A Little Dirt Never Hurt

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Last week was nuts. I had been furloughed for several weeks, but the decision was finally made to eliminate my entire department - to cut bait, if you will - in order to help put the overall company in a position to weather the storm that is #covid19. The decision came as no surprise to me, but that doesn't make the reality any easier to process. In a three day span I helped to lay off nearly 30 employees before receiving my own pink slip, an entirely new experience for me, and I needed an escape. I'm obviously not jumping on a plane or going to a spa any time soon, so it needed to be something socially distanced and - let's be real here - inexpensive. I am, after all, now unemployed (or self-employed if you count this little venture).

Enter camping. Michael and I are huge fans of camping, and we've recently discovered the joy of dispersed camping. You see, in U.S. National Forests and on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) you are generally allowed to set up camp anywhere you want, provided you follow a few important rules. (Note: The rules may differ from area to area, so be sure to do your research.) There are no services, which means no electricity, no cell signal, no running water, and no bathrooms of any kind (more on that later), but that also means there is NO ONE AROUND. I realize that, for many, this is basically a nightmare, but for us it is heaven or nirvana or whatever version of peace is your cup of tea.

Now, as a professional chef, preparation (especially food prep) is a way of life for me. But when you're going to spend several days without electricity, running water, or basically anything that makes modern life what it is, the need to be prepared takes on a whole new level of importance. I needed a menu that required minimal prep at camp and created as few dishes as possible since we had to bring whatever water we needed with us. And as much as I love a good hot dog roasted over a campfire, one cannot survive on weenies and s'mores alone. Actually, you probably can, but that just isn't us. I may be covered in a layer of dirt mixed with insect repellant, but, by God, I will eat well!