Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Camping Genius: Georgeburgers!

Mmmmmm, vegeburger.
Back when I was a kid I had a paper route that took me up College Drive in Keene Texas and past Blair's Store.  Blairs was an old-fashioned little grocery with a grill inside where Mrs. George, one of the employees made vegeburgers.  They were wonderful.  I much preferred them to "real" hamburgers. 

I would save up my money (I rode a five mile bike route every day and made a stunning $5 a week) and whenever I could, I'd stop and buy one of Mrs. George's vegeburgers and an ice-cold Dr. Pepper in the tall bottle - right out of one of those chest style box coolers. Life was good.

When Blair's Store was closed and the building torn down, I worried about Mrs. George.  She landed on her feet however, along with her secret vegeburger recipe.  She worked for a time in the Southwestern Adventist College Cafeteria, the Rail Head cafe and any other short-lived restaurant that wanted to corner the vegeburger trade.

Shortly before she died, she finally shared the secret recipe with the mother of an old classmate of mine, Stanley Bruce.  Stanley got it from her and shared it with several of us on Facebook.  I wrote it up on my weblog and here it is.

Every youth leader, Pathfinder director and Adventist of high moral character should have a copy of this recipe and know how to make it over a grill or an open fire.  They are best made in an iron skillet, but I've found a little grill plate I can lay over the charcoal grill and cook vegeburgers without losing them through the grill into the coals.

Check out Mrs. George's recipe.  You'll be the hit of the campout, just make this stuff up ahead of time and transport it chilled to the campsite in a Tupperware container. 

These are also great for Pathfinder fund-raisers as well. 

Bon' appetit,
Tom King (c) 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Attack of The Giant Zucchini

(c) 2012 by Tom King

Everybody needs a recipe so you'll know what to do with a giant zucchini.

Adventists tend to be gardeners.  If they aren't gardeners they feel guilty because they aren't gardening. If they do garden, they always, for some reason inexplicable to me, plant squash.  Squash, for those non-gardeners out there, is an obnoxious vegetable that not very many people particularly like and which, accordingly, grows prolifically if you happen to drop a few seeds in virtually any patch of brick hard ground.

Amateur gardeners will gleefully show up at church or even come to your door with sacks of squash they need to get rid of because they have no idea what to do with it all.......especially the zucchini.

Zucchinis come in large, extra-large and awesome sizes. So as not to hurt the feelings of their well-meaning gardening friends, Adventist cooks have developed dozens of exciting recipes that require zucchini as a key ingredient.  It is my opinion that most of these recipes were invented especially for zucchini so that people would have an answer when their gardener friends ask them, "What did you do with that zucchini I gave you?"

Fortunately, for us all, the favorite answer is, "Zucchini bread!"

Every Adventist guy needs a specialty recipe that he can bake. It gets you all sorts of kudos from the wife and kids if you can produce something delicious, especially if it solves the problem of what to do with that enormous zucchini that's been jammed in the crisper in your fridge for the last week.  Having a delicious zucchini recipe accomplishes two things for the Adventist male.

  1. It demonstrates your competence in the kitchen which is outside your usual purview.
  2. It demonstrates your ability to solve problems - and right about now, you're humming "How do you solve a problem like zucchini." to the tune from "Sound of Music".  Sorry about that.

This dish is guaranteed to make you glad to see a gimme zucchini
So, here is a wonderful recipe for zucchini bread, contributed to the Tyler-Athens SDA Churches' "Bountiful Blessings" cookbook by Mrs. Doris Crockett.  It's a wonderfully adaptable recipe to which you can add currents, raisins, chopped apple and stuff to give it flair.

The picture above is me with a gargantuan zucchini donated to us this summer by our over-the-fence neighbor Carlos who grew this baby in a grow-box garden in his tiny backyard.  I plan to add plans for a grow-box garden of the type created by missionary Jacob Mittleider some day in the future, but for now, check out this great zucchini bread recipe for yourself.

Master that and making whole wheat bread and you can capitalize the "A" on your alpha male badge!

Bon appetit!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Camping Genius: Homemade Ghillie Hat

(c) 2012 by Tom King

Fred disguises himself as a bush in his trusty Ghillie hat.
If you're taking out a youth group for a weekend bird-watching or other nature observation activity, here's a great campcraft activity you can do to get ready.  Have everybody make a Ghillie hat.  A Ghillie hat is a much less ambitious project than a Ghillie suit and for most nature watching activities it's really all you need.

Also, a Ghillie hat is not as hot and uncomfortable as a full Ghillie suit and much easier to snatch off your head if someone mistakes you for Bigfoot.  That's an important thing if you're up here in the Pacific Northwest.  If people think you're Bigfoot up here, they've been known to try and run over you with their cars.

Go to this link:  Making a Ghillie Hat to get the full instructions.

The materials aren't very expensive and you can make one out of almost any old floppy hat.  You can hang the hat on your backpack or stuff it into a small pack.  I hang mine from my belt where I can snatch it onto my head if I need to disappear quickly.  If everyone has their own Ghillie hat, then you can conceal your whole unit in seconds. When you set up your bird-watching or animal blinds, try this for a fun activity with the kids on the hike out to the observation point.

Have the kids practice disappearing on the trail.  Develop a signal for your unit and have them practice moving silently into cover and putting on their Ghillie hats to camouflage themselves when you give the signal.  Practice with them till they can melt into the brush in 10 to 15 seconds. 

Have the kids practice their concealment skills on hikes.  One thing that's fun is to wait till your unit is out of site of a following group, then go to ground and hide.  Wait till the trailing unit catches up, then jump out and startle them.  It's really pretty impressive when you see how well a Ghillie hat can hide you and still allow you to see.  Three things to remember:
  1. Focus on getting your body out of sight. The Ghillie hat conceals your head and shoulders. You just need some brush to get your body behind.
  2. Camouflage clothing or wearing dark, subdued colors help make it easier for you to blend in. The Ghillie hat breaks up the lines of your face and head making your torso more difficult to distinguish and that's the part of you that's more likely to be spotted. In a pinch, grab some loose brush to take into your hiding spot to confuse the eye of the observer.
  3. Be still.  Movement attracts the eye. If you're motionless, you're much harder to spot.

Be sure, before you practice concealment with the kids, that you teach them how to identify poison ivy and other toxic plants.

You don't want them breaking out in a rash later. Moms get pretty unhappy with you if you let them hide in the poison ivy.

Ghillie hats can be the basis of a whole bunch activities.  Add cameras and teach the kids to shoot photos from concealment.  Have them practice on other Pathfinders passing by on the trail. With digital cameras, pictures are wonderfully cheap.  Post your unit's pictures on Facebook.  Do a photo of an area where you have the whole group concealed and post it online with the challenge for viewers to find your kids.  Better yet do a video of an apparently blank section of trail and then have the kids pop up suddenly.  Very impressive and teaching your kids this stuff will make you THE MAN out on the trail with your Pathfinders or youth group.

Happy hiding,

Tom King