Campfire Cooking

by Peter Patenaude on April 11, 2012

Read the prelude to Campfire Cooking: Cold Water Canoeing.

Upon landing the canoe on the shoreline, my trail companion and I began to make ready for a fire to cook our meal. The woods were mostly of hemlock and fir so I knew it would take some searching to find birch bark tinder. Soon enough, an old yellow birch caught my attention with its curly, golden locks of bark– an easily noticed tree among the dark softwoods. Today I started the fire with a more modern Firesteel striker and the sparks took in only two attempts. The resin-filled branches quickly grew the flame to catch a more suitable dense wood for cooking.

I filled a percolator in the shallow pond water and added fresh ground coffee in its trap; I could not wait for a hot, relaxing drink after a day of paddling. I mixed my Canoe Bread ingredients with water and assembled a reflector oven. After making four large buns in the pan, I placed the oven near the fire to begin baking. We waited and watched the sun slowly begin to fall until we could smell the sweet bread. When the coffee had finished percolating, I used my jacket sleeve as an oven mitt to hold the metal handles while I poured– sweetened with homemade maple syrup, the coffee made an enjoyable dessert.

Spotting two broken timbers along the shore, I placed them only a few inches apart below the fire and raked coals in between. I set a small cast iron pan over the logs and I had made my own wilderness grill. Four eggs over easy were a nice compliment to our sweet bread and syrup. We finished our meal and took some time to enjoy the scenery before we picked up our makeshift kitchen and headed back home.

Maine, Hunting, Outdoors, Blog, Fire Making, Hemlock Tea, Bushcraft, Birch Bark Tinder, Hike, Peter Patenaude, Reflector Oven, Campfire Cooking, Guide

Maine, Hunting, Outdoors, Blog, Fire Making, Hemlock Tea, Bushcraft, Birch Bark Tinder, Hike, Peter Patenaude, Reflector Oven, Campfire Cooking, Guide

Maine, Hunting, Outdoors, Blog, Fire Making, Hemlock Tea, Bushcraft, Birch Bark Tinder, Hike, Peter Patenaude, Reflector Oven, Campfire Cooking, Guide

Maine, Hunting, Outdoors, Blog, Fire Making, Hemlock Tea, Bushcraft, Birch Bark Tinder, Hike, Peter Patenaude, Reflector Oven, Campfire Cooking, Guide

Maine, Hunting, Outdoors, Blog, Fire Making, Hemlock Tea, Bushcraft, Birch Bark Tinder, Hike, Peter Patenaude, Reflector Oven, Campfire Cooking, Guide

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily April 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hi Peter,

Enjoyed your post on The Backcountry Journal, and this essay was a nice addition. Felt like I was along for the trip. Your photos are crisp and full of stories themselves. I particularly liked this line, as it rang true for me, too: “What a familiar feeling it is, paddling a canoe.”

Looking forward to more writing!

Reply

Peter Patenaude April 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Hi Emily- Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad that you were able to connect to the story. I just visited your blog and it is very nice as well. I am looking forward to spending more time sifting through your material.

Reply

Rabid Outdoorsman April 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Nothing quite like a meal enjoyed beside the lake shore.

If you get a chance drop me an e-mail with where you got your reflector oven!

Thanks!

Reply

Peter Patenaude April 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hi Rabid- You’re right, everything tastes better when you’re outside..and the view doesn’t hurt either.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be sure to email you the information.

Reply

Steve fox April 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Thanks Victoria and Peter for another great story.

Reply

Peter Patenaude April 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Thanks Steve! We’re glad you liked it.

Reply

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