole. We have in our possession a very large, flat griddle that is about twenty inches by twenty. I'll post pics later. I can just imagine the many meals cooked on it. We cooked a variety of foods from chicken and rice to chili to flapjacks to cake on the open flames. It was a fond time and one I hold dear.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Love the yarn story!! Sounds like something I would do, lmao!