The other day I was at Barnes & Noble, and I heard a couple guys in the next aisle mocking one of the books. This struck me as unusual, because the only places I normally hear mockery in public are in my head and coming out of my mouth.
As I went around the corner, I saw two employees put down a book and go back to whatever they were doing. Thankful that I didn’t see myself already standing there, I walked over to where they were standing and picked up the book they were looking at. It was called “The Camping Cookbook”.
Now, I have never been camping in my life. If you’ve been following along, you know that Mother Nature and I are mortal enemies, and we have a simple “live and let die” policy, where we don’t directly attack each other, but neither of us will lift a finger to help the other. Camping would be unnecessarily provocative, like firing rockets into a neighbor’s yard.
So I opened this cookbook not knowing exactly what to expect, but I figured I’d find recipes for how to grill hamburgers without having them burnt on the outside and raw on the inside, or how to gut a catfish, or what foods you can add beer to. (Disclaimer: I don’t drink beer, but I believe the answer is “all foods”.)
So I scan through the table of contents. I find the expected recipes for beans and burgers and pancakes, but the first recipe in the book is “Basic Tomato Sauce”. This strikes me as odd. Why would you bring the ingredients for tomato sauce on a camping trip, when it takes up less space to just bring a jar of tomato sauce?
As I read down the list, I found recipes for all of the following:
- Tomato Bruschetta
- Pasta Bolognese
- Chicken satay skewers
- Vegetable Pasta
- Poached Salmon with Lemon
- Barbecued Sea Bass
Maybe camping has changed since the episode of Psych I saw a few weeks ago, but seriously? Tomato Bruschetta? Chicken satay? I don’t watch much reality TV, but I don’t expect to hear Bear Grylls delivering any of the following dialogue:
“Hey Bob, we’re going to be up in the mountains all weekend. Did you remember to pack the sea bass?”
“Yo, Mike! The sign here says ‘No Poaching’! We’re gonna have to throw away all this salmon!”
“Bill, gimme another helping of that there bruschetta and beans!”
“I know we’re lost and you’re thirsty, kids, but we’re saving the water to make Pasta Bolognese for dinner tonight! Deal with it!”
It seems to me that this book is designed for a very specific type of camping. The kind done in the Hamptons or Cape Cod. Or possibly roughing it in Aspen. Anywhere you can have your butler gather up firewood while the chef is unpacking the mango chutney and aioli remoulade.
(Disclaimer: I have no idea what mango chutney and aioli remoulade are. They might not even be foods.)
(Disclaimer 2: I’m not sure what exactly Bear Grylls are, but there wasn’t a recipe for it in the book. I checked.)