Sunday, January 23, 2005

Pre-Camp, Camp, Post-Camp


I went camping this weekend, so this is a three-fer; three days with one posting. It's not exactly a cheat since I vowed to post every day, but some days I just don't have a *gasp* Internet Connection.

The schedule on Friday was tight. I was supposed to fly in to Houston in the morning, spend a few hours at the office doing very critical things that would alter the stock price and possibly ignite the next Economic Boom, go home to repack my pack, pick up the Kid and head for the hills.

Most of this went OK but plans are subject to the whims of Mother Nature, Human Nature and Adolescent Hormones, the last of which cause the brain to go numb.

Mother Nature provided fog. Thanks, Mother Nature, the fog was really cool and I especially liked the part where the wheels came down as we descended through thick cloud and we were all, like, wha? why tha wheels goin' down when we're so high up. The pilots, bless their pea pickin' hearts neglected to tell us that we were flying blind as a bat into Houston and barring any mountains that appeared by magic we'd be OK. Well, mountains or tall buildings or trees or power lines or light poles or other planes or that furry thing in Twilight Zone that tried to rip up the wing and scared the hell out of William Shatner.

I continued to read my Mad Magazine. What, me worry?

We broke through the soup at like zero feet and thumped down on the runway as our flight attendant chirped (as if this was ROUTINE) Welcome to Houston, y'all.

As we got off the plane the folks watching us from the terminal probably thought we were all Muslim because we were walking down the steps from the plane, falling to our knees and kissing the tarmac. Hey, whatever works I always say.

The Camp

No Internet Connection is not that bad. OK, yes it is, but with the correct mental attitude it can be tolerated for a short period. However, I found myself looking at a tree and wondering "Hmmm, what kind of tree is that?" and being frustrated by not having access to Google. I expect in the future, just six months before we all have anti-gravity belts, that there will be a cool device that I can just point to the unknown tree and it will read out "Hickory, stupid." I also expect future electronic devices to have an attitude.

Camp was cool. No, let me correct that. Camp was downright cold. Yeah, I know that Frostbite Falls, Wisconsin got down to minus 50-something but so what? Anything less than about positive 40 feels the same. Chilly, cold, it's only a matter of degrees. (ha! that's a joke, son!) We got down to 25 F which is below freezing and I was in a mood to sing Kumbyah with my cheesehead friend just out of sympathy.

Hill Country, Texas, can get a bit nippy. Forecast was for 22 F and 30 mph winds. It was cold and it was windy. We camped in a grove of trees and were quite sheltered. We didn't get much wind on us but we could hear the wind in the trees.

Food wise it was pretty basic: oatmeal in the morning, cold tuna fish in a pouch for lunch and some kind of rehydrated rice thing for dinner.

We survived.

Post Camp

If one acts pitiful enough following a camping trip, one can get a meal cooked for one. That's my philosophy and I'm sticking with it as long as I get a free meatloaf after the trip.

"We're having meatloaf tonight, is that OK?"

"No, that's pretty unimaginative considering I've eaten oatmeal and rehydrated rice-thing in the freezing cold for the past two days. Try again!"

An unlikely response.


Who doesn't have a meatloaf story? I used to hate meatloaf as a kid. I think most kids do.

And, I don't know why. Meatloaf is a hit at our house and maybe it's the recipe or maybe it's the beatings if you don't eat it, go figger.

Our meatloaf is a mixture of many ingredients and although similar is never the same each time. We mix hamburger and pork sausage, onions, mushrooms (sometimes), an egg, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, garlic, black pepper, dried onion flakes, basil, garlic (yeah, twice, so sue me) and nutmeg if I do it. All that raw stuff is kneaded for at least 5 minutes, formed into a loaf, placed in a bread pan and cooked at 350 F until done. "Done" is when an instant read thermometer reads 160 F or about 2 hours. I pour in a quarter-cup of water to keep it moist.

Meatloaf has been a favorite at our house mainly because we always use fresh ingredients, it's served right out of the oven and it's just darned tasty. You can't beat that combination!


Andrew Purvis said...

What do you use to help it hold form. I make my own bread crumbs by drying fresh bread in the oven and crushing what comes out. About 1/4c helps prevent collapse.

What's great about meatloaf, and I loved the stuff as a kid (though perhaps because, much like french fries, it was a ketchup delivery system), is that it is almost mad-chef-proof. Wanna try ssome new ingredients like adding a packet of chicken taco seasoning, just for fun? Hey, it will probably survive.

If we could find a way to create military vehicles out of meatloaf, the most a nuke could even do is give it the general appeal of leftovers, never mind that our troops, in a pinch, could take a break from MREs.

Shalee said...

Like cornbread (see one of Twelve's earlier blogs), there is no definite recipe for meatloaf, and yet we all know how to make ours by heart. Growing up I too loved meatloaf, especially helping to make it. Ahhh the pleasure of squishing all that meat and egg and spices in between your fingers...

Our family used oatmeal to keep its form. (Can't tell you how much because I've always done it by touch and feel method - maybe 1/2 cup?) Oh and lots of garlic, diced onions, and thyme. Add some of your favorite bbq sauce (Kraft believe it or not has turned out to be our favorite in meatloaf) and a bit of tomato sauce or ketchup for moisture. We formed it with two valleys on top filled with a row of ketchup and a row of bbq sauce,and a drainage for each side to let the fat escape. Throw in the oven on 350 for an hour and you are good to go. Oh and don't forget the mashed taters on the side.

As a side note: Never try peanut butter as your meat adhesive. Trust me, it doesn't work.

Bret said...

My meatloaf story: The food at my college, despite the encouraging name (Rice) was desperately bad. Or despicable. Or both. However, they did make an edible meatloaf, and lots of it (we ate family-style, minus the father figure with armpatches on his sweater, the mother figure with creases in her dress, and the civil conversation).

Until one day, when the removal of the end slice of meatloaf revealed a hideous shade of purple. I kid you not. It was purple with orange overtones. There was mass wretching at our table, for once not beer-induced. Haven't eaten a bite of meatloaf ever since.