Cooking with fire

Last week I attended (half of) a talk with Paula Marcoux, author of Cooking with Fire. I unfortunately missed learning about how and why she started cooking with fire–literally, she makes a fire pit in her backyard, on the beach or in a fireplace– but the parts I did catch were incredible. She cooks sea bass nailed to a nearly “ignited” cherry wood plank positioned just to the side and above the fire, pita over a stack of twigs and makes the crunchy sugar seal of creme brulee with a flat piece of hot metal.

I lack a yard, and my fire-making skills could use some practice, so I don’t think that I’ll be able to cook in the way of my ancestors anytime soon, but it was amazing to learn about.

I actually went camping this weekend, and so I definitely do not have any exciting recipes for you today. In fact, my campfire cooking is dismal. The last time that I camped, I attempted to make a hobo dinner with veggies. I had potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, onion….I’m sure some other stuff but I don’t remember. I piled them into aluminum foil and sealed it up. I stuck it in the fire. The fire had some difficulties staying alit. I battled, flames v. foil packet, for maybe 20 minutes; then, I gave up. I ate some raw veggies for dinner that night, and luckily I had brought along some hummus. Of course, I ate plenty of s’mores to make up for the sad dinner.

This time camping, I didn’t even attempt to get creative with food. In fact, I left all of the food responsibilities to Ben, which led to some interesting choices. I survived and ate plenty of s’mores yet again, but next time I might check out Paula’s book–after lots of rearranging and three firestarters, we made a great fire, even with some damp logs. If we can repeat it again, which I really think we’ll be able to do, I might attempt one of her most simple recipes.

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