Our campfire fare this weekend consisted of Tofurky Brats or Smart Dogs with a raw grated carrot & beet salad. For the salad:
- 1.5 cups grated raw beets (about four small/medium beets peeled)
- 1.5 cups grated carrot
Peel beets and carrots. Grate with the food processor. Pour into bowl. Prepare vinaigrette.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1.5 T apple cider vinegar
- 2 t dijon mustard
- 2 t minced garlic
- dash of smoked paprika or Tabasco sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste (about ½ t of each)
Pour over beets and carrots, stir and let stand in fridge until the campfire’s hot and the dogs are barkin’ to be roasted.
Our sweet fire brought to mind of the best of campfires. Those have to be in Canada, where you rely on a good campfire for cooking, warmth from chilly northern air, as well as a smokey respite from blood thirsty black flies and mosquitoes. Sound harsh? Maybe, but my dad and his cronies have made annual or biannual fishing trips north for roughly 40 years. The crazy thing, too, is that they go to the exact same spot every year. Since they rounded a bend and one fisherman spotted a fish jump, camp remains six hours in canoe preceded by 18 hours of back roads and highway from home. By canoe you cross multiple portages traversing 35 miles of endless river tributaries that undulate between trees, rocks and sky.
I’m no fisherman, but I’ve tagged along three times, enough to have experienced some sweet walleye dinners, cliff diving and been closer to a baby eagle than the EPA would likely consider legal. No harm done.
This leaves me thinking of the passing of a 90 year old family friend, Bill. He had a great grin and always loved a good chat. He cultivated a beautiful fruit orchard. Ever giving with his produce, I’d stop by in the fall for a few pecks. Even when frail with failing health, he’d crawl up on his rickety wooden ladder and lean out toward the tippy top branches to select the best apples and pears to share. Not only was he a master gardener and farmer but he loved to fish. As he approached his 80s, his health forced him to stay behind from the great Canada fishing trips. I could tell from our conversations that he wanted nothing more than to go with.
He passed away last week, and his funeral was a day before this year’s fishing trip was already planned to depart. While surely not eating beets, I’m thinking those boys are sitting around the campfire feasting on walleye and recollecting how their home away from home came to be. It was Bill, their friend and father, after all who saw that first fish jump off the rock that became their fishing hot-spot and camp.