5-18 We are Going to Rock at Camping

Our gas gave out sometime in the beginning of April, about a week after the bush kitchen was finished. We got another bottle of gas this week (mid-May). In the middle, we’ve drastically improved our cooking skills. The summation is that I am still a better cook but Jason is better at frying things.

A normal meal is cooked like this: find the root crop or banana of choice and peel it accordingly. Chop it up to whatever size you need. Chop up any flavoring items like onions, spring onions, garlic, or peppers. Go build a fire. Dump all of the ingredients in a pot. Fan the fire and add more fuel. Put the pot on the fire. Fan the fire again. Grab a coconut and start skinning. Fan the fire again. Finish skinning the coconut. Fan the fire. Go find a bowl to scratch the coconut into and a spoon to stir the food with. Come back and fan the fire again. Scratch the coconut. Milk it into the pot on the stove. Try not to inhale too much smoke and have to leave the bush kitchen, because this risks the fire going out in that instant of inattention. Once the food is boiling (or frying) merrily, you can let the fire burn down a little, or at least become a little less attentive.
This is what baking looks like here
If I am planning on baking banana bread, I go back into the house and dump flour, sugar, bananas, cinnamon and vanilla in a bowl.

Hopefully the stones are heating on the same fire that I’ve been fanning. Then I go back out and skin another coconut. The coconut milk joins the rest of the ingredients just as the food is getting finished. Too early and the baking soda reacts before it bakes; too late and my fire is too low to bake well. Mash all the ingredients together and dump it in the baking dish. I use a silicon dish that fits perfectly inside one of my cast iron sauce pans. The bottom of the pan is covered in sand and then then the silicon dish goes in. The whole thing is snuggled down in the coals and covered with hot rocks and burning coconut husks. After eating the food, I go back out and build the fire up again. The best baking seems to require two or three re-builds of the fire.

Cooking takes up probably half the day if we cook three meals. Because I think I have better things to do with my time, I often don’t cook three meals. We bake at night and eat the bread for breakfast. Then I’ll cook one meal that we eat for two. If it involves frying, I’ll help Jason prep, but he is in charge of frying it. Mine just don’t turn out as well. I think I’m categorically opposed to using that much palm oil. On days in which we are both lazy and lack the forethought to cook ahead, we go beg food from other people. We eat a lot of laplap that way.

We also make banana tarts.
Same ingredients but the bananas are layered inside a crust
I expect that at the end of two years, I will be a camping rockstar. Though, there aren’t coconuts which save any meal. Coconut milk is like ambrosia. That will be an expensive habit.

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