Food Tastes Better Outdoors
Out of the hurricane came a few lessons about simple living. The experience also highlighted the importance of food, not only for basic sustenance, but also how it effects our mental state. The first thing we did when we figured out it could be weeks before our power was restored was to set up a cooking station on the back lanai. A swept floor, clean table, propane cooking stove and some basic food items provided everything we needed to not only eat but eat well.
What can you prepare on your basic grill or cooking stove? Pretty much anything you can think of. We rediscovered, through the hurricane experience, that we enjoy preparing breakfast outdoors. From years of camping up until now, we were meant for this moment in many ways. There is something very special about being up early and having to work for your coffee in ways you are not used to. It’s not that big of a deal but having to wait for your water to boil and percolate with your coffee like the “old days” makes it taste a little better. Sitting with the silence of the morning while you sip is a great way to begin any day. Then, when the bacon starts to sizzle and the eggs begin to fry, the air is filled with one of my favorite smells…breakfast. And breakfast outside, mixed with fresh air, is like icing on the proverbial cake.
We prepared just about everything on the grill for lunch. My youngest discovered frozen chicken sandwiches warmed over charcoal are pretty amazing. Nuggets skewered over hot coals actually taste like real chicken. And we prepared fresh chicken as teriyaki, smothered in barbeque sauce or just coated in olive oil and spices just about every day of our hurricane hiatus. We boiled pasta over our camp stove and tossed it with parmesan cheese and butter just about every meal, which would explain the extra pounds we also gained. Dinners were pretty exceptional over the grill. One night, we made a huge pot of chicken and noodles, simmered all day to perfection. We threw a cast iron skillet on and made funnel cakes as the dessert that night. We also discovered if you seal them just right, burgers stuffed full of cheese and jalapenos are delicious.
Throughout the process of living and cooking without electricity, we thought a lot about people living in this space before they had modern conveniences. We kind of relished in it for a few days, really enjoying preparing our food together. We are making a real effort to continue to get creative on the grill as time marches on. Today’s menu will include burgers and chicken, sweet potatoes and squash and fellowship, as we gather outdoors and commune to prepare our food. Yes, there is something special about cooking outdoors.
Photos courtesy of Jodi Schwarzenbach