Thursday, July 31, 2008


Have you ever covered a potato with wet clay? Stuck it in a hollow under an campfire? Neat huh? If not, you really missed out on a special treat.
What started me remembering the incident, were the groundsmen raking the pine needles up from the pine trees out by the parking area. Also, Food Channel has been obsessed with BBQ. So, I thought I would entertain you with what used to be the original.
Where I grew up, we lived right in the middle of a young pine forest. So, every Spring the ground would be covered several inches in pine needles.
My Dad would put my brother and I to raking up the needle fall from inside the fenced yard and out by the drive and his office cabin. Also, between the house, woodshed and garage port. The rest of the needles out in the woods, were raked up by the guys from the sawmill. But, the guys didn't get to do afterwards, what Bud and I did.
If the weather was just right. No wind, not too dry. Bud and I would go to Mom and ask her for something to bonfire cook. Well, we always had potatoes, so many years, that is what we used.
We would each have our own small pine needle fire. We would dig a shallow hole. Line it with rocks. Tony our dog was always interested when there was food going. So, he would be there. Yeah, he liked fire baked potatoes too.
Make some mud and cover the potatoes with a shell of mud. Put the potato in the hole, cover that with a goodly amount of pine needles. We would burn needles until we thought the potato was done. Took maybe half an hour.
If Mom had purchased some hot dogs and marshmallows that month. Bud and I would toast hot dogs while the potatoes were baking. This would be our supper. Boy, Tony loved those days. He would just sit and drool in anticipation of the treats he would get.
Nothing like a bonfire toasted hot dog. No bun. When we felt the 'tater might be done.
would dig it out of the fire. Scrabble it around on the ground, then pick it up to break the hardened mud casing off. Mostly, they were done enough to eat. We ate the potatoes with salt , butter, and well, charcoal. I don't know, I guess it's a kid thing. Yes, Tony got his share too. Dogs will always like 'people food'.
Bonfire marshmallows are great too. All crispy all around, pull that off, eat it. Then toast the bit that's left. Like getting two marshmallows out of one. Oh, yeah, sometimes we had apples to roast too. Those were good. The heat developed the sugar.
After my kid brother was born, our chore assignments changed, and we didn't get to do that anymore.
Dad had the hired men do all the raking.
This is a picture of the house where I lived as I grew up. It no longer exists. It was destroyed some time in the 70's. But you can see all the pine trees.

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