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Hi! I am Phil Foreman; Chief cook and bottle washer! (AKA Pawclaws and Kass Irons, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant and Instructor of Cooks, Mosby's Raiders Light Artillery, CSA) That lovely tune you are listening to is "On The Banks of the Ohio."

What is a Camp Cook?  Well, let me see if I can answer that question with this poem I wrote.

The Camp Cook by Paws July 14, 2007

Cookie, Grubby, Old Mother Hen, sometimes Belly Robber, Hash Slinger, or worse he's named by his men.

First to rise to stir up the fire he roasts, grinds, and brews coffee to nobody's ire. Unless it's the jokers who start at first light. The way they harangue him you'd think they wanted a fight.

"Hey Cookie, did you wash your socks in that pot? " "I got a horse shoe here let's see if it will float!" But old Cookie's too wise to let them get his goat.

Hot biscuits of sourdough, then fried steak and baked beans, fried potatoes with chili spiced gravy to fill out their jeans. Forks scraping, muffed chewing and breaking dawn; only soft muffled sound cause nobody's complaining while breakfast's passed round.

Fresh warm pie he portions each man. Then adds to a poke beef jerky by hand. Fresh biscuits he breaks and fills with hot meat. Then wraps them and adds to the poke sacks his men will soon eat.

Apples or pears an orange, maybe a carrot or two a measure of raisins, prunes or apricots for each man's dinner will do. "Eat your fruit, take your salt, drink your water." He shouts with a grin. "And don't waste your chow you might get hungry again."

"If you want to take coffee bring your thermos here round, where you're headed this morning there's none to be found." In the mines, at spike camp, on the yards, at trail head or on horseback his men won't be hungry; with the noon meal he's packed.

As the men mount up and ride out abandoning camp Old Cookie thinks to himself , "Six AM; been workin' since three, I'd sure like a nap." No time to relax there's way too much work, no time to dawdle, no time to shirk. He fills his own plate with breakfast now cold but ne'er you worry for he's survived worse. Had he needed it hot he'd have eaten his first.

A nice roast beef dinner for supper he plans. But first there's the matter of dishes, cups, pots and pans. So up go his sleeves as hot water he pours into dish pans, three each, as he continues his chores. One pan for scrubbing one pan for a rinse one more just for safety for what he just might have missed. First glassware then silver, then dishes then pans. No need to change water when he follows this plan. The dish pans themselves are the last to be cleaned and contents poured in the grease trap their refuse to glean. Then all wiped to dry and stacked neatly away. It's almost 6:30 and there's still a full day.

In stainless steel kitchens on stoves of cast iron over flame licking campfires, and glowing red coals he grills and he bakes, he fries, roasts and broils. For lumberjacks, miners, cowboys and hunters of game to him makes no matter for the work's still the same. Up before dawn breaks and workin' all day through dusk then twilight then dark till the last clean cup for the night's put away.

The camp's now grown quiet the sky fills with stars as he strikes match to tobacco and tends the last fires. Neath this canopy of peace he remembers his youth and the first old cook he worked for who taught him this truth, he smiles recalling this wisdom he first heard as a teen, from the lips of old cookie; "Son you've got time to work, if you've got time to lean."

Paws Jul 14, 2007

Our emphasis is the preparation of food gathered in the wild and prepared out of doors.  To that end, we offer; "Cooking 101"  Where one may learn the basics necessary to all cooking styles.. We discuss  kitchen equipment selection, the basic food preparation techniques and individual skills such as using and maintaining knives.  Various cooking techniques are discussed after the basics including traditional stove top, oven baking, outdoor grills, open fires, Dutch ovens, etc.  After you know how to cook you need to know what to cook so we offer thousands of recipes developed  personally, or  "stolen" by our members.  We discuss menus and share what meals we are having in our own homes to give ideas.  We talk about nutrition and have special areas for special needs.  Feel free to ask questions and don't be embarassed  about your skill level.  Nobody laughs at anyone who is trying to learn!   Just find the "Fun Links" item on the menu and follow it to our forums.  Our members will be happy to help you. 

We have a board just for Diabetics.  Discovering that several of the folk who participate on the forums are diabetic we felt it our duty to form a support group and exchange recipes while we discuss our trials, tribulations, and successes managing the disease.  You Atkins and South Beach addicts might learn a thing or two about nutrition and diet discipline here as well.  The one thing we "sweet people" have in common with everyone else is this; successful health and weight control is a function of "Well balanced nutrition and daily exercise!!"  Forums Administrator Steve Korot keeps us current on the latest happenings and advisories.

Be sure to visit our Featured Recipe page and see what exciting cuisine is being offered!  The focus  is  "Family Favorites and Traditions" featuring the wild  game dishes enjoyed by our pioneering ancestors along with contemporary versions.  This year will give rise to new energy in sharing historical dishes and traditional cooking methods.  But don't forget that wild game and campfire cookery is not all that is to be offered.  There will be ample gourmet recipes  as well.   During special seasons and holidays we try to focus on cuisine and styles focusing on that event or season.  For instance near the 4th of July you will find discussions and recipes featuring BBQ and grilling.  Christmas brings recipes for family traditional favorite holiday dishes along with our family traditions and ideas. 

Access our discussion forum through the menu in the left margin by selecting the "Fun Links" page.  Our members are talking about the latest Get Together (GT), learning outdoor survival skills, or just swapping stories.  Visit with Elkchaser, a noted survivalist, who is teaching the techniques of Fire Building.  Our members are always up to something new and you can never tell what it might be.    So drop in and see what everyone is doing and talking about!   After all, that is what Ohio Camp Cooks is all about. 

We offer a couple  pages to showcase the skills of some of our club and forum members.  Look for Steve, Toby, and Brian in the Ohio Camp Cooks Handcraft Shop in our forums.

We are also offering "Cast Iron University" at:  http://ohiocampcooks.proboards19.com/index.cgi?board=Dutch&page=1 It seems that Dutch oven cooking is experiencing a revival and we have just the expertise to get you started. 


I encourage you, especially if you are an "outdoor person" who might enjoy sharing your talent or wish to learn more, to visit often and consider membership. We are accepting Founding Members.

After you have signed the Registry you will want to visit the Bulletin Boards via the Forums Page link and register yourself there as a member.  It is free and you do not need to be an Ohio Camp Cooks member to register or use these features. There are a lot of interesting people to meet and topics to discuss.  If you would like to officially join Ohio Camp Cooks then all you need to do is to send me your full name and let me know!  Address your request to membership@ohiocampcooks.org .  Whether your interests include hunting, fishing, biking, hiking, camping, or just sharing a hot cup of coffee with a friend you will find something to your liking on our forums  You are always welcome around our camp fire. 

For additional information, feel free to contact me at webmaster@ohiocampcooks.org .  .




Welcome to our newest members: Lesley Tennessen (Dutch Oven Diva),Mike Swintosky (Canton, Ohio), John Spradlin, and Tim Hill from Georgia!  Welcome aboard! Smile

Come see who has signed our register!