One of my earliest camping memories involves me sitting in the front seat of Dad’s old tan Jeep Cherokee, munching on a packet of oatmeal cookies (the soft chewy kind with lots of molasses) as Mom and Dad got the tent pitched. (At three and a half years old, I was a bit too small to do much of anything with tent pitching, but I was big enough to lift up one of the aluminum tent poles.)
But like Proust with his madeleine (makes you wonder what Maman Proust put in her baking), I got to thinking about some of the other foods we’ve dined on around the campfire over the years.
Some people seem to think that being out on a camping trip means being deprived of real food and eating freeze-dried this and powdered that. Granted, yes, my dad, being an Air Force guy, had accumulated a ton of MREs over the years. And thankfully for our health (and stomachs), the MREs stayed packed away in the attic, where they belonged. (Dad’s always joking that not even refugees in famine-plagued countries would go near MREs.)
But our various treks have always involved real food. Fruits and vegetables. Eggs. Meat. From-scratch pancakes. (Yes, it can be done.)
Now, we’ve done some of the usual stuff. We’ve roasted a fair number of hot dogs over campfires – and when I was seven, I discovered that it takes a certain knack to keep your hot dog from slipping off the toasting fork and into the fire. We (or at least, my brother and I) consumed plenty of marshmallows, too. But I was a grown woman before I ate my first s’more. (See also: my previous exegesis about s’mores on this blog.)