You want me to do what??
That was my question, about a month ago when Husbeast said that there was a cook needed at base camp and he thought I should do it. That may not seem like a big deal to you. However (comma, pause....) anyone who knows me even a smidgen, knows that I don't really like to cook. I don't even really like to cook for my family. In my perfect world, they would live on Shakeology, oatmeal and sandwiches. Seriously. I know. It's pathetic. But whatever.
Friends and family have sent me cookbooks over the years, mostly as a joke I'm afraid. Some of them truly hope I'd learn to love them. I've used them, and I have found some recipes I love. But I definitely am not Pioneer Woman. Sometimes, when I'm in the kitchen, I hold her books up to my head to try to absorb some of her kitchen awesomness through osmosis. I don't think it's working.
Anyway, Husbeast made me talk to the guy who operates the hunting business and runs the camps. He told me he wanted me to do it in part because I know what a cluster it can be with hunters coming it and going out and such.
I worried about having to make fancy foods and desserts in camp.
I worried about not running the barbecue correctly and burning the living $h1t out of the meat.
I worried about having to start a propane cook stove and make coffee at 4 in the morning.
I worried about getting a fire going in the wood stove.
I worried about feeding people who don't know me from Adam.
I worried about Husbeast not being in camp when I was.
These worries occupied my thoughts on a daily basis for about two weeks. The date on the calendar that I was supposed to go in, was like having a root canal scheduled.
Two days before my start date, Husbeast showed up with a list. "These are the things they say you need in camp."
My heart stopped, I passed out. Just kidding. But I did shriek a little "He told me that stuff would all be there! Am I supposed to go to town and go shopping?? I have no idea what to buy!"
That's what Husbeast thought. And I needed to. But I will remind you, I barely get my own shopping done without forgetting things, much less what I would have to do to feed other people.
Luckily, there are people coming in and out a lot and I was able to get a message to the main cook that I needed groceries. He is a culinary instructor at a college and knows this stuff inside and out. When I panicked he went to work and sent me the food I would need for the six days I would be cooking. (Now you're thinking "she only had to cook for 6 days?! That's nothing!" Well. Just stop it. Refer to paragraph 1 for why...)
Anyway, I recruited my friend, whose husband also works for the same hunting camp and she said she would come in with me and help me. That was a huge relief. That first night when I showed up, I was VERY happy to see that Husbeast was indeed in camp. My friend showed up and we decided that potatoes and corn would be the side dish to the meat. Husbeast started the barbecue and she and I started cutting up potatoes. I even had to ask her how she cut her potatoes. I learned something new...
We threw those into a cast iron pan and started the propane stove. It may have gone "WOOSH" the first time we started it. Maybe. Nothing melted or burned that wasn't supposed to though. That's a win in my book!
Husbeast knew I was nervous and he went ahead and put the meat on. My friend and I went to building lunches for the hunter and his guide and Husbeast for the next day. Those were easy! Meat and cheese on bread. Those go in the baggie. Add little packets of condiments, a candy bar, pretzels and an apple. Those all go in a bigger baggie and in the morning, they grab them on their way out. Sandwiches. I can handle that.
My friend left after dinner and wished me luck the next morning.
Weebeast and I and Husbeast would be sleeping in one of the camp trailers. My alarm was set for 4:30 the next morning. I didn't sleep very well because I kept waking up hoping that I hadn't missed my alarm! When it finally went off, I stumbled to the tent with my headlamp on and went to work getting coffee ready. I was very excited to see that all I would have to do was throw three sealed bags of coffee in a big camp coffee pot and fill it with water. I mastered the propane stove and went to work on scrambled eggs.
As the hunters and the guides filed in, I was ready with breakfast. And coffee. That is key. But we all know that.
They rode off with their lunches and I realized that I had survived. Weebeast and I were free to drive home, get chores and school done, do chores again and be back that night for dinner.
I fell into my routine the next couple of days and started to enjoy my process of camp cooking. It wasn't as scary as I had imagined it because my menu was simple:
Steak and potatoes and a veggie for dinner
Eggs and bacon or sausage for breakfast.
It was also made less scary because Husbeast was there all but one of those nights.
By my last day there, the main cook had come in and left me some biscuits and I made biscuits and gravy for breakfast on the last morning.
I even made cupcakes or muffins while I was home to take back in for dessert. One night I used left over pork chops to make a pot of beans with. I was getting creative! Well, for me anyway.
I'm off the hook for a little while now, but I am expected back in a month or so to start the process again. It'll be a little colder and a little darker and I'll appreciate that wood stove a little bit more. But I'm a little less worried about pulling it off and I may start looking at a cookbook again to see what I can try in camp. Maybe. I'll keep you posted...