Suzi Mitchell: The camp stove conundrum
When our neighbors Jim and Heidi invite us over for dinner, we know we’re guaranteed several things. Delicious food and drink, music I’ve never heard of but inevitably add to my own Pandora mix, and much laughter.
Over one of Jim’s too-good-to-be-true summer cocktails last month, the idea of a camping trip surfaced along with the laptop, credit cards and a map of Steamboat Lake. Before we knew it, we had four families signed up and meals allocated.
Typically, I enjoy cooking, especially for a crowd but my repertoire is based on the comfort and ease of my own kitchen. A camping novice until I moved to Colorado, devising a one pot wonder over a mini propane powered gas ring proved a little challenging.
In the early days, I took the lead from a handful of seasoned backcountry aficionados thinking dried food was the way forward. Sadly, I am still scarred by our best man’s Alfredo, teriyaki, jerky mix eaten around a lake somewhere outside Leadville.
No one enlightened me about the ease of car camping dining until I witnessed a homemade pizza and blackened salmon salad served by tented neighbors on the outskirts of a picturesque spot by Hot Sulphur Springs.
Heading into this weekend’s expedition to Steamboat Lake, I knew I had to raise the bar with my assigned dinner for 18. As our gang of hungry campers descended around the fire they were surprised not to find a hearty Scottish stew, which I understand had been expected. I opted for a well received Colorado chili served with cornbread and all the fixings, no dried packages in sight.
Not even Mother Nature could manage to dampen my elevated spirits. As a giant storm cloud momentarily burst we were huddled inside the latest Big Agnes brainwave, still enjoying good food and of course, much laughter.
Readers challenge: If you have a memorable camping dish to share, good or bad, please let me know. I’d love to hear about it.
Born and raised in Scotland, Suzi Mitchell moved to Steamboat in 2002. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business, she strapped on a backpack and traveled the world before settling on a career in golf tourism. After marrying an American, home became the Yampa Valley. Time spent in marketing and public relations led to a passion for writing. She now works as a freelance journalist and blogger with articles published on both sides of the Atlantic. When not researching for an impending series of children’s books, this energetic mom of three can be found chasing wayward golf balls on the Haymaker Golf Course or fishing the Yampa.
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